The North America Shirdi Sai temple of Atlanta staged a successful play, “Shri Sai Darshan,” on May 10th, 2008 at Meadow Creek High school, celebrating the life and teachings of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. The program began with melodious renditions of devotional songs by several amazing singers of all ages accompanied by awesome keyboard and tabla players. The right mood being set, the drama followed, transporting the audience to the holy place of Shirdi for glimpses into some of the events depicting the mutual love between Shri Sai Baba and his devotees.
The script for the play was wonderfully adapted by Syam Yellamraju based upon ‘Sai Sat Charita’ written by Hemadpanth. Shirdi Sai Baba’s philosophy and messages to humanity were aptly conveyed via the script by excellent actors with great emoting and dialogue delivery.
Some of the key roles were ably performed by seasoned drama stalwarts of Atlanta, like Swaroop Nyshadam, Amitabh Sharma, Anil Bedi, Neera Bahl, Sunny Sachdeva, Samir Doshi, Vinod Nayyar, Rahul Saraf, Navin Tyagi, Neeta Shenvi, Smita and Vivek Bhide, Abhay Gokhale and many others.
The set designs, particularly the model of Dwarkamayi, Baba’s stone and Neem tree allowed an audience of nearly 550 to experience an almost realistic feeling of being with Shri Sai Baba in Shirdi for nearly two hours.
Sunitha Kankipati commented, “I felt as is Baba himself was on stage. The entire play transported me to another level. It was a spiritual experience and I had tears in my eyes at the end of the play. The scene where the diyas were lit with water was very well done.” Another audience member, Phani Duggirala exclaimed, “It was two hours of intense devotional feelings and the actor who played Baba was so realistic that I forgot he was an actor.”
The make up artistes brought out extreme likeness to the characters with the help of well made period Maharashtrian costumes. It took a team of 80+ dedicated members to put this mega-event together under the guidance of Syam Yellamraju.
Indeed, the only minor flaw to this near perfect occasion was the cracking of the sound system that drowned out some of the dialogues. Some audience members felt that the award presentations at the end of the show were misplaced and took away from the meditative ambiance that had been created.
All in all, everyone had a memorable afternoon at the coming together of talent, hard work and devotion in creating this spiritual drama to raise awareness of the glorious life and teachings of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba to bring people closer to one another. Ten year old Soujanya Duggirala commented, “I learnt about the life of Sai Baba and his teachings and saw that most children were as interested as I was throughout the play.”
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