Indo-American News: May 27, 2022

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Friday, May 27, 2022 | Vol. 41, No. 21

May 27, 2022


Indo American News


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Thrilling Showfest Debut: Arijit Singh in Concert @ NRG Arena

Sunil T’s Concert Review P2-P3


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Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 27, 2022 •



May 27, 2022

Thrilling Showfest Debut: Arijit Singh in Concert @ NRG Arena

Sunil T with Showfest promoters: Anand Dawda (left), Harry Shah (center) and Kal Kalra (above).

Review By Sunil Thakkar Houston: I KNEW THIS WAS A BOLD Concept on paper, but I had no idea how far the promoters would take this in reality. Coming out of COVID, most would have taken small steps. But the creators of ShowFest - Kal Kalra, Anand Dawda and Harry Shah did just the opposite. During the peak of COVID lockdown in 2020, they booked 32 of Bollywood’s top Artists for a USA tour in 2022. Not only that, but they also booked all the venues in the top 6 cities in the US for 30 Concerts and 12 Music Festivals. This was more than bold - it was insanity. But insanity threw the biggest party last Fri MAY 20th at NRG Arena with the ARIJIT SINGH Concert. When we started the promotions on Masala Radio, I had my doubts initially. But they soon cleared after meeting Anand Dawda. The creative genius was behind dozens of big Bollywood production shows in the last decade that had toured worldwide. His focus was to add MASALA to the music - laser lights, moving screens, special effects, and lighted wrist bands usually seen at the wild parties in Ibiza. As I walked in the NRG Arena an hour before the concert, I heard Arijit Singh rehearsing with his full band. His voice sounded magical and as he was orchestrating the band, he seemed so gentle, hardworking, and down to earth. I was mesmerized by the sound that engulfed all the air in the Arena. In the darkness, the colorful piercing lasers seemed like light sabers from Star Wars. As if a battle scene had erupted between Darth Vader and a hundred Jedis. The gates opened and a fun vibrant crowd was ushered in courtesy to their seats. Every seat has a wrist band that would glow up with different colored lights light dancing to the music. Thanks to Anand & Harry for giving me the opportunity to open the very first ShowFest concert with a few jokes and kick-off Arijit’s electrifying non-stop 3.5-hour performance. He started with a soft solo on the piano and instantly I heard thousands of screams all around me. His popularity was evident by the way the audience sang along with all the songs. Starting with his all-time biggest hit Tum Hi Ho, he threw out hit after hit, and then went into popular dance covers like Aakh Lad Jave and Humma Humma. I just couldn’t sit and was quickly on my feet dancing. Earlier, I was surrounded by Who’s who of Houston while shooting behind the screens in the VIP Lounge and got a chance to interview Vijay & Marie Goradia, Arshad & Dr. Ramji, and Gopal Agarwal, among others. They all enjoyed the Elite experience that Houston has never seen before, from valet parking to a lavish dinner by Dawat serving Kashmiri Pulav to Kanya Kumari Bhindi and other regional dishes. The show started exactly on time as promised. The Elite seats were individual reContinued on Page 3

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cliner leather sofa chairs felt like Emirates business class, and the best part - I have the same seats for all the concerts, I am going to have 4 more experiences with all these people I met around me - warm fuzzy feeling. We were so close to ARIJIT it felt like he was singing to me, though Sandhya, Preanka, Rinku, Alisha, Pankti and Bhavisha swore he was waving at them too. That’s the magic of ARIJIT, each person felt a personal connection to him in a trance. The giant screens seemed larger than my three-story house and halfway through the concert they moved through the stage. This was a next level ! Light sequences, giant confetti, bursts of fog and fire added to magical moments I will never forget. As if I had seen enough, 3D graphics appeared and changed with each song. This was nothing short of a Las Vegas show at the grand MGM theater. I was so proud that my niece Priyanshi and son Sahil said, “if this what all ShowFest shows are going to be like, we don’t want to miss a single one.” It seems the next generation is ready for the paradigm shift created by SHOWFEST. Future concert lineups include rewind with Udit, Kumar and Alka. Then it’s Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, and a whole host of 90s stars. The one I am particularly interested in

