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 <<CityNews Main Send Flowers to India!

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Senior Citizens Program Celebrates India’s Independence Day

Senior Citizens

Photos by Mahadev Desai

Atlanta, September 2012: When it was over, it was a heartening sight to see seniors leaving the Ashiana Banquet Hall with a smile and humming their favorite Bollywood songs they had been listening inside.

Senior Citizen Program, (SCP) Inc. celebrated India’s 66th Independence Day with a spectacular program at the Ashiana Restaurant, Global Mall, Norcross, on Sunday, August 19. The Banquet Hall was packed with respected seniors of the community, who were earlier greeted at the entrance and escorted to their seats by the volunteers. The Executive Director of SCP, Raj Razdan extended a hearty welcome to all, recognized and thanked the sponsors Mr.and Mrs. Bhagu Ahuja and Mr. and Mrs. A. Advani. Razdan complimented Ahuja family for their unfailing support and annual sponsorships every year. On behalf of SCP. Mrs. Ahuja was presented with a bouquet by one of the SCP volunteers, Arunaben Patel. 

Anand Srinivasan greeted all the congregation of seniors and said that as SCP was celebrating India’s Independence Day, he would commence the program with the singing of India’s National Anthem. All stood up as he led the audience into fervent singing of the National anthem. Raj Razdan then requested the seniors to observe a moment’s silence to respect all those affected in the tragic event at the Sikh Gurudwara in Wisconsin and for the burning of the mosque in Missouri.

After SCP volunteers served tasty snacks to the seniors, John came on stage to get the ball rolling. Amritsar born John grew up in Chandigarh. He has been influenced by Punjabi folk, and Sufi style singing. In late 80’s western craze led him to form a western band group called c-Boyz, joined by  Bollywood playback singer Krishna Beura,well known for his songs in movies Raz-2;Chak de India and Namaste London. John came to US in 90’s and was drawn to Bollywood music. In 2008, John got out his first Album with world renowned singer Alka Yagnik, which was released in UK in 2009.He has been much influenced by S. P. Bala Subrahmanyam; Rafi Sahab and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. He is not only a versatile singer who sings all desi genres but is also a gospel singer.

John sang the nostalgic song ‘aye mere pyare watan’ from movie Kabuliwala.He followed this with ‘Teri pyari pyari soorat ko’ and the song Roja jaaneman from movie Roja.

Anand Srinivasan from Mumbai is a gifted singer, songwriter and performer. He has trained in Carnatic classical vocals for about three of his formative years. Of late he has taken to Western classical and is also learning Italian classical opera. He has been performing in Southeast US since past ten years and has helped raise funds for charitable causes. In 2009, he was voted Atlanta Desi Idol. Since then he has written, sung and co-composed two original songs Tum jo nahin and Din hai naya .

Anand captivated the seniors with his very first song Yeh mera prem patra padh kar from hit movie Sangam. He followed this with another heart tugging song Mora saiyan mose bole na (Khamaj) by Shafqat Amanat Ali. Madhuban mein Radhika nache re(movie Kohinoor) was also riveting. Many seniors who are avid music-lovers soon began clapping and tapping their feet in appreciation.

Lakshmi Rao developed her interest towards music due to her mother who was an excellent singer and her father who composed music for Tamil dramas and was a veteran harmonium player. But it was her husband Dr.C.Raghavendra Rao who encouraged her to participate in music performances. Lakshmi a well-known figure in performing arts field, has also accompanied Nitin Mukesh in 2002 along with few other noted playback singers in India and in Atlanta like Tanweer Mian and Azhar Mehmood.

Lakshmi Rao sang the popular, catchy and sensuous song ‘aaiye meherbaan (Movie Howrah Bridge).Saagar kinare (Movie Saagar) with tender lyrics was sweet and melodious. To add bit more flavor, Anand and Lakshmi sang a popular duet, ye dekh ke dil jhuma (Movie Kashmir ki kali). Radhika joined Anand into singing a few more popular duets-ek pyaar ka naghma(Shor);super hit song Abhi na jao chhod kar( Hum Dono);and as Anand said,’ghodewala' song(song with horses) –vintage song Maang ke saath tumhara(Naya Daur). Radhika in her mellifluous voice also sang two songs, popular romantic Nainon mein badra(Mera Saaya) and the song with poetic insightful and stirring lyrics-Humne dekhi hai(Khamoshi).

John with his zestful spirit sang a few more popular oldies and at the request of the seniors set the floor on fire with Daler Mehendi’s ever popular ‘bolo ta ra ra’.The song with throbbing, high octane music immediately got a few seniors dancing on the floor!

While the seniors were relishing the delicious lunch served by the SCP volunteers, the singers continued regaling them with old Bollywood gems.
Birthday of Padma Shah one of the seniors going 88 strong along with other seniors including the sponsor Bhagu Ahuja together with all those whose birthday fell in August was celebrated with Anand leading the seniors into singing ‘Happy Birthday’ song as a delectable pineapple birthday cake was cut  to mark the happy occasion.

As a token of appreciation Razdan, on behalf of the seniors invited Mrs Swaraj Bhandari, Mrs Gupta  to present bouquets to all the singers and musicians.

In his vote of thanks, Mansukhbhai Shroff requested everybody to say the Sloka of Krishna Om Sri Krishnan sharanam Naama 9 times for peace and prosperity. He also thanked the sponsors, all the singers, Raj Razdan and all the volunteers, for making the Independence Day celebrations enjoyable and memorable.

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