Drishti & Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta

Rolling Meadows, IL: Drishti in support of Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta Charitable Fund (VKKCF) presents a live musical and audio-visual tribute to India’s genius composer RD Burman. This event is begins at 6:00 PM on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Meadows Club Grand Ballroom located at 2950 W Golf Road, Rolling Meadows, IL. It was a completely sold out concert with over 800 people at this dinner theater event.

Many prominent leaders of Chicago land attended this event. It was a co-incident that, the founder of Dhristi and partner of Meadows Club, Mr Madan Kulkarni and his wife Shebani Kulkarni were also celebrating their marriage anniversary today. In a unique way of celebration, the started with charity.

The program anchor was renowned stage and regional film actor Rahul Solapurkar. Rahul is also popular as the anchor of the famous Black & White musical which will once again be featured at the Meadows Club on Sunday, October 16th 2011. There were excellent performances by the following singers: Jitendra Abhyankar, Hrishikesh Ranade, Swarada Gokhale, Priyanka Barve & Saahil Gokhale. Small snippets by Amin Sayani, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, were also shown. It was an overall amazing tribute to a musical genius who was far ahead of his times.

Rahul Dev Burman was born in Calcutta. According to some stories, he was nicknamed as Pancham because, as a child, whenever he cried, it sounded in the fifth note (Pa) of the Indian musical scale. After coming to Mumbai, he learnt sarod from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He received his early education at Ballygunge Government High School, Kolkata. When he was nine years old, he composed his first song, Aye meri topi palat ke aa, which his father used in the film Funtoosh (1956). His father loved the tune and included it in the soundtrack of Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa.

In 2004, the soundtrack for Pyaasa was given an award for “The Best Music in Film” by Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute magazine. As a child, Pancham also played the Harmonica (mouth organ) in the famous song Hai apna dil to aawara (from film Solva Saal – 1958, starring Dev Anand). Out of his 331 released movies 292 were in Hindi, 31 in Bangla, 3 in Telugu, 2 each in Tamil & Oriya and 1 in Marathi. Pancham married Rita Patel in 1966, but they were divorced in 1971. He then married Asha Bhosle in 1980. Together, they recorded many memorable tunes and also staged many live performances.

In the early 60’s Burman’s first released a movie as a music director was Mehmood’s Chhote Nawab (1961). The song brought together S. D. Burman and Lata Mangeshkar who had stopped recording together since 1957. R D Burman was India’s most popular composer in 1970s (Hindi Cinemas’s superstar era), famous for his hippy tunes. He teamed up with singers Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and others to churn up some of the biggest hits in the Film music history. In 1980, there were ten more releases. The song “Humein Tumse Pyar Kitna” was recorded twice with a male singer Kishore Kumar and a female singer Parveen Sultana, who received the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer. R D Burman orchestrated for songs like The burning train and Shaan. R D Burman’s last years were not very pleasant. The few films he composed music for flopped at the box office.

He suffered from a heart attack in 1988 and underwent heart surgery. During this period, he composed many tunes, which were never released. After his death, in the mid 1990s, the remix versions of R D Burman’s hits ruled the Indian music scene. Even today, most of the Indian remix songs are his tunes remixed. In, 1995, Filmfare Awards, constituted a new award in the memory of R D Burman, Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent, given each year, to new music directors and singers in Hindi cinema.

RD Burman received Filmfare awards for:
1983 – Best Music Director – Sanam Teri Kasam
1984 – Best Music Director – Masoom
1995 – Best Music Director – 1942: A Love Story

The Notable Film Compositions of RD Burman were: Joshila, Aandhi, Sholay, Saagar, Amar Prem, Teeri Manzil, Chandan Ka Palna, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Libaas, Golmaal, Caravan, Massom, Apna Desh, Kati Palang, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, and Hum Kisise Kum Naheen

The event sponsors were Air India, Horizon Medical Center, Women’s Doc, Niche, and Medstar Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta Charitable Fund (VKKCF) is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1994 in affiliation to Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta of Chicago. VKKCF is the only established charitable fund among all the Kannada Associations in North America.

VKKCF’s mission is to raise funds through diverse avenues and donate the proceeds to other not-for-profit organizations in USA and India that work towards betterment of life for the underprivileged and the not so fortunate. Our aim is to provide resources to these not-for-profit organizations to help alleviate poverty, improve education, provide vocational training, and provide healthcare and emergency relief to people affected by natural disasters, to say the least.

Team VKKCF is run by a committee that is elected at an annual meeting. Each member is aware of and understands the mission and the vision. VKKCF is a volunteer-driven committee. Most administrative costs are borne by the volunteers. The team consists of a Chairperson (Dr.Rohini Udupa), a Co-Chair (Mr. Shreesha Jayaseetharam), a Treasurer (Mr.Sunil Rao) and 5 other team members (Mr. Gurudutt Ramamurthy, Mr. Harish Rao, Mr. Prakash Madadkere, Ms. Sunitha Belur and Ms. Shruti Kumar) to help realize this mission. VKKCF members pursue its mission with great compassion drive. VKKCF is greatly supported by our parent organization – Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta under the presidency of Mr. Satish Gopinath along with other committee members Mr. Anil Deshpande, Mr. Nandish Dhananjaya and Mr. Ramesh Teeka).

Since its inception in 1994 in affiliation with Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta, VKKCF has successfully raised tens of thousands of dollars and donated to various not-for-profit organizations in USA and India with a goal to help the underprivileged to rebuild their lives and live with dignity. Our past recipients include and are not limited to – Apna Ghar, National Blind Foundation, National Breast Cancer Research, Tsunami Relief Fund (Red Cross), Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, Asha for Education, and many more.

VKKCF fundraising event 2011 – Every year, VKKCF team members plan different avenues of raising funds within the Kannada Kuta. However, Charity knows no language or region. This year, the team dared to dream big and decided to reach out to diverse peoples of different states of India and different countries. With this in mind, there was no stopping and the team embarked on a journey not travelled in the history of VKKCF before! VKKCF piggy-backed on Drishti’s “Tribute to R.D.Burman”, presented by Mr. Madan Kulkarni of Meadow’s club. This was a night filled with music, food and dance, and was a great hit. The program was graced by a large number of patrons that attended and contributed to support the cause!

VKKCF can be visited at http://www.vidyaranyakannadakuta.org/index.php/donate.html. to donate for good cause.

Lina Shah editor of Asian Media had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Madan Kulkarni the founders of Dhrishti and The Meadows Club for perspective of the event where he replied that ” As a part of Dhrishti’s 11th anniversary, Dhrishti supported the cause of the Kannada Kuta Charitable fund. The people attending were however originating from all different states of India. This was reflective of the unifying power of good music and art. He added that Dhrishti and its team urge the community to show up in large numbers for the Black & White musical on Sunday, October 16th at 6pm at the Meadows Club. The general admission tickets have been priced at $20 to make it affordable for the people.”

Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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