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Heartthrobs - A Superhit Show

Ranjani Saigal

Ekal Vidyalaya, an organization that works to bring education and development to 100,000 rural remote villages in India hosted a musical fundraiser “Heartthrobs” at the Keefe Technical High School in Framingham, Ma on May 5, 2024. The event, conceptualized by Rajiv Gangurde, was a tribute to the legendary Bollywood heroes, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bacchan and Shahrukh Khan. 

The event opened with a welcome by Manisha Jain, the President of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, New England Chapter. After a powerful welcome address where she urged everyone to open their hearts to support the children in the rural and tribal villages, a video showing the work of Ekal was presented. The organization provides literacy, digital literacy, telemedicine and skill training through its very innovative approaches. Using local women as teachers and healthcare workers, Ekal has empowered villagers living in over 100,000 tribal villages in India. The schools are run at the low cost of $1/day. Subra Dravida, the President of Ekal USA emphasized the large pool of volunteers supporting the cause. “Every dollar given by the donor is matched by $8 by volunteers,” said Dravida.

Manorama Choudhury, a volunteer for Ekal who is a poet penned a song and created a beautiful video as a tribute to Ekal. She was honored with the Ekal Tara award for her contribution. Here is a video of her song https://youtu.be/OrgSuZ4Ow5M?si=HjKfENff3aclYMvQ . Here is a documentary of her visit to Ekal Villages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl-K8-M4mFE

Ranjani Saigal, the executive director for Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA presented the award and urged people to donate to the cause. To donate to ekal , please go to http://ekal.org

Rajiv Gangurde, Raghu Sarnathan, Suzana Naik and Ashwini Paranjape-Ranade provided the vocals for the musical. The live orchestral support was provided by  Manish Kurup, Bharat Lagu, Shridhar Ganapuram, Angshuman Parashar, Nikhil Pendharkar, Sachit, Reyansh and Madhusri. It was a spectacular program that presented hit numbers from the films of the superstars of Bollywood. Each artist delivered their songs perfectly. For “Piya Tose” Kathak dancer Mithali Banerjee Biswas wowed the audience with her presentation. Little Riana and Samarth stole the hearts of the audience when they danced to Chaiyya Chaiyya. The artists had the audience dancing the night away with their wonderful songs. 

A very unique introduction of all three stars was provided by Anuradha Palakurthi, Sunayana Kachroo and Jolly Bhatia. 

Yogen Pathak bhai, Adiseshu, Sriganesh, Milind Ranade provided tech support for the evening. Ramakrishna Penumarthy and the Sraveo LLC team provided AV support. Kajal Kaushik from Utsav Event Planners & Decor provided the decor while Holi restaurant provided the snacks for the evening. Rasik Mehta provided the photography. 

A large group of volunteers ran the entire event. This included a wonderful group of youth volunteers. The event was a huge success and touched the hearts of all who attended. To learn more about Ekal please visit their website at http://ekal.org.

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