Hjemkomst Center in Minnesota announces `Living Beyond Bollywood` play

Photo: Assorted photographs from Hjemkomst Center's  "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation"

The Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minnesota has announced a one-act play “Living Beyond Bollywood” at the museum. The production, scheduled for March 9, is part of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s touring show, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” on display in the space through the end of the month.

The play offers a performative tour of India, featuring several fictional vignettes staged throughout the exhibition of “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation.” The 45-minute play portrays Indian and Indian American figures from the past, present, and future, walking the audience through the exhibition and bringing the Indian immigration experience to life. 

The Smithsonian show has been up since late October with about a dozen events tied to the exhibit, like fashion shows, a presentation on Indian food and decorations and various lectures on history. It will run through March 31.

The goal of the exhibit is to show the impact Indian immigrants have had on America and that India is a more complex and diverse country than what the country’s film industry, Bollywood, presents in movies.

“One of the goals of this exhibit was to dispel stereotypes and myths,” says Maureen Kelly Jonason, executive director of the Hjemkomst Center. “India is so diverse.”

The Smithsonian display explores Indian American life from the home to the workplace in hospitals, hotels, laboratories and college campuses.

The show opens with a glimpse inside an Indian American kitchen, with spices and kitchen implements like a pressure cooker readily available.

Panels from the Smithsonian highlight significant times in the Indian American experience, from the first Indians to visit and work in America as sailors employed on British ships in the 1790s.

The show also touches on the influence of Indian culture, allowing guests to listen to contemporary Indian music and watch a display on traditional Indian dance. Outside the gallery space is a large display about the game of cricket.

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