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Raj Vaibhava, An Audio-Visual Musical Extravaganza

Shobha Amaresh
07/04/2019

The long-awaited Raj Vaibhava, an Audio-Visual Musical Extravaganza celebrating the life and legacy of Kannada Superstar Dr. Rajkumar, was held on June 16th at the Ayer-Shirley Regional High School in Ayer, MA. This year marks the 90th Birthday of Dr. Raj, and this event was dedicated to showcase some of his grand achievements in cinema and music. Raj Vaibhava was presented by the talented artistes of New England area, along with accomplished singers from Ohio and North Carolina. 

 

The concert began with a short video showcasing the life and legacy of Nata Saarvabhowma, Dr. Rajkumar, followed by the evergreen song “Naavaduva Nudiye Kannada Nudi” from the movie Gandhada Gudi, presented by the singer from North Carolina, Ravi Gooty. The song and Ravi’s perfect rendition kicked off this joyous journey back into the yesteryears. A personal message of best wishes to Boston Kannadigas from the first family of Kannada movies, conveyed by Dr. Rajkumar’s second son, Raghavendra Rajkumar, made it even more special.

 

The program was divided into three major segments based on the genre of the music. The first segment of the concert was very harmonious as the singers presented devotional songs from Rajkumar’s movies. Highlight of this segment was the song “Naadamaya” from the movie Jeevana Chaitra, presented by the highly talented Sowmya Shri. An extremely difficult classical melody that won the National award for Dr. Rajkumar, rendered exceptionally well by Sowmya Shri, resulted in a standing ovation by the audience. The mono-acting scene from “Bhakta Prahlada” movie presented by Mr. Ramesh Yalakkishettar was truly exhilarating. Various devotional songs were neatly presented by all the singers. This segment concluded with a very popular dual act play by Madhu Mattihalli and Madhusudhan Akkihebbal depicting a well-known war dual scene from the movie Babruvahana.

 

In addition to being a great actor, Dr. Raj was a very talented singer and has sung a variety of songs in Kannada language. Some of his songs depicting social message, patriotism, and songs expressing deep emotions were presented in the second segment. One could witness how they touched the hearts of the audience. A wonderful presentation of “Ninnantha Appa illa” song by Shreya Madhu and Madhusudhan Akkihebbal, the daughter-father duo, was very apt for the occasion of Father’s Day. The men singing the 1950s famous song, Kuladalli KeeLyavudo, was simply superb. Songs such as Aagadu endu kai katti kulitare by Ram Prasad, Enendu naa heLali by Ramnath, Nee nadeva haadiyalli by Anusha Kulkarni and Laxmi Ramesh, Jenina Holeyo by Madhu, and Nagu nagutha nali song by Ravi Gooty were an awesome bunch of melodies that enthralled the audience. Following this, the beneficiaries of the event were introduced through a video showcasing the yeoman services offered by the old-age home “Ashraya”, located in Mumbai, India.

 

This was followed by an excellent rendition of Hosabelaku Moodutide song by Ravi under the gaze of disco lights, which recreated the song and felt like Dr. Raj himself was singing! Following this was a mesmerizing performance by Sowmya Shri and Laxmi Ramesh of “Teredide mane baa athithi”, another super hit song from the movie Hosa BeLaku.

 

The last segment started after the snack break with an interactive trivia by Mandolin Shivaram Sethu Rao, a guest artist from India. Audience connected with him very well and recognized the tunes he played. The final segment dedicated to romantic duets from Raj movies was charming and was filled with loads of love. An unplugged medley by all the singers with live keyboard by Srivathsa Sarvottama and guitar by Dinesh Venkatesh, came in as a non-stop entertainment and glued the audience to their seats. A string of on-demand duets were beautifully rendered by singers Sowmya Shri, Ravi, Laxmi, Ram Prasad, Madhu, Anusha, and Ramanath. These melodies transported the couples in the audience to their dreamlands for sure.

 

Throughout the program, emcees Shridhar Kulkarni, Kavyashree Mallanna, Vaishali Hegde, and Chitra Poornima kept up the momentum by their eloquent style and stage presence. Raj Vaibhava concluded with a brilliant dance performance choreographed by Jyothi Setty to Huttidare Kannada naadalli huttabeku, to the live singing by all the singers. Excellent rendition by all the singers and breathtaking performance by the dancers received a standing ovation from the entire audience.

 

Everyone enjoyed the music and all the performances. Decorations with Rajkumar movie posters and cutouts in the lobby and on the stage recreated the Sandalwood movie-going experience. It was a wonderful show, neatly organized and successfully executed by the entire crew of Raj Vaibhava. Three cheers to Varavani J. Dwarki who brought this dream into reality!!



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