BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Photos by Lavanya Palaparthy
Atlanta, GA: Indian American Cultural Association (IACA), Atlanta treated Bollywood music lovers across town to the Inaugural Atlanta Indian Idol Contest, at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts, GA Tech on April 27 2013. First of its kind for IACA, the singing completion embraced the essence of Bollywood – music, dance, talent and glamour in one show. Emceed by popular personalities, Suchita Vadlamani and Ash Chandler, there was never a dull moment for the audience of over 900 that gathered around to cheer the singers. Onsite SMS polling for contestants was an added attraction.
The evening began with the National Anthems of the USA and India rendered by Dr. Aarti Pandya. The program also featured several dance schools with opening dance by Shiv’s Institute of Dance performing to “Ga Ga Ga Ganpati”. Planet U Performing Arts presented a medley of different songs (Antyakshari), Nritya Natya Kala Bharti performed “Sheila Ki Jawani” in Lavani Style, Aparna’s Dance Academy presented Medley of classical songs, Geet Rung School of Dance and Music performed “Katto gilheri chammak challo rani” and Prem’s Dance Studio concluded with “Bezubaan/Party on my mind”.
The qualifying round of the contest held on March 24th and 31st. Over 70 talented singers participated, of which 12 qualified from the senior category and 6 from the junior category to compete on the day of the finals. At the show, the 12 singers from senior category competed in the semifinal round, of which five qualified for the finals.
Winners who took home the trophy were Bhishm Oza rendering ‘Tu Hi Re’ from Bombay in the senior category and Anu Romesh singing ‘Jiya Re’ from Jab Tak Hain Jaan in the Junior category. John Macdonal (‘Abhi mujh mein kahi’ from Agneepath) was 1st Runner up and Namita Jain (‘O Paalan hare’ from Lagaan), 2nd Runner up in senior category. Navya Nuthivana (‘Aisa Jaadu’ from Khakee) was 1st Runner up and Kuheli Mitra (‘O Sajana’ from Parakh) 2nd Runner up in the junior category.
The judging panel included Dr. Aarti Pandya, Dr. Kakali Bandyopadhyay, Sujatha Rayburn, Prithwiraj Bhattacharjee, Anand Srinivasan, and Dr. Raktim Sen. Mentors included Dr. Lakshmi Ra, Pankaj Bhargava, and Supriya Shridharan. Classic numbers ‘O Duniya K’e from Baiju Bawara by Ajay Madwesh , ‘Dil Ki Arma’ by Swati Mishra, ‘Dil to Hain Dil’ from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar by Deepa Basavaraju set a nostalgic note. Popular contemporary notes ‘Bolna Halke Halke’ from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom by Raj Bharatpur, ‘Jaane Jaan Dhoondta Phir Rah’a from Jawani Deewani by Samir Siddiqui, ‘Kwaboh Kwabo’h from Force by Sandeep Kowtha and ‘Tumko Paaya ha’i to from Om Shanti Om by Trisula Siripurapu added delightful flavor to the night. Shyam Gupta kicked it up a notch with an attire and attitude to match the retro number, ‘Om Shaanti Om’ from Karz.
Emcees invited the creator of the entire program Chand Akkineni on stage to recognize sponsors and organizing committee headed by Dr. Raktim Sen as the Program Director. Chand recognized Title sponsor “Paramount Software Solutions”, Silver Sponsors, Sharma Law Offices & Duggal Insurance Associates, Bronze Sponsors, India Super Travels & IT Job Café, Donor, Mr. Girish Modi, Technology Partner, Nizar Bhojani and Media sponsors, Saavn, WowNow.com, DesiWebShow.com & TV Asia with a plaque. Rajinder Singh – Consul (Political)/Head of Chancery from The Indian Consulate in Atlanta was the Chief Guest for the event.
Singh and the Chairman of IACA Dr. Paddy Sharma presented awards to sponsors, judges, emcees and members of the organizing team – Dr. Raktim Sen, Jyothsna Hegde, Dr. Neeta Shenvi, Sreedevi Dadithota, Samir Sura, Shweta Shetty, Girish Modi, Kritika Subramanian, Narayan Swamy, Nida Shariff, Nivedita Garabadu and Rina Gupta.
“Atlanta Indian Idol was born out of an overwhelming sentiment to provide a viable platform for Indian singers to showcase their talent which otherwise would’ve been relegated to obscurity” said IACA President Kaushal Tripathi. “What started a few months back as a concept culminated into one of the finest hours of musical programming in Atlanta. We can certainly declare the First Atlanta Indian Idol Contest a rip-roaring success! It was indeed my privilege and a blessing to be part of the Inaugural Atlanta Indian Idol organizing team.”
Kaushal Tripathi also encouraged everyone to be part of upcoming IACA events, including a Beauty Pageant in July of 2013, supported by Stand Up To Cancer.
The enthralling evening ended on high note with winners walking away with their trophies and the audience cheering the winners. Atlanta Indian Community will look forward to 2014 Idol competitions!