“Blind Ambition”, an endearing movie by Bala Rajasekharuni, had its Atlanta premiere at the Peachtree Corners 8 Cinemas in Norcross September 27. Proceeds from the premiere were donated to the India American Cultural Association’s (IACA) India Center project. The tickets for the premiere were priced at a minimum of $100 each in donations to the center. The event raised $20,000 for the India Center project.
A sweet, sentimental film laced with humor, Blind Ambition was well received by the audiences present mainly because of its high artistic quality- a well conceptualized storyline and screenplay, technically sound direction and good acting. Blind Ambition is the story of Sapna, a legally blind high school senior who aspires to run the marathon as a tribute to the memory of her late mother. The film is at one level about Sapna’s resilience and determination against personal odds, and at another, a coming-of-age story.
The screening of the movie was followed by a banquet at the Palace restaurant close by, where the audiences got to closely interact with the film team, including producer/director Bala, lead actress Michelle Massey, actor Soren Bowie and executive producer Yatrik Mehta. Fox 5Good Day Atlanta’s Suchita Vadlamani hosted a Q&A with the team members of Blind Ambition.
Later, core members of the India Center project spoke about the plans for the center.
Dr. P.V. Rao, a distinguished Emory professor and long time Atlanta resident spoke about the need for the India Center. The script for India Center was written in 1975 when there were around 150 Indian families here in Atlanta and the IACA was born, he said.
“We had no established roots in this country. We realized that we would be settling down here and that we need to have an organization to bring the community together. By 1984, we were ready to buy a building.”
The IACA property, which was a former church, was purchased that year in Smyrna and has since then acted as the cultural hub of the community, he said.
Dr. Rao then outlined the vision for the India Center. “Let us think of half a century later. Let us build a radiant, intelligent place that can inspire all communities. The Nalanda University was built in 1080 as the center of civilized, intelligent people. Can we build such a center in Atlanta? Yes, we can, if we believe in our culture and heritage,” he exhorted.
India Center committee co-chair Vir Nanda presented a slide show detailing the specifics of the proposed project. “The center will foster camaraderie and friendship, and promote Indian values,” he said.
India Center is the brainchild of Chand Akkineni, who said that the center would bring all regional communities together under one roof. “The regional associations can have their offices at the India Center,” he said. Akkineni added that around $98,000 was pledged in donations for the center until that day
India Center committee member Ani Agnihotri said the community needed the India Center now more than ever because of three reasons- the recent announcement of the Government of India to open a consulate in Atlanta; Delta’s new direct flight from Atlanta to Mumbai and back; and the fact that the State of Georgia is more and more interested in doing business with India.
The proposed India Center will be built on the IACA’s existing 10-acre Smyrna property. The center may include an 800-people capacity auditorium, a large banquet hall to accommodate up to 800 people, a full service library, smaller halls to serve as meeting rooms or for smaller events, administrative office space, sports facilities and spacious parking lots.