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Atlanta Desi Idol: Got Talent? These Folks Certainly Do!

January 2007
Atlanta Desi Idol: Got Talent? These Folks Certainly Do!

Raksha's annual fund raising event Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam held its very first song and dance competition in November at Center Stage Theatre, in midtown Atlanta. A total of 50 aspiring and very talented singers and dancers auditioned for the competition, and were judged by a panel of professional singers and dancers. Out of these, the 10 best singers and dancers were chosen to perform live at the event. The competition became even fiercer in the 2nd round as 4 participants were chosen by judges to enthrall the audience yet one more time. Both judges and an audience of over 500 voted for their very favorite in the 2nd round.���

The show kicked off with the singing competition where participants performed to popular songs, both new and old in several languages. The audience was entertained by Aparna's Dance Academy while the judges tallied up their scores to choose the final 4 singers. Through the show, emcees extraordinaire Navneet Narula and Parijat Chandra kept the audience laughing and guessing till the very end!

The song competition featured classical, regional, and popular Hindi film songs. The dance competition featured a wide spectrum of dance genres including bharatnatyam, classic bollywood, and classical fusion. The group, Silent K, got the audience dancing in their chairs with their performance of ‘For your eyes only' to close out the show.

During the event, Raksha and the Ek Shaam team announced the community members that were nominated by their peers for the Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award. Nominees for the 2006 award included Ani Agnihotri, Nisha Karnani, Navneet Singh Narula, Raj Razdan and Pankaj Sampat.���The individuals were nominated for the impact each made in creating a change in the South Asian community. Navneet Singh Narula was named the winner of the award.

Narula was recognized for his local, national and international work in supporting not only the South Asian community but also for his commitment to disaster relief in Louisiana and South Asia. Vijaya Bakshi noted that each nominee deserved recognition for the amazing work that were doing. Raj Razdan and Pankaj Sampat were recognized for their work with senior citizens, Ani Agnihotri was nominated for his work in creating awareness of the South Asian community, and Nisha Karnani was recognized for her immigration law work with Raksha and Indus Bar.

Speaking about the winners in the competitions, Aparna Bhattacharya, director of Raksha, said, "We are very fortunate to have such exceptional performers give their time and talent to help make the event such a success and raise funds to support Raksha's work."

In true Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam fashion, the night ended with a DJ Party hosted by the talented DJ Bally.

Raksha -- meaning "protection" in several South Asian languages -- is a Georgia-based nonprofit organization for the South Asian Community. Raksha, Inc. provides South Asians in Georgia, with the resources to face challenges such as domestic violence, family violence, discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault.

Competition Winners


Winner: Sudipto Banerjee

First runner up: Rashmi Ahuja

Second runner up: Pankaj Bhargava


Winner: Ritu Bhattacharya

First runner up: Rafiq Batcha

Second runner up: Anita Bhagavathula

All photo credits for this article to Krish Photography.

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