BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Photos by Lavs Portraits
Atlanta,GA: Koyal K Ansingkar from Georgia and Asawari Rutuparna Joshi from Florida walked away with the coveted Atlanta Indian Idol titles of 2015 presented annually by India American Cultural Association (IACA). The event was held at the Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center on April 25 2015. True to her name, Koyal’s sweet rendition of ‘Mere Dholna’ won her the championship in the junior category and Asawari’s energetic performance of ‘Piya Tu’ put her at the top of the senior category. The chief guests of the night included Prince of Ghazals Ranjit Rajwada, NIIT President Lalit Dhingra, Consul R. Srinivasan and Atlanta singer Rekha Pallath.
Featuring singers from Georgia,California,Texas,Florida and Maryland, Atlanta Idol 2015 also showcased talents of varying age groups of contestants ranging between ranging 12 and 63. The championship round was the culmination of various auditions held earlier this year. There was never a dull moment at the four programs including dynamic dance performances from various dance institutes across Atlanta. An extremely capable panel of judges- Dr. Bandyopadhyay, Sujatha Rayburn, Sri Sangodkar, Amitava Sen, and Dr. Lakshmi Rao provided feedback and evaluated contestants based on various aspects of their performance such as tonal quality and accuracy, rhythm, diction, overall mastery of style etc. Neeta Shenvi served as scorer/statistician with Sreedevi Dadithota as scorer. The show was emceed by Anand Srinivasan who had served as a judge in earlier Idol contests, and Bindu Rao, a trained singer.
The onsite SMS polling provided by Text By Choice, along the lines of American Idol and Indian Idol added to the excitement. The audience was allowed to vote for their favorite singers by texting the first three letters of their names. The night belonged to Asawari Joshi and Koyal Ansingkar in the senior and junior categories as they walked away being the SMS Poll winners of the evening, also.
Tanvi Raj (GA) was 1st Runner-up and Reet Tiwary (GA) landed 2nd Runner-up in Junior Category. Rahul S Nana (FL) was 1st Runner-up and Santhanam Venkata Krishnan (GA) 2nd Runner-up in the Senior Category. Sandeep Kowtha (GA) and Swathi Raman (MD) bagged Honable Mentions of the evening. Senior Category had 16 and Junior featured 7 Finalists. The winners performed at the Semi Finals and then a Final round to win their trophies. This year a new Award called Director’s Choice was introduced to honor singers who did not make to the Finals. Saras Jain (GA), Syed T Husani (GA) and Geetika Aswal (TX) won the Director’s Choice in Senior Category and Havishkrit Arya (GA), Jyotsna Sharath Rao (GA), Neha Gregory (GA), and Shweta Ajit Bhat (GA) won the award in Junior Category. An Online Poll conducted earlier to crown the choice of the people, called the People Appreciation Award drew a whopping total of 720463 votes! Reet Tiwary (GA) with 118988 votes in Junior and Soumitra K Sinha Ray (GA) with 300100 votes in Senior categories won the People Appreciation awards.
The night began with rendition of National Anthem of USA by Anu Romesh, Atlanta Indian Idol Junior 2013, followed by National Anthem of India by Raka Das , Atlanta Indian Idol Senior 2014. Dance performances Ganapathi Vandana by Shiv’s Insititute of Dance, choreographed by Shiva Turlapthi, Golden Classics, A dance medley to the tunes of 50-60s Bollywood superhit classics choreographed by Uma Muralidhar, Procrastinate by Kalaivani Dance and Music Academy choreographed by Siddhartha Kelam added to the Bollywood flavor of the night.
“The quality of the singers has gone up significantly this year. Participants’ ages ranged between 12 and 63. Next year, we may add a new age group 40+ in addition to 12-17 and 18-40,” stated Chand Akkineni, founder and coordinator of the event.
Akkineni recognized the sponsors Dr. Paddy and Chander Sharma, NIIT, EIS Reporting and patrons of the event, Softpath System, IT Job Café, Gallega Software Solutions, Pyramid Consulting, Urban Spice, Kaushal Tripathi . Technology Partner TextByChoice was also recognized.
Video for the event was provided by Soham Patel and Photography by Lavanya Palaparthy.
The organizing team included Chand Akkineni, Raktim Sen (Program Director), Paddy Sharma, Kaushal Tripathi, Vishwanth Ganti, Nizar Bhojani, Soham Patel, Nivedita Rath Garabadu, Rina Gupta, Neeta Shenvi, Satish Dharmarajan, Darshana Kaur, Sreekanth Murugan, Nida Shariff, Salil Gulve, Nautami Sheth, Sreedevi dadithota, Mayura Janwadker, Shubhadeep Roy, Arijit Chowdhury and Jyothsna Hegde.