21st Anniversary Celebrations 26.6.2004

        Sydney Kannada Sangha, which is rapidly approaching its silver jubilee, celebrated its twenty first anniversary in a special way on Saturday, the 26th June 2004. The venue was