is Hrithik Roshan, Tiger shroff and Nora Fatehi. Showfest is master planned by seasoned veterans who aim to raise the bar so high, even Elon Musk’s Space X rocket can’t fly that high. Thousands of people cheered, smiled, danced in jubilation at the first concert in 2.5 years. And it was the modern-day Kishore Kumar - Arijit Singh. Kal Kalra said, “There is lot more to come from ShowFest so be ready”. Everyone that bought the Arijit ticket, got one free ticket to Yo Yo Honey Singh concert and one to Salim Suleman’s Sufi tronix - both at skeeters stadium coming this summer. I will give the first concert 5 stars. It was beyond what I had expected. I danced in jubilation for half the time and the other half soaked in luxury on the second row of the elite section. Harry shah delivered what he promised. Sandhya and the masala crew came in through the red-carpet valet parking entrance from the back. Concert like REWIND, ICONIC ADDICTION, U-WE3 and 2 Music Festivals Sufitronix and Madness are coming soon at the Skeeters Stadium. I highly recommend getting the MEGAPACK and just knowing that you will have a season to the best In Bollywood for the year is simply mind-blowing. Memberships start at $1 a day on

May 27, 2022 Harry Shah was on Masala Radio 98.7fm promoting the features of the elite section, at the concert he made sure every elite meneber got pics with Arijit Singh and himself sent the pics to everyone. Harry Shah humbly said “I’m sure there were some areas where we were not 100% and we have room to grow.” Anand Dawda pitched in “fortunately we have 6 more shows to perfect our model and our mission to deliver the impossible… to take your breath away at every one of our events.” Kal kalra smiled and said “we are already working on 2023. The success of the first show is such a huge motivation. Thank you everyone for believing in us and buying the mega packs.” And those that didn’t believe initially, no problem. Just go on and join the party.” The MASALA award for the BEST DEBUT in concert production goes to Showfest. A new generation has arrived.

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Deepika on Cannes Red Carpet

Cannes, France: After serving a trendy, messy-chic look in a tasseled black gown with a plunging neck, Deepika completely switched up and opted for an elegant and timeless look In yet another breathtaking red carpet appearance, Deepika Padukone once again proved why she is a red carpet darling. After serv-

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 27, 2022 •

ing a trendy, messy-chic look in a tasseled black gown with a plunging neck, Deepika completely switched up her look and opted for an elegant and timeless look in an orange gown. The Cocktail actor wore a custom Ashi Studio gown, known for their super structural and impeccable draped creations. -- IE



May 27, 2022

Rasika Shekar Concert in Houston: “Incredible, Memorable” By Pradeep Anand

Houston: Writing that first sentence about an incredible, memorable musical experience is always difficult. There, I did it! That first sentence has been established, and now I must move on to explain why I thought it was an “incredible, memorable musical experience.” Very simply, Rasika Shekar is an exceptionally talented performer who swept us off into a musical ionosphere from the very first note that came out so melodiously from her flute. And then she kept us floating in that sublime state with songs and compositions in so many different genres, from singing energetic Punjabi folk songs to subtle moving ghazal classics by Mallika Pukhraj and Mehdi Hasan, a Jagjit Singh medley, with her sister Hrithika Badri, and AR Rahman compositions-instrumental and vocal. And many popular songs from Bollywood films. And then there were Rasika’s own compositions—Departure, Uproar and others—that added a distinct Jazz component to that flight on the wings of her superbly crafted music. But what made my evening extra-special was her and her band’s tribute to a composition by a team that included the late Paco de Lucia, a Spanish flamenco guitar-

ist and composer. He was one of the earliest flamenco guitarists to explore Jazz by partnering with the likes of fellow-guitarists John McLaughlin and Al di Meola. I discovered John McLaughlin in the 1970s which quickly led me to the trio and Chick Correa (Jazz Piano), in a few months, and an incredible journey, thereafter, in Jazz and Flamenco music that was supplemented by Bizet’s opera Carmen. Around 1990 Paco de Lucia teamed up with Chick Correa and flamenco guitarist Manolo Sanlucar to compose Zyryab, which was a tribute to Ziryab, a poet and musician at the Umayyad court in Córdoba, Spain. He is often given credit for introducing the Persian lute, Barbat, to Spain. This instrument later evolved into the Spanish guitar.

And Zyryab is one of my most favorite musical compositions, ever. It is simply brilliant. Rasika Shekar (on her flute) and her band paid such an incredible tribute to that composition. It seemed as if they were possessed by the musical spirit of the 8th9th century poet/musician from Cordoba. It was so ethereal and sublime. And then there was no descent from that Cloud Nine, even a day later, while drafting this article. Rasika sang and performed on various flutes. Besides being a superb singer, having been trained in Hindustani and Carnatic vocal music, she was amazing on the flute, transitioning from mood to mood, phase to phase, as needed, in pleasing, powerful and subtle, intricate ways. Shubh Saran was terrific on the

