WATERTOWN, MA–Months of intense planning and efforts by many dedicated dancers and Vision-Aid volunteers culminated in a spectacular Vision-Aid 2022 Annual event – “The Jewel of Justice – the saga of Kannagi” by renowned producer and choreographer Ramachandran Muralidaran on July 31st 2022, dazzling audiences at the in-person event in Watertown, MA and those watching online on Zoom.
Vision-Aid offered the show in this hybrid model for the first time, an innovative adaptation catalyzed by the pandemic – offering many viewers the chance to watch the unique show from the comfort of their own homes, as an alternative to the buzzing, lively and vibrant in-person event.
While the dance show was the crowning jewel – there were many other glittering aspects to the show. Keynote speakers Mukesh and Priti Chatter delivered a truly uplifting and inspiring keynote address which deeply resonated with the audiences, while the dancers mesmerized the audience with their dazzling performance.
Vision-Aid’s opening ceremony featured compelling presentations by President Lalit Sudan and Founder Ramakrishna Raju. This was followed by an introduction of the Keynote speakers Mukesh and Priti Chatter by Revathy Ramakrishna, Co-Founder.
Priti Chatter started out by asking the audience to close their eyes for a moment to realize how many of us take our vision for granted, and then walked the audience through a whole thought process – covering Vision-Aid’s 3 pillars of Enable, Educate and Empower, eloquently explaining how a systematic and well thought out set of interventions could offer deep impact to the visually impaired.
Mukesh Chatter offered an inspired message of hope in these troubled times – emphasizing how love and compassion for others reinforces our faith in humanity. The positive energy in the theater and on zoom was palpable and audiences deeply resonated with their messages.
Chairman Emeritus Puran Dang thanked the Chief Guests on behalf of the Vision-Aid team. This was followed by an awards ceremony where Vice Chair Veena Handa requested the Chief Guests to present Shefali Bakre and Janya Utkarsh with The President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award for their outstanding contributions as Vision-Aid Ambassadors.
Vision-Aid Advisory Board Members, Meetu and Ram Gupta, recognized Jeyanthi Ghatraju was for her outstanding contributions to Vision-Aid – in addition to being the pillar for the dance show every year since 2010 as an Artistic Director, she also serves as the Co-Chair of the Council of Ambassadors.
They also recognized several outstanding student volunteers, as Youth Ambassadors for their volunteer service – Vaidehi Moorthy, Viritha Reddy, Sarayu Gadam, Hamsa Shanmugham, Abbinayya Appusamy, Anushka Diddee, Shreeya Gomathinayagam and Ananya Kumar.
Vision-Aid also recognized Sofia Vempala, one of the outstanding volunteers who joined from Atlanta on Zoom, for her significant help in the Python program.
The opening ceremony concluded with Mr. Syed Ali Rizvi, long time Vision-Aid Board member and past President, offering a beautiful “sher” in honor of the chief guests and offering several important announcements.
Matching grant of $50,000
One of the highlights of this year’s annual event was the generous matching grant offered by Mukesh and Priti Chatter who offered a matching challenge for event attendees. Every donation made to Vision-Aid between July 31, 2022 and August 7, 2022 will be doubled up to $50,000. The matching campaign is still running and Vision-Aid welcomes donors to take advantage of it. More details can be found here https://indianewengland.com/priti-mukesh-chatter-announce-generous-matching-grant-for-vision-aid-annual-event-with-over-1200-viewers/
Vision-Aid announced the creation of a new “named center” – “Kamala-Thiruvengada Chari Vision-Aid Resource Center” at Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, India. This center was dedicated to the loving memory of Mrs. T. Kamala & Mr. R. Thiruvengada Chari by their daughter Dr. Kastoori Iyengar and son-in-law, Dr. Rangaprasad (Ranga) Sarangarajan who live in the Boston area.
Vision-Aid also announced the creation of another new “named center” – “Amiya Kumar Ghosh Vision-Aid Resource Center” at Sankara Nethralaya in Kolkata, India, in loving memory of Mr. Amiya Kumar Ghosh of Kolkata, India, by his family here in Kolkata, USA, and Australia. This is supported by the Saxena Family Foundation, USA.
Sushil Tuli, CEO of Leader Bank said, “The event was outstanding and very informative about Vision-Aid’s efforts in helping the poor visually disadvantaged in India. It was a pleasure to listen to Priti and Mukesh’s keynotes. The show was really captivating. Alka and I wholeheartedly support the cause. We are glad that we attended the Annual event”.
Dr. Salil Midha, Chief of Cardiology Melrose Wakefield Hospital said “This is such a noble cause to help the blind. Excellent performance by the hard-working dancers and a spectacular event. I was very impressed with giving the needy Artificial Intelligence Smart Vision Glasses to help them read and move around. This could be a game changer. Your show started on time. It was an inspiring speech by the Chief guests Mukesh and Priti Chatter. Probably one of the best fundraisers that I have attended.”
Vision-Aid Volunteer President Lalit Sudan said, “Today we all had the good fortune of listening to the heartfelt remarks by our Chief Guests Mukesh and Priti Chatter and the spectacular performance of our volunteer dancers, directors, videographers guided by the well-known choreographer Shri Muralidaran. It was truly a display of amazing generosity, superb talent and unparalleled enthusiasm by the audience.”
Vision-Aid Founders, Revathy Ramakrishna and Ramakrishna Raju, added, “We were deeply touched by the amazing keynote by Priti and Mukesh Chatter. Mr. Muralidaran really outdid himself.” echoing the sentiments of many in the audience, who were equally mesmerized with the compelling keynote as they were with the rich fusion of classical dance, an intricate story line, rich music and dazzling special effects – which combined created a visual treat like none other – a truly breathtaking and intricate, beyond-Broadway experience for enthralled viewers.
Mr. Ramachandran Muralidaran, and his wife Chithra Muralidaran and daughter Kavya Muralidaran, have won numerous awards and accolades in India and abroad, for their amazing work, and his shows have become very popular with Boston and Vision-Aid audiences with his year-upon-year unique dance productions which help Vision-Aid raise funds for the visually impaired, and which have become a signature event which many in New England look forward to each summer.
Mr. Muralidaran’s show this year materialized in New England in the form of “The Jewel of Justice – the saga of Kannagi” with two leading artistic directors who were the driving forces for the show this year. Jeyanthi Ghatraju, the founding Artistic Director for Vision-Aid shows since 2009, worked closely with Sripriya Natarajan Moorthy to forge a team of over 50 talented dancers from across New England. Artistic Directors Marishakthi Muthuswamy, Aishwarya Chakravarthy and Shruthi Lakshmi Narayan joined them, collectively coordinating the herculean efforts for several months leading up to the grand show.
The dance team was supported by a very dedicated team of videographers Krish Velmurugan of @Krispfotos , Kanth Ghatraju and Maneesh Srivastava. The spectacular visuals and graphics conceived by Mr. Muralidaran, transported viewers across the boundaries of space and time to witness the saga of Kannagi from the 5th century. The Online Zoom experience was efficiently managed by Sanjay Jain and other Vision-Aid Board members. Meyyappan Meyyappan of Kolam Media Creations fame, designed the colorful graphics and eye catching brochure.
Ways You Can Help
Vision-Aid matching campaign is still running and Vision-Aid welcomes donors to take advantage of it to help Enable, Educate and Empower the visually impaired. https://visionaid.org/how-your-donation-helps/