Ugadi Celebrations by BATA – A Phenomenal Success!
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Ugadi Celebrations by BATA – A Phenomenal Success!

Bay Area Telugu Association (BATA) celebrated “Ugadi” (Telugu New Year) festival in a grand style on April 6th, 2013 at Chabot College Auditorium, Hayward, California. It was a sold out program with more than 1500 guests attended. It was a day long program started at 9am and went till 12 midnight with back to back cultural programs, political debate, dances, singing, and a grand musical concert by Tollywood singers Deepu and Sravana Bhargavi. There was a huge support from local businesses with more than 20 businesses have set up their exhibits/stalls at the event. Ravi Tax Services and Channel Real Estate & Mortgage have served as Grand Sponsors of the event. Other sponsors include Swagat Pickles, Peacock Indian Restaurents, Scopus Consulting Group, International Technological University, Eye Level, East Bay Dental, PNG Jewelers, and Aloha Mind Math. BATA President, Ramesh Konda, invited all the sponsors on the stage during the program, and recognized and thanked them for their continued support.

The venue was decorated with grace and artistry with “Telugu Talli” idols welcoming the guests. Jhansi Thiruveedhula, Sridevi Pasupuleti, and other BATA volunteers have worked hard to make the venue beautifully decorated reflecting the Indian traditional colors and atmosphere. The background displays on the stage as backdrops during the cultural programs have created an elegant and dynamic atmosphere. Credit goes to Hari Chikoti and Kalyani Chikoti for bringing the grandeur to the stage by artistically programming most fitting designs and animations for each of the plays on the stage. The highlights of the program are as follows.

As part of the main celebrations, youth talent show competitions were held in which over 200 children participated to showcase their talent in classical, folk/ film singing and dance. As in the past, there was an overwhelming response to these competitions. The competitions started at 9am and went till 6pm nonstop. Rajesh Chavli and Sumanth Pusuluri managed the registrations and conducted the competitions. Part of the Talent Show, there were also competitions held for Essay Writing, Art, Science Olympiad, and Chess. Several kids have participated in these activities to demonstrate their talent. These competitions were conducted by Karun Veligeti and Jyotsna Bendapudi. It is very exciting to watch the kids showing their interest and eagerness in these competitions.

While the youth talent show was going on, in parallel, first time in BATA events, a political debate was conducted to bring awareness of happenings at back home (Andhra Pradesh), more specifically focusing on upcoming elections in 2014. Although we all are away from homeland, all Indians are still passionate to see it flourish. Keeping in view of the public interest, an inovative open debate "2014 Elections" was conducted during the Ugadi Telugu Mela.

Supporters from various parties (like Congress, TDP, YSRCP, Lok Satta, TRS, Communist, BJP etc) have participated in this debate. On behalf of BATA, Prasad Mangina lead this segment and Invited all the guests on to the stage and briefed them on the Sri. Jayaram Komati was the "Moderator" for the debate and he encouraged the debate to be informative, friendly & co-ordial with a focus on discussing the key topics. Some of the most important topics like Farmers Issues, Power situationin the state, High tech Sector, Job Growth & Political Reforms were discussed. All the participants expressed their viewsin an very open and candid way. It was great to see a lot of community leaders from the Bay Area participating in this debate and contributing their knowledge.

The main cultural program started at 6:00 pm. Vijaya Aasuri (BATA advisor & cultural chair) welcomed all the guests and thanked the Telugu community for their continued support. The program started with mesmerizing classical dances by students from Natyalaya Kuchipudi School under the direction of Guru Jyoti Lakkaraju. The artists in the dance expressed a deep sense and gratitude towards the Kuchipudi art. The classical dances provided an exciting start to the great evening.

Then came the series of dances under ‘Life is beautiful’ item in which cute little kids & teens performed excellent dances to several of movie songs. There were over 50 little ones synchronized very well in dancing to variety of recent hit songs. With the little ones dancing, one could see the stirring of nostalgic feelings of guests listening to songs and witnessing the dance to popular new songs which created laughter and love. The dances were choreographed by Sridevi, Srilu,Kiran, Deepthi and Vijaya.

During this program, Ugadi special Souvenir was released by TANA President Sri. Prasad Thotakura & Sri Jayaram Komati. Prasad Mangina (Magazine editor) thanked all the writers who contributed with their articles, poems & stories and sponsors and the BATA team for their support in bringing out a very nice souvenir. Speaking on this occasion, Prasad Thotakura applauded BATA’s efforts in promoting Telugu culture for the past 40 years.He invited all the guests to attend upcoming TANA Convention to be held in Dallas from May 24 th-May 26th, 2013. TANA leaders Hema Rao, Satish Chilukuri, Yaswanth Kudaravalli, and Ashok Kolla have accompanied Prasad Thotakura on the stage.

After the above, a spectacular fashion show was presented by Nalli Silks. Part of this, colorful designer sarees were worn by all the participants. With the background music, when ladies were taking a fashion show walk on the stage, all the guests were mesmerized with the beautiful fashion show.