guitar, playing lead at times, switching to rhythm when needed, making the instrument sound so native and integral to the song being performed. Christian Li played the keyboard like a jazz piano virtuoso, with notes and improvisations that fitted so well in our stratospheric musical aura. Engin Kaan Guaydin on the drums and Gilber Masoor on Percussions were energetic co-conspirators in this creative musical endeavor, adding subtleties in beat and tempo that complimented Rasika’s flute and vocal melodies. And, in a corner, Adam Neely played the bass guitar with such precision and filled the aural spectrum very nicely. And the band members’ solos were excellent expression of their art. We felt that they could have gone on a bit longer. In fact, I could not help feeling that I could have sat and listened to Rasika Shekar and her band well into the night. When the concert ended our hearts yelled, “Encore! Encore!” Kudos to Indo-American Association (IAA) for presenting this

stellar show at Wortham Centre, a worthy venue for this outstanding program. More kudos to IAA for attracting superb Indian talents to Houston and fulfilling its vision in creating a culturally vibrant local community by expanding entertainment, education, and imagination in the area through arts and culture of Indian heritage. IAA’s program for the rest of 2022 is as follows: Rukmini Vijaykumar – Bharatanatyam, June 10, 2022, 8:00 PM Andean-Indian - Melodies of Folklore, July 09, 2022, 8:00 PM Dr. L. Subramaniam with the Houston Symphony, August 06, 2022, 7:00 PM Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan – SABRANG, September 10, 2022, 7:00 PM Ustad Shujaat Khan - While My Sitar Gently Sings, September 24, 2022, 7:00 PM Ye Jo Desh Hai Mera - Celebrating Thousand Lights for Peace, October 02, 2022, 7:00 PM We look forward to enjoying these programs just like we enjoyed an evening with Rasika Shekar. For details, please visit www. PS: Rasika Shekar is a Chemical Engineer (Rutgers University). Later, she studied Jazz and Flamenco music at Berklee College of Music and received a masters degree in performance


Indo-American News • Friday, may 27, 2022 •

May 27, 2022

Indo-American News • Friday, MAY 27, 2022 •




May 27, 2022

Akshay Kumar: ‘Makhmali’ is Most Romantic Track

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Akshay Kumar’s next is Yash Raj Films’ first historical, Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. He is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor in this visual spectacle. As Akshay drops the sneak peek to the third song of the film, Makhmali, he says that this romantic track of the season would rank as one of the ‘most soulful romantic tracks’ of his entire 30 year film career. Akshay says, “In the 30 years of my journey in cinema, I have been fortunate to get amazing romantic tracks that have got a lot of love from my fans and audiences and I’m confident that Makhmali, sung by Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal will also get the same amount of love from people. Makhmali has to rank as one of the most

soulful romantic tracks of my film career.” He adds, “The song is picturised on the mesmerisingly beautiful and pure love story between Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and his beloved Princess Sanyogita. Theirs was a relationship of equals. They were forward thinking and they worked hard to tell people that men and women are equals and that gender parity was necessary for the betterment of society. I love the song and it’s been on loop on my phone. I hope everyone loves Makhmali too.” The ethereally gorgeous Manushi Chhillar plays the role of King Prithviraj’s beloved Sanyogita and her launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022. She adds, “I love the entire album of Prithviraj and Makhmali has a special place in my heart. It’s the first romantic track of my career and it’s beautiful. I’ve grown

up watching YRFs romantic songs and I’ve gotten to finally do one.” She adds, “It’s simply amazing that I have got someone like Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal singing for my first love song! They’re both masters of what they do and I’m just so grateful for my debut. Makhmali captures the purity of love that Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and Princess Sanyogita had for each other.” Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. The film has been mounted on one of the all-time biggest superstars of Hindi cinema, Akshay Kumar, who happened to complete his 30 years in the Hindi film industry with Prithviraj! The film is set to release on June 3 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

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May 27, 2022

Have you planned for your future?

People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan

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May 27, 2022

Fort Bend County Poised to Elect Suleman Lalani as State Representative

Richmond: Democratic physician Suleman Lalani on Tuesday defeated runoff opponent Vanesia Johnson in a newly drawn state House district in Fort Bend County, leaving him poised to become the first Muslim state lawmaker in Texas history. The new district, freshly crafted during last year’s redistricting process, covers parts of Sugar Land, Mission Bend and unincorporated Fort Bend County. Nearly half the residents were added from another House district where Lalani was the Democratic nominee last cycle, giving him a built-in edge over his primary foes. Lalani, if elected, would be the first Muslim to serve in the Texas Legislature, according to Rice University political science professor Mark Jones. The seat, House District 76, leans heavily Democratic, making the nominee highly favored to win the general election in November. (Democrat Salman Bhojani, a Muslim and former city councilman in the North Texas suburban city of Euless, is also favored to win a Tarrant County state House seat in November.). Lalani won the Democratic nomination with 63% of the vote with 37% of the votes going to Vanesia Johnson. In the race for Harris County Civil Court No 4 race, M.K. Monica Singh (D) won the nomination

