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Sangam: A Musical Event To Benefit Ekal Vidyalaya

Press Release

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

EKAL VIDYALAYA proudly presented SANGAM: A unique musical event on Sept 22nd, 2012 at 6:30 PM at Keefe technical School, 750 Winter Street, Framingham, MA 01702. This entertaining musical evening featured a bevy of local artistes who entertained the audience with old and new songs woven in an interesting thematic sequence. This show was created and produced by Meena Sundaram and Kumkum Pareek Malik who spent months working with a team of talented performers to present this concept show in an impressive presentation. EKAL organizing and support team was led by Shri Puran Dangji, Chairman of Ekal Vidyalaya, Shri Ram Nehraji, President, Avinash Agrawal and a number of EKAL volunteers and members.

The event was well-attended and Keefe technical school was transformed into an oasis of music and culture for the evening with suitable lobby decorations, banners etc.

Singers included: Meena Sundaram, Sankar Gangaikondan, Parag Joshi, Mohan Subramaniam, Nidhi Tare, Sriharsha Sista and Nalini Krishnan.

Emcees included:  Kumkum Pareek Malik, Siraj Khan, Meera Subramaniam, Razia Mashkoor, Nalini Sharma, Jayashree Shahane, Monisha Prakash and Jharna Madan.

Sound and audiovisuals by Jawed Wahid and Lights by Sujit Potdar.

Dances by Nikita Rao and team and Isha Phadke

The program began with and introduction to Ekal Vidyalaya and SANGAM by Kumkumji and the event was inaugurated with traditional lamp lighting by Shri Ram Nehraji and his wife Nishiji. Jayshree Shahane gracefully introduced the first segment of “Bhakti”. Children from Abhinaya Arts Music Group ( Amrita Krishnakumar, Janani Baskaran, Anish Bajpai, Kirtana Krishnakumar, Gaurav Jaisingh, Anish Sundaram, Vikas Prabhakar, Kavya Balaji,  Lavanya Prabhakar, Sreya Sankar and Ruhan Ponnada) sang “ Jyot se Jyot Jagate chalo” and got the program off to a great start. This was followed by A Ganesh Bhajan “ Gananayakaya” by Sriharsha and group. As Sriharsha’ s powerful voice echoed in the auditorium, the excited audience knew they were in for a treat.

The first half depicted the journey of love with various segments and  songs along the way. Meera Subramaniam playfully introduced “Pehla Pehla Pyar” which was followed by the song “Piya Tose Naina Laage re” from the film Guide by Nalini Krishnan with a surprise appearance by Isha Phadke, an accomplished kathak dancer  and “Chandan sa Badan” from Saraswathichandra by Mohan Subramaniam that depicted the purana feel of this emotion. Newer songs were “Pyaar hua chupke Se” from 1942 a Love Story by Meena Sundaram and “Tumko paaya hai toh jaise khoya hoon” from Om Shanti Om by Sriharsha Sista.

Monisha Prakash naughtily introduced “Nok Johnk”, playful songs old and new, which featured “ Aaja Panchi akela hai” by Sankar Gangaikondan and Nidhi Tare enhanced by the video of Dev Anand and the gorgeous Kalpana Kartik, “Bade hain dil ke Kaale” from Dil deke dekho by Meena and Sankar, “Jise dhoondhtha hoon main” from Dil chahtha hai by Sriharsha and Nidhi and “Ainvayi Ainvayi” by Parag Joshi and Nidhi.

Nikita Punjabi and her friends Shikha Bajpai, Priti Shaukeen, Purbi Rana and Sheetal Kelkar wowed the audience with their dances for these songs, choreography and moves reflecting purane and naye respectively. In Ainvayi Ainvayi, Ranjani Saigalji graced the stage as well with her moves and emcees and singers were also grooving along!

This was followed by Razia Mashkoor introducing the segments “Pyaar ka Izhaar” and “Intezaar” with a mix of shayri and humor that had the audience in splits. “ Jhoole mein pawan” a classic duet from Baiju  Bawra had the audience enthralled by their coordinated singing and the naya song” Khuda Jaane” showed off the powerful vocals of Parag and Nidhi. Intezaar segment had a beautifully rendered version of “ Din dhal Jaaye” from Guide by Mohan and “ Tu hi re” from Bombay by Nalini and Sankar whose voices soared and echoed in the auditorium.

This was followed by a Video and Powerpoint presentation and a short intro by Shri Bikash Verma which outlined the work EKAL VIDYALAYA is doing to promote education in the most rural regions of India.

This was followed by dinner break with  delicious food catered by Masala Art under the supervision of Sorabh Kapoor.

