NORWOOD, MA– A new singing star was born on Saturday. Even Bappi Lahiri, who gave a totally new direction to Bollywood music in the 1970s with Disco Deewane genere of songs, said he had introduced many new singers to Bollywood during his career, but singing talent of Anuradha Palakurthi was definitely distinctive. And, it was.
“Anuradha was brilliant on stage as usual. But with Bappi Da, we saw a totally different Anuradha,” said Harish Dang, who produced Sounds of India radio show for 40 years in Boston and is one of the popular hosts of musical programs in New England. “I have always pictured Anuradha singing melodies like Lag ja gale or Tere bina zindagi se–soft, romantic numbers. But here, our Boston’s Lata Mangeshkar transformed herself into Asha or Usha Uthup with Koi yahan nache naache and mujhe naulakha manga de.”
Palakurthi’s electrifying and mesmerizing performance with easy going rock artist Bappi Da entertained the packed audience of 800 people to the fullest.
“Bappi Da was so supportive of everybody’s requests like Pag Ghoongroo Baandh Meera Naachi re and Main hoon disco Dancer that dancers could not hold themselves and joined him on stage,” added Dang. “These songs also were a tribute from him to actors Mithun Chakrborty, Amitabh Bachchan and Bappi’s Mama Kishore Da.”
Dang said Anuradha can now surprise her audience with any number – classical, semi-classical, popular, rock or item numbers. “Be ready Boston…and the World,” added Dang.
Palakurthi said that Bappi-Da’s live-wire presence, personal charm and his ability to connect with the audience created the on-stage chemistry that made all performers comfortable. Resonance Band led by Satyajit Bhattacharya was in its elements, too.
“Sharing the stage with a musical juggernaut like Bappi-Da was a learning experience for me and the two young ladies on stage – (supporting singers) Sachi Badola and Anusha Kulkarni,” said Palakurthi. “Singing songs that I heard from my school-times was very exciting. The youngest, including my 3-year-old grand-nephews/nieces were asking for replay of songs from the event when they reached home. Some real foot-tapping enthusiasm.”
Pradeep Shukla, president of Waltham, MA-based LearnQuest Academy of Music, said it was a very entertaining with excellent singing by Bappi Da and Palakurthi.
“She sang beautifully just like any professional playback singer from India,” Shukla said. “Her singing caliber is very high. Bappi Da was also very entertaining and he engaged the audience.”
The funds raised from the event will go to Veterans Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is the largest provider of support services to veterans and their families in New England. Since 1990, the organization has helped more than 70,000 veterans in need and today operates offices and programs in all six New England states.
“We try to raise the performance bar every time, and as a community we come together to serve a noble cause: Veteran (Inc.) support,” Palakurthi said. “Veterans is a fantastic organization and I am gladdened by the contributions our community makes to them.”
Named Bappi Lahiri & Anuradha Palakurthi – Koi Yahaan Naache Naache, the live musical program was held on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Norwood High School Auditorium in Norwood, MA. The event was sold out.
In addition to Bappi Da, Palakurthi has given live performances and sung duets with Bollywood singing stars like Suresh Wadkar, Kumar Sanu and Indian playback and ghazal singer Hariharan.
Known as the Indian nightingale of New England, Palakurthi trains in Hindustani vocals under Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar, a student of Kishori Amonkar of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. In 2016, Palakurthi was the featured female singer for visiting Bollywood artists – Kumar Sanu (singing Alka Yagnik’s songs), Suresh Wadkar, singing songs from spectrum of singers from Mobarak Begum, Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar.
Palakurthi recorded a duet with Hariharan for Ekal Vidyalaya – composed by Guitarist Prasanna with Drummer Sivamani and a group of 14 multiple-Grammy winning musicians from across the globe. Palakurthi sings in six Indian languages, has recorded playback for South Indian films and is working on two private albums – one each with Ustad Nishat Khan of the Agra-Etawah Gharana and Mithilesh Pataknar.
She serves as the Chairperson of MIT’s Heritage Arts of South Asia, known as MITHAS. Her charitable foundation, the Anuradha Palakurthi Foundation, supports the promotion of Indian culture primarily in New England by providing financial support to programs, artists and organizers of events where Indian culture is performed or exhibited.
Volunteers at Bappi Da program included Manisha Jain, Rekha Palriwala, Bhavana Motiwala, Pallavi Nagesha and Sweta Mepani. The team of Jawed Wahid, Preetesh Shrivastava, Sanjay Jain, Shobha Shastry, Venu Challa, Dyuti Majumdar, Suhaib and Razia provided the framework for enjoyment of disco music. Masala Art provided the food. Purnima Vadhera and Norwood High School arranged the facility.
“It takes a village to raise an artist, and as a performer I am blessed to count on so many friends, family members and fans in the audience,” said Palakurthi.