with 64% of the votes to 36% for Treasea Trevino. Meanwhile, Sonia Rash will be the Democratic candidate for Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace with 59% of the votes cast to 41% for Husein Hadi. A tight race is underway for Fort Bend County Treasurer with both Qaiser Q. Imam and Albert Tibbs at 50%. Neeta Sane lost the race for Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Commissioner (Democratic) to Dexter McCoy. Sane received 39% of the votes to 61% for McCoy. These races will be decided in the Midterm elections to be held on November 8, 2022.

Dr. Suleman Lalani with wife Zakia.

Indo-American News • Friday, may 27, 2022 •

Manpreet (MK) Monica Singh

May 27, 2022

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May 27, 2022

Rahul Robin Subramaniam Wins Eagle Scout Award

Sugar Land: Rahul Robin Subramaniam from Troop 1845 received his Eagle Award at a Boy Scout Court of Honor held on Monday, May 16, 2023. The ceremony was held at the Sugar Land Baptist Church in Sugar Land, Texas. The masters of ceremonies were Darsh Moparthy and Kavin Gidwani. Nationally, only 2% of boys who start out in Scouting achieve this rank. The Eagle award is the highest achievement earned in Boy Scouting, and only two percent of Scouts achieve this award. To be considered to become an Eagle Scout, a candidate must be active in his troop, hold a leadership position, earn at least 21 merit badges (including 12 Eagle-required badges), complete a leadership service project benefiting his local community and receive letters of recommendation. After the Scout works up through the ranks, he performs an Eagle project to develop his leadership skills while providing a community service. For his Eagle Project, Rahul planned and provided leadership by teaching Seniors at T.E. Harman Center in Sugar Land with In-

troduction & Training on Internet, social media and Facebook. Social media use among the aging community improves health in terms of cognitive capacity, increases a sense of self-competence, and may have a beneficial effect on mental and physical well-being. The classes were well attended

and immediately following the sessions, a few of the attendees created their account/s and connected with multiple members of their families via social media. Rahul is a student at Clements High School in Fort Bend and plans to attend Texas A&M in Fall. Rahul is the son of Sonal and Robin Subramaniam. The Sam Houston Area Council, BSA, serves nearly 60,000 youth in 16 counties in the southeast Texas area through the dedicated service and leadership of nearly 20,000 adult volunteers. Scouting is completely funded by the generosity of our local communities. For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible and productive society. Photo: Eagle Scout Rahul Subramaniam with Troop Leader Scott Bauer



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May 27, 2022

Zee5 Brings Original RRRoar in Telugu ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest platform for South Asian content has been continually bringing a wide variety of content in various formats in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and other languages for its global audiences. This much-loved platform now exclusively premieres RRR in its original language, Telugu, and also in Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada with English subtitles. A glorious homecoming for many fans, RRR is a roaring, rearing, rousing mix of genres that center around two Indian revolutionaries and their fight against the British rule in 1920. Headlined by Ram Charan, N.T. Rama Rao Jr., in lead roles, the film is produced by D. V. V. Danayya of DVV Entertainment, and features Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, Samuthirakani, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, and Olivia Morris in pivotal roles. Viewers across the world can now watch the blockbuster film in the best 4K quality and with Dolby Atmos straight from the comfort of their homes. The film releases on the platform on May 20th as a tribute to the widely loved actor, N.T. Rama Rao Jr. on his birthday. Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global said, “At ZEE5 Global, we constantly look to bring the best stories from South Asia to the world. Today, we are delighted to bring our global audiences yet another blockbuster film- S.S. Rajamouli’s RRR. Bringing alive the true essence and real feel of the film, the movie will be available exclusively on ZEE5 in its original language, Telugu, and also in Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada along with English subtitles, and is a must-watch for any movie buff.” Along with RRR, viewers can also watch other blockbusters like the much talked-about film, The Kashmir Files (available in select global markets including US, Australia and streaming from May 25th in UK), Amitabh Bachchanstarrer Jhund, Attack Part 1, Bangarraju (Telugu) and much more, and at a limited period 40%+ discount offer on the Annual pack. RRR will be available for streaming as part of ZEE5 Global’s premium subscription packs from 00:00 hours (IST) on May 20th. ~Watch RRR in its Original language Telugu only on ZEE5 across global markets from May 20~ ZEE5 Global is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai,


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