On May 24th, Kresge Auditorium was home to one of the finest Bollywood shows in New England as Anuradha Palakurthi kicked off the launch of the Anuradha Palakurthi Foundation with an magical musical tribute to the legend – Madan Mohan whose 90th birthday is being marked this year. The event was co-sponsored by MITHAS and Learnquest. Local music and dance stars, backed by a live Bollywood band that flew all the way from India for the event, regaled hundreds of fans with the rendering of Madan Mohan songs, beginning with ‘Naina Barse’ from the movie ‘Who Kaun Thi’. More than 900 people in the audience who came not only from the Boston area but from all over the United States and from 11 other countries were mesmerized by the magical voice of Mrs. Palakurthi and her male co-artists Mithilesh Pathankar, Sankar Gangaikondan, Raghu Saranathan and Mohan Subramaniam. Dancers Anjali Nath, Shivani Shrivastava, Amritha and Anjana Manglat captivated the audience with their original choreography.
“This was the most spectacular tribute to my father that I’ve ever seen” said Sangeeta Kohli Gupta who came for this show all the way from Jaipur. She was extremely supportive of the show and worked closely with the Palakurti family to provide original film footage of musical greats in India paying tribute to her father. Musical greats and Bollywood personalities such as Khayyam, Zakir Hussain and Manna Dey appeared in video tributes from the archives of the Kohli family that were played on screen as a backdrop to the show. Ameen Sayani, the legendary radio broadcaster, sent a personal message from Mumbai to the event. “The Palakutis reached out to me via facebook. I am so impressed with the hard work that they put into this show” said Sangeeta.
What was the legendary Madan Mohan like? “My father was a genius. He had never learned music formally. He loved classical music and hosted and held private concerts for many great classical musicians from India and Pakistan. He had an excellent ear for music and was constantly listening to great music” said Sangeeta. “His composition were often created very quickly. I was quite young when he passed away. So I do not remember a lot. But I recollect him working on the score of Sharabi. For the composition Dil Doondata Hai he did have multiple versions but that was a rarity. Mostly the music came to him at just one stroke. In those days the singers would come home and he would present the composition to them and work with them. Since much of this would happen at night, we were not allowed to listen since we had to go to school the next day”
Mrs. Palakurthi, a trained Carnatic music singer had to switch to learning Hindustani for the past 10 months for the show. She said that her guru Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar’s rigorous training was critical to the quality of the presentation. Mrs. Ankalikar-Tikekar, a Pune based Hindustani music vocalist and twice-winner of the National Award for the best singer in India, was also in audience.
“All of us were like trainers of a Olympic athlete hoping that the show would be of a gold medal standard. It gladdens my heart that it reached that height. Anuradha’s hard work really paid off and made for a fabulous concert” said Mrs. Ankalikar. The show was also embellished considerably by the fabulous lighting by Preetesh Shrivastava and Kumkum Mallick.
The show took Bollywood shows to a new height and we look forward to seeing more such beautiful shows from Anuradha and her group.
Donations made by the audience at the show will be distributed to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces initiative to support employment for returning veterans.
About Anuradha Palakurthi Foundation
Anuradha Palakurthi Foundation supports the promotion of Indian culture primarily in New England by providing financial support to programs, artists and organizers of events where Indian culture is performed/exhibited. Funds raised from events and performances will go to support carefully vetted public charities with an emphasis on charities aiding returning veterans. The Anuradha Palakurthi Foundation is a donor-advised fund at
The Giving Back Fund.
About The Giving Back Fund
The Giving Back Fund (GBF) is a national public charity that creates and professionally manages charitable foundations and other philanthropic programs for high net worth, high profile individuals and corporations. GBF has overseen the distribution of more than $30,000,000 in charitable grants within the United States and other countries, and has developed dozens of unique scholarship, mentoring, medical, arts, and other philanthropic programs. For additional information, please visit http://www.givingback.org