A Razzell Dazzell Cultural Event
The cultural program for the 8th annual Festival of India (FOI), organized by IACA took place at the Robert Ferst Center for Arts at Georgia Tech. FOI is the single largest Indian community event in the Southeast that brings together a culturally diverse audience to enjoy, explore, educate and entertain.
Suchita Vadlamani, the beautiful and vivacious co-host of Fox 5's Good Day Atlanta, and Suvrat Bhargave were the hosts for the evening. To start with, the audience was enthralled by Tulika Mukherji's rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Under Dr. Raktim Sen's supervision, children in the age group of four to 12 years, dressed in attires from different states, performed Jana Gana Mana to perfection. Paddy Sharma, president of IACA, welcomed the gathering and invited them to join the association. Chand Akkineni, the co-chairman who started the tradition of the festival in 1997, spoke about various activities of the day before. Ani Agnihotri, another co-chair, talked about the new India Center to be built on the IACA property in Smyrna.
A diya dance by 10 women dressed in saffron, white and green evoked feelings for the Indian flag. Rakhi Banerjee, accompanied by Sriganesh Sangodkar on the keyboard, sang a wonderful medley of Hindi patriotic songs that stirred up emotions. All along, the participants' names were showcased in the background via a colorful slideshow.
The evening proceeded with alternate performances of ancient forms of classical dance and modern, hip-swinging Bollywood dances. Among them, prominent Kathak dancer Aparna Sharma's students enacted the age-old Radha Krishna romance and devotion. Preeti Vinayak Shah's Chayya chayya song enthralled the audience. Modern dance group, Bindaas, made the audience cheer with their version of newer movie songs. However, some took offence at the risqu� dress code sported by the young girls. Sashikala Penumurthy's students presented a wonderful Kuchipudi performance that was followed by a hilarious Tamil dance drama depicting the highs and lows of arranged marriages.
Revathi Komanduri's students presented Dasavatharams in a very elegant manner. David Householder, the ventriloquist, wooed the audience with his Indian hand-puppet and an almost perfect Indian accent. An innovative creation of poetry by Padmaja Kelam's students was well-received. The evening ended with a vibrant dance performance by Silent Killers, lead by Prem. Fluid movements added to the upbeat climax of the music, ending with deafening applause.
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