Bollywood fans and those just introduced to the film industry of India were bedazzled when actress Neha Dhupia, dressed in a glamorous midriff-baring gown, took center stage at the South Asian Chamber of Commerce Gala. The 20th annual awards gala was a glittering sellout at the Westin Galleria Hotel.
The South Asian Chamber of Commerce has long inspired a cohesive awareness of the accomplishments of Houstonians with connections to that exotic region of the world. Each year, the chamber celebrates influential leaders from that community including philanthropists and businesses and political leaders. Overall the chamber encourages and celebrates excellence in various areas including art, culture, film, business and entrepreneurship.
The glamorous evening was punctuated with plenty of national costumes — saris, Thai-print silks, woven fabrics shot with gold threads — including the traditional Chinese gown worn by Mayor Annise Parker. Other politicos in the gathering included Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett with wife Gwen. But probably few caught more attention than Ukrainian ballroom dancer Karina Smirnoff and Dhupia. However, Joanne King Herring and Carolyn Farb held their own in the glamorous international surroundings.
Bollywood dance performances entertained guests as they dined. By evening's end there had been plenty of applause for gala co-chairs Ash Shah and Mustafa Tameez and honorees Javaid Anwar, Business Leader of the Year, and Anthony Melikhov, International Philantropist and Entrepreneur.
Contributing to the South Asian American glitz and glam were Vicky Anwar, Pankaj and Asha Dhume, Gordon Quan, Pooja Lodhia, Munira Panjwani, Shenila Naseem, Farida Abjani, Nomaan Husain, emcee Mo Amer, Naureen Malik, Sannam Khan Warrender, Nihala and Shaukat Zakaria, Erum Jivani Gillani and many others.
Ruchi Mukherjee is a lifestyle feature journalist for TV Asia and host of Lights Camera Action, an online magazine covering Houston South Asian American society news.