Then came the powerful energetic fusion of folk hip-hop and traditional dance forms “The Power of Dance” performed by the youth. The energy levels and the beats of the songs along with the complex and elegant moves left the audience spell bound. The costumes, makeup, songs, situational backdrops, and dance by all participants were just awesome and the crowd responded with thunderous applause. The dances were choreographed by Srilu, Sridevi, Sirisha, and Deepthi.

Then came the much awaited hilarious comedy play, “Bhoolokam Lo Yamudu”, which is a parody of a movie director who convinces Yama Dharmaraju (Yamudu) to act in his movie. To start with in the play, Yamudu has been busy in giving punishments to the people whoever goes to hell and this task becomes a routine to him. When the movie director’s turn comes to receive punishment from Yamudu, the director creatively redirects attention of Yamudu by showing how the actors in the “Bhoolokam” enjoying the lifestyle by acting in the movies. This was portrayed with beautiful dances by different age groups of kids and youth to the hit songs from different generations/heroes. Throughout this play, the guests have thoroughly enjoyed the comedy, dances, songs, and dialogue delivery, and responded with round of big applauses repeatedly. The script was written and directed by Kalyan Kattamuri who is known for cutting edge comedy skits. Kamesh Malla (Chitra Guptudu) & Devender Babu (Yama Dharmaraju) were the other lead roles in the play. The dances were choreographed by Ratna, Srilu, Sridevi, Sirisha, Deepthi, and Vijaya.

The Grand Finale was a musical concert by popular Tollywood singers Deepu and Sravana Bhargavi. The award winning singers made the program very entertaining with witty comments and singing hit songs one after another continuously for 2 hours. It included classic hits like “Omkara Nadalu”, “Sirimalle Poova” to the latest hit “Naane Naani Ney”, "Simha Simha" , “Gannu Lanti Kannu Lunna” , "Saar Vasta Vasta raa" , “Jaramochindi”, “Dethadi Dethadi” & “Kevvu Keka” etc.

Towards the end of the program, the new committee for the year 2013 was introduced. Speaking on the occasion the out-going president, Dr. Ramesh Konda, thanked everyone for their support during his tenure as the president and thanked all the volunteers who worked very hard in making the Ugadi event a grand success. He then introduced the new President, Mr. Kamesh Malla, and other members of the new committee. Speaking on the occasion newly elected BATA president, Kamesh Malla, said he is very excited to lead the team and congratulated all the volunteers in making the Ugadi celebrations a grand success. He alluded that though the committee members have different titles on the paper, all the volunteers and committee members work equally hard as a team to make the events successful.

The following is the newly elected BATA executive committee team for the year 2013:

Kamesh Malla (President)
Kalyan Kattamuri (Vice president)
Dr. Sireesha Battula (Secretary)
Yaswanth Kudaravalli (Treasurer)
Sumanth Pusuluri (Jt. Secretary)
Veeru Vuppala (Advisor)
Vijaya Aasuri (Advisor & Cultural Chair)
Sridevi Pasupuleti (Cultural Team)
Srilu Veligeti (Cultural Team)
Kiran Vinnakota (Cultural Team)
Taraka Deepthi (Cultural Team)

There were over 50 volunteers who had put in countless hours during the past one month with relentless effort and great passion to make this event a grand success. BATA Committee would like to thank all volunteers, sponsors, well-wishers and the guests at the event for the great support and encouragement. To list some of the volunteers, Veeru Vuppala, Hari Chikoti, Kalyani Chikoti took care of sound, backdrops, banners, and auditorium; Rajesh Chavli hosted the competitions. Sumanth took care of competition logistics and registrations. Ticket Sales at box office was managed by Yaswanth, Karun, Sai, Murty, Kondal and Pola. Jhansi, Sridevi, and Ravi Thiruveedhula led the decorations. Srilu, Sridevi, Taraka Deepti, Kiran Vinnakota, Vijaya Aasuri took care of organizing rehearsals in different cities in the Bay Area. Kalyan, Kamesh, and Devender have performed in the Skit. Huge credit goes to multi-talented Kalyan for the skit. Karun, Jyotsna organized Arts, Chess, Essay, and Science Fair Competitions; we had good response for our debutante event science fair. Prasad Mangina led editing and putting together a colorful Souvenir. Chandra covered the photographs at the event. Ramesh Konda and Kalyan have worked with sponsors and stalls at the event. Finally, most importantly Veeru and Vijaya Aasuri provided tremendous support and encouragement to the entire event after event. Shiva, Shiva Deepthi, Ratna, Vasuki Deepthi, Aparna, Shruthi, Meghana, Sireesha, Shravanthi, Aditya, Pavitra, Ram Naveena, Sirisha, Veena, Narasimha Rao, Manoj, Anantha, Kalyani, Swathi, and others have contributed to make the event successful.

The program ended with a prize distribution to the winners from the Youth Talent Show competitions. Prizes were distributed by Deepu and Sravana Bhargavi.

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