YEG DESI

South Asian Canadians

Rasa Entertainment-Breaking Bollywood Party Stereotypes

Rasa Entertainment Edmonton
Rasa Entertainment Edmonton

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” โ€“ Margaret J. Wheatley. It is such a powerful quote and pretty much the foundation of our website. The reason why we are building YegDesi.com is to create an alternative voice for our South Asian community in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Whether through our hyperlocal Edmonton news, local Edmonton Desi event listings or simply speaking to Desi Influencers through interviews- we just want to discover what our community really cares about.

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Margaret J. Wheatley

With that being said, we had the pleasure to meet with one of our first guests to be interviewed – Rasa Entertainment’s Anchal Verma and Shrishti Ghosh, who are recent graduates from the University of Alberta, and young entrepreneurs who founded their Edmonton based event management/music production company Rasa Entertainment mid last year. Rasa Entertainment has since organized various events including Bollywood Drag Night, Bollywood Karaoke Night, Back to School Bollywood Night, Spooktacularly Bollywood and Desi Thursday all here at home in Edmonton.

In this informal sit down at local favourite Remedy Cafe, we talked about their journey so far in business, events that they have hosted and our South Asian community at large. Here are the excerpts:

YEGDESI: Rasa Entertainment is a unique name in a North American city, how is it pronounced and what does it mean?

Rasa Entertainment’s Anchal: In Indian classical music, you say “Raas” and was inspired as a result of an Indian classical class by Sharmila Mathur that I took at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Raas essentially talks about the 9 different emotions of a human. There is Sringara (love), Hasya (joy), Adhuta (wonder), Vira (courage), Shanta (peace), Karuna (compassion), Raudra (anger), Bhayanka (fear) and Vibhasta (disgust) and hence the name Rasa Entertainment.

YEGDESI: Interesting! Most of the ethnic South Asian parties in Canada are influenced by Punjabi music, how difficult was it to breakthrough?

Rasa Entertainment’s Anchal & Shrishti: Funny enough, our first event was a Bollywood Night we hosted at the University of Alberta campus. This was pretty straightforward as it was an event we organized on campus and people were very happy because we brought our culture on campus.

So in a way, it was easy, we made our investment back so it was great. Then we thought, why not have another event so we went out of campus and booked a venue – now the challenging part was no one wanted to give us a venue on a weekend so we ended up booking on a Thursday. We called it Desi Thursday. This is where the challenges came- we had very minimal support from the ethnic media or other influencers (that we approached). A night before- we only had 30 tickets sold. So we consulted with a few friends who did similar parties in the past and they suggested to not worry, people will show up at the door, and that’s exactly what happened. People usually show up on the door, it worked out.

YEGDESI: Most of the turnaround at your parties is Desi’s we assume?

Rasa Entertainment’s Anchal & Shrishti: Initially, Yes, it was mostly Desi’s but the ones who wanted to experience something different than what our Desi parties are. We mostly had friends and their friends but now things are moving towards more mainstream, we just want to build a community that enjoys Bhangra, Hip-Hop, Bollywood. When we were in school, there were several other cultures that didn’t have a barrier – case in point being Latin American parties- no one cared if you didn’t understand the Spanish songs they played but it was always a cool thing to go to.

YEGDESI: Very cool. So out of all the 7-8 events that you have organized, which one is your favourite?

Rasa Entertainment’s Shrishti: Although we enjoyed them all, however, the Bollywood Drag Night is going to be the favourite- There is such a stigma around LGBTQ within our community. There is so much confusion as what a Bollywood Drag Night would be but people started buying the tickets and we were like Ok, we are getting the response so there is someone out there in Edmonton that is essentially interested in events like these. This was my first ever Drag event that I ever attended but it turned out really well, everyone was very happy. Even the drag queens were very ecstatic.

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What a Night! While you sit back and relax to recover from Bollywood Drag Night, we want you enjoy the amazing pictures taken by @sepehr.pics! We are overwhelmed by your support and we would like to thank the amazing queens again! @ladytenderflake and @blunt182 for being the most amazing host and @sach8t @itsjaibae @lanakane_ for making this night happen! Last but not the least @evowonderlounge ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ #bollywood #drag #night #dragnight #yeg #yegnight #besharam #loveislove #dragqueen #dragking #bollywooddance #bollywoodsongs #bollywoodnight #dancenight #music #hiphop #performance #yegevents #yegnights #lgbtq๐ŸŒˆ #yeglgbtq #queer #yeglife #culture #amazing #throwbackthursday #tbt

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YEGDESI: So what is next?

Rasa Entertainment’s Anchal & Shrishti: There are a lot of things we have in mind that we will disclose them as things finalize. We are always looking for collaborations as well. Also, we are really excited for our 1st-year Anniversary that we are celebrating by organizing a Bollywood Live Music Show featuring local Edmonton Artists that will lead the night with some amazing combinations of RnB, Pop, Bollywood, Indian classical fusion, and Acoustic folk vibes.

Rasa Entertainment's 1st Year Anniversary Bollywood Live Music Show
More about the event here

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