New England Hindi Manch’s Chitrahaar show held on the evening of December 12, 2015 was more than a show that just featured live performances of film songs sung to karaoke music. It was a magical recreation of the era when television and Doordarshan programs made an entry in India in the late 1970s to provide entertainment in Indian homes. Through efficient rotation of short engaging segments featuring Hindi film songs, a humorous skit “Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi” adapted from the original TV sitcom by Deepali Khanzode, enacted by local actors and directed by Anish Khanzode, an interesting depiction of a behind-the-scenes view of TV anchoring (script by Preetesh Shrivastava, acting by Sridhar Pola, Pratibha Krishnamurthy, Monisha Prakash, Manaswi Sharma, Shrinivas Sane, Maneesh Shrivastava) and a stand-up comedy by Hindi Manch president, Preetesh Shrivastava, the audience at Thoreau Middle school in Concord, MA was kept fully entertained for more than three hours.
The Chitrahaar program commenced with the ceremonial lighting of lamp by poetess-cum-writer Dr. Prabhakiran Jain and show sponsor Shri Dinesh Tanna of Tanna Insurance. Graceful emcee Jharna Madan greeted and welcomed the 300 strong audience for the show. More than 15 winners and semi-finalists of SaReGaMa 2014 show representing distinct age groups - children below 12, youth and senior citizens presented hit film songs in pitch-perfect voices, breathing life into the full spectrum of human emotions. Between Punjab’s Heer, Paan khai saiyyan humaaro U.P folk, rhythmic Mera Joota Hai Japaani and the poignant Mera Saaya Saath hoga, there was hope, joy, happiness and grief for everyone to experience through the medium of Hindi lyrics and music. On a grand landscape of melody and rhythm created by music directors such as Kalyanji Anandji, Madan Mohan, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, A.R Rahman and Bappi Lahiri , trained singers painted lilting melodies and toe-tapping numbers with confidence and conviction.
The song presentations were high-quality and a performer Sanjay Jain’s combination of choice of clothes and accessories, singing and acting in the “Sir Jo Tera Chakraaye” song from movie 1950s movie, Pyaasa, won the hearts of the audience. The featured singers included Smita Sapru, Pritha Yalakishettawar, Neha Panke, Ashutosh Patel,Paresh Motiwala,Sudha Subbaraman, Nalini Rathore, Prof. N.K Batra, Anish Sundaram, Anusha Kulkarni, Div Prakash, Juhi Lalwani, Sahana Nagabhushan, BR Devi, Sachit Kurup and Ashwini Ranade.
Over seven years, Hindi Manch non-profit organization has managed to create pride for Indian heritage through its programs such as SaReGaMa singing competitions, dramas, poetry-events and youth-centered Hindi language appreciation programs with the aim of spreading the love for Hindi language and Indian culture. In an address to the audience, Hindi Manch president Preetesh Shrivastava shared that he was fortunate to represent New England area of USA in an international Hindi conference that took place in India earlier this year. Preetesh then regaled the audience with sher-o-shaayari in Urdu, stories from his recent trip to India and Hindi jokes related to the topics of marriage, human relationships, aging and problems of memory loss. A deep understanding of human character and cultural values coupled with commanding stage presence, superb Hindi language skills, fine oration and flawless delivery made Preetesh’s presentation a stand-out comedy act.
Anish Khanzode’s debut attempt at direction of the play “Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi” was appreciated whole-heartedly by the audience. In the heart-touching story, a husband’s (Ajay Jain) pre-occupation with work related issues, a wife’s (Sonal Yadav) simple desire for her wedding anniversary to be remembered by her husband and her innocent hope of an anniversary gift are at odds with each other. The husband forgets to acknowledge the special occasion leading to the wife’s decision to seek a divorce. A lawyer (Ajay Jaisingh) who is just starting his law practice has eager parents who do not know how to separate the son’s profession from their warm, family-centered approach of greeting business clients into their homes. The lawyer does deliver a legal notice to the forgetful husband but the forgiving wife withdraws her plea when she discovers that her husband did remember the anniversary and even arranged for a gift to celebrate the occasion. The strengths of the play were excellent direction and acting and pleasing set design on the stage created by Shreenivas Sane. Supporting actors were Saujanya Pangrekar, Satish Palayan, Suman and Tanisha Garhwal, Rohini Pola, Ruchika Yadav, Gopika and Parvinder Narula. Lighting was provided by Vijay Ejenkar and sound by Shraddha Agrawal and Jawed Wahid.
Team work was at play for the entire duration of the Chitrahaar show. Many more hours went into event planning before the final presentation in front of an audience that has come to expect high quality programs from Hindi Manch. Repeated, separate practice sessions for actors and singers, emcees and stage managers brought gleam to a polished presentation. In a vote of thanks by Anish Khanzode, core members of Hindi Manch, founding members, renowned director Shri Mohan Dali and musician-cum-teacher Dr. Pradeep Shukla, numerous actors and volunteers were called upon stage to acknowledge their efforts in putting the program together. Shubha Chungi and Chaitanya Godsay’s presence was missed at this ceremony of honor and recognition. “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” sung by the child singer Master Sachit Kurup summed up the feelings of the members of the audience who left the venue wanting more. Kudos to New England Hindi Manch for presenting yet another wonderful program!