The second half of the show started off with Preetesh Shrivastava, President Hindi Manch who engaged the audience with his special brand of interactive comedy. His performance resulted in a huge ovation! The first song was the  poignant “Mere Haath mein” from Fanaa sung by Parag and Meena  and topped off with the video of Aamir Khan and Kajol from the film in the segment titled “Supurdgi (Commitment)” introduced by Kumkum.

Now it was time for the special segment “ Zara Nazdeek Se” a closer look at 3 stalwarts of the film industry. Introductions to these amazing artistes  were accompanied by slideshows of their images and stills from their films presented by Jawed Wahidji.

The first artiste was Suraiya , an iconic star by any measure. Siraj Khanji delivered a  measured, deeply felt introduction  to this amazing lady. His knowledge and depth of research endeared the audience to him and his subject.

This was followed by 3 songs of Suraiya “Man Mor” from Afsar by Meena, “ Woh paas rahein” from Badi bahen by Nalini and the immortal Ghalib ghazal” Dil-e-Nadaan” impeccably sung by Parag and Meena.

Shri Puran Dang, Chairman EKAL VIDYALAYA spoke about EKAL for a few minutes and honored Woman of the Year 2012 Ranjani Saigal for her service to the community and to EKAL.

The second artiste was the amazing Helen presented with verve and style by Jharna Madan who highlighted Helen’s achievements in action in addition to her more popular dancing skills. The songs in this segment were a fantastic rendition of “ Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu” by Nidhi and complemented by a sizzling video od Helen dancing in the song. “Aa jaane jaan” from the film Inteqaam was the next song performed by Nalini, Nidhi and Meena in a harmonized version created by Nalini. This was appreciated by the audience. “ Yeh Mera Dil” from Don  sizzled with the sensuous dance of Isha Phadke in a new avatar, song was rendered by Meena.

The last artiste in Zara Nazdeek Se was the articulate and erudite writer, director and lyricist Gulzar. Kumkumji introduced him and moved on to the songs. “Mora gora Ang Laile” from Bandini by Nalini was followed by ”Humne dekhi hai” from Khamoshi by Meena, “Chhod aaye Hum “ from Maachis soulfully rendered by Sriharsha and Sankar and “Dil Se” from Dil Se by Parag and chorus. A rare song “Naam ada Likhna”  from the movie Yahaan was enjoyed by the audience for its theme and the sheer beauty of its lyrics.

The closing segment was Inspiration presented with dedication by Nalini Sharma followed by the song “Mausam beeta Jaaye” from Do Bheega Zameen by Sankar, Meena and group and “Ye Hausla” a nuanced rendition by Parag.

Stage managers were Jayashree Shahane and Uma Sankar, KK, Bachu Malik, Sneh and Ajay Jaisingh, Mamatha Punjala, Mala Ganesan volunteered their time for this event.

Stage decorations courtesy: Shobha Shastry and Alankar
Photography: Malini Varadarajan and Alok Asoor, Jai Lad
Video: Dr. Suhaib Siddiqui

Gunjan radio WUML and Bipin Parekh helped with  support and publicity, Lokvani helped with publicity, ticketing support and guidance. Boston Sargam for help with publicity.

The evening drew to a close after the exciting program and people were abuzz about the event. They especially appreciated the theme, execution and the quality of all participants in the event and mentioned in feedback that  the inclusion of these incredible upcoming singers along with established performers enhanced the event to a higher level.

Here are a few comments:

“Kudos to the organizing committee, Emcees and all the singers for an amazing and very entertaining show! All the singers were just superb!”

“What a show!!! No words to express my feelings about the amazing talent in our backyard, we are indeed fortunate... Thanks, Meena, Kumkum and all your team of volunteers and, of course the singers.”

“One of the most amazing shows I have seen in recent times! So much talent on one stage at one time. And all for a great cause. Delightful evening indeed! Kudos to charming Kumkum, melodious and multi-faceted Meena, Puran Dangji, Nehras and everybody else in the SANGAM team. It was flawless, heart -warming and simply awesome!!!”

“Congratulations to each and every member of the Sangam team! Fabulous talent channeled towards a Great Cause! Was delighted to attend this. Kudos and wish the team continued success in all their future endeavors!”

This was a great show for a GREAT cause! EKAL VIDYALAYA through its ‘One Teacher Schools’. One of the most selfless and transparent organization with over 6,000 full time volunteers. With over 38,000 Schools  reaching over a million children currently, Ekal’s mission of 100,000  One Teacher School by 2015 is indeed a noble endeavor which needs everyone’s support. A Dollar a Day i.e. Just $365 a year helps run a school for a full year- creating a literate village with abundant opportunities. Please go to www.ekal.org for more details and do consider supporting the great work this organization is doing.

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