Beyond Bollywood Red Carpet Gala

admin@qs3 | March 9, 2018

By Seema Govil
Picture credit – Jay Jayasuria
The Best and Brightest Indian Americans Come to Austin
Austin, February 10, 2018 – An exclusive, inspiring Red Carpet Gala celebrated the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit’s visit to Austin, bringing together a unique panel of celebrities and accomplished Indian-Americans to our beloved city!

Austinites enjoyed a night of many firsts – laughing, learning, contemplating, hearing from speakers from a range of backgrounds, who all break the mold in different areas of American life.

City of Austin, the Asian American Resource Center and the non-profit South Asian Austin Moms (SAAM), have worked hard and long to bring this wonderful collection of history & heritage to Austin, that illustrates the role Indian Americans have played in shaping America.

Among the revered guests and attendees at the Red Carpet Gala, were:
• Ravi Bhalla, recently elected in Hoboken, N.J., as the country’s first Sikh mayor
• Juspratap Singh – three time Golf Gold Medalist
• Balwinder Kaur – the first Sikh woman in the Olympics for Field Hockey
• Lesley Varghese – the first South Asian Chief of Staff to an Austin Mayor
• Comedian Hari Kondabolu – has performed on John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon & The View
• Award-winning writer Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
• Honorable Ravi K. Sandill – Texas’s first district court judge of South Asian descent and the first to run for Texas Supreme Court
• Judge George Thomas – First South Asian Judge in Travis County
• Murali Krishnamurthy – Founder of Sankara Eye Foundation
• Hema Mullur – First South Asian woman in primetime Austin News
• Monica Patel – CNN Hero
• Councilwoman Alison Alter
• Sean Hassan – Elected Official
• Chetan Panda – Running for Congress District 25
• Ketan Kharod – Elected Official
• 14 Recognized Local awardees from Austin: Indian-Americans who are changing the face of their industries
• Member of the Asian American Quality of Life City Council Commission including Shubhada Saxena and Pooja Sethi
• Members of the non-profit South Asian Austin Moms

The event also showcased performances by acclaimed singer Oliver Rajamani, a Tribute Dance to Indian Jazz Singer Asha Puthli led by Anu Naimpally, and moving dance choreographies showcasing the rich Indian cultural heritage performed by Navrus School of Performing Arts (

Recognizing and honoring those who have contributed to the South Asian landscape’s success in Austin, fourteen ‘transformation agents’ from different industries – Media, Education, Healthcare, Technology, Politics – and their achievements, are part of the Exhibit Wall at the Asian American Resource Center. Local awardees and honorable attendees- Seema Govil, Divya Srinivasan, Dr. E C George Sudarshan, Kalpana Sutaria, Shanti Jayakumar, Murali Krishnanurthy.

The Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit is visiting Austin, from Jan 29 – April 8, 2018. It explores the History of Indian Americans, through a vibrant collection of arts, artifacts, photographs and interactive learning solutions. Titled “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation”, it features migration experiences, working lives, political struggles, and cultural and religious contributions.

Complementing the exhibit, SAAM is hosting eight docent and educational programming days.

February 3rd, 11am
A Tapestry of South Asian Readings

February 4th, 10am
The Origins of Yoga and Meditation: From India to the West

March 10th, 11am
Movers and Shakers of Austin

March 18th, 2pm
Indian American Children’s Literature

March 24, 6pm
A Night at the Museum: Exhibit Tour and Newton Film Screening presented by Indie Meme.Org.

March 25, 2pm
Dance Through India

April 8, 2pm
Jewels of India, Centuries of Opulence

For a sneak preview of “Beyond Bollywood” visit the Smithsonian Institution’s digital portal here:

About South Asian Austin Moms: South Asian Austin Moms (SAAM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to raise awareness about the South Asian community in Austin, Texas.

SAAM is committed to hosting fun and educational cultural events for South Asian families, to experience and teach the next generation about South Asian history & culture. For more information, visit