Directing the 36th Ghungroo: Celebrating South Asian Culture at Harvard!

Category Student Voices


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Hana Rehman Class of '25
Authored on March 12, 2024


We all hold a little softness in our hearts for something that feels like ‘home.’ The taste of ginger in our mother’s chai, the melody of lullabies softly hummed into our ears by our parents and their parent’s before that, the aroma of agarbatti coating our childhood homes…” 

Jasleen Kaur ’25 and I hold our wireless mics behind the curtain of the Agassiz Theatre’s stage where Ghungroo — the largest student-run production on campus — takes place each year. We read aloud the beginning of this year’s vision for the show, Remembrances: 

“Remembrance, like gold-tinted glass, coats seemingly ordinary moments in a layer of warmth and belonging. As we chase down the nostalgic smells, sights, and traditions of our past, we find ourselves in a community of individuals embarking on the same journey, each reciting a slightly different folktale, some written in familiar dialects and others foreign to our native tongues.” 

Hana Rehman and Jasleen Kaur, the co-directors of Ghungroo, on stage at the Agassiz Theatre.
Hana Rehman and Jasleen Kaur, the co-directors of Ghungroo, on stage at the Agassiz Theatre.

Back in the Summer of 2023, Jasleen and I began our journey as the directors of the 36th iteration of the show, Ghungroo, which features music, dance, spoken word and skit each year! In our first few meetings, we created a vision that we wanted to share with the audience alongside executive members from various South Asian organizations on campus including the South Asian Association, the Harvard College Pakistani Students Association, the Bengali Students Association, and the Harvard Undergraduate Nepali Students Association. Since then, we recruited nearly 100 students to join our tech team known as G-Tech and had over 250 cast members perform in the show which was held in late February. 

The 100 members of G-Tech, Ghungroo's Tech Team, standing on stage together.
The 100 members of G-Tech, Ghungroo's Tech Team, standing on stage together. 

The weeks leading up to the show involved late nights painting the set in the theatre, dance rehearsals after brunch on the weekends, and editing the lights cues every chance we got. One of my favorite parts of the show this year was our set. One of our panels featured pictures of students in G-Tech and G-Cast from their childhoods, truly capturing the heart of Ghungroo — the people! While the hours were long, the friendships made during “Ghungroo season” are some of the most long-lasting and unexpected relationships I have formed in college.

One of the set panels for Ghungroo featuring childhood photos of the members of the cast and crew.
One of the panels from Ghungroo's set featured childhood photos of the cast and crew. 

This year, I performed in Garba & Raas, dance styles which originated in Northwest India. My choreographers were all freshmen, yet they displayed so much patience as they taught us all the steps for our dance before we performed for over 1200 people across the four shows! 

Hana Rehman with her friends and fellow dancers in Garba and Raas, traditional dance styles featured in one dance in Ghungroo.
Hana Rehman and her friends in their final pose for Garba and Raas — a dance act featuring traditional dance styles which originated in Northwest India. 

Before this semester, I had never performed either of these dance styles before, but fortunately, Ghungroo welcomes any undergraduate with open arms — no prior experience is necessary! Whether you want to perform or contribute backstage, there's a place for you on any of our teams. Our creative teams include playbill, skit, music, dance, and spoken word. Meanwhile, our technical teams include costumes, lights, sound, stage, set, paint, build and projections. No matter where your interests lie, Ghungroo has space for everyone to join!

It is thanks to the large number of people who come together to put on the show that Ghungroo has been able to grow into an even greater organization and community! This year, we were able to add a Himalayan dance for the first time in Ghungroo history featuring Tibetan and Nepali music, dance and costumes! We also had live translations using new projection screens for our spoken word performers who performed in a range of languages including Bengali, Urdu and Tamil. Moreover, we had new musical acts like South Asian Rock and Roll join our list of crowd-favourites like Hype Medley and Classical. From traditional tablas to electric guitars, we hoped to create a show that would appeal to both the nostalgia of cultural roots and the excitement of more contemporary sounds. 

For many of us, Ghungroo is not just a production, it is a celebration of culture and tradition designed to give students memories that will last a lifetime! As the curtains draw to a close on this year’s Ghungroo, I am filled with gratitude for the hours of dedication and passion poured into every aspect of the show. From the meticulous costume choices to the breathtaking choreography for all of our dances, each element of the show came together to present the best version of Remembrancesthe 36th Ghungroo.

Hana Rehman and Jasleen Kaur dancing in curtain call, the final act of Ghungroo.
Hana Rehman and Jasleen Kaur leading the dance in Ghungroo's curtain call, the final act of the show, with members of G-Tech. 


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Hana Rehman Class of '25

Hi everyone! My name is Hana and I am a junior studying the History of Science on the Medicine and Society Track with a citation in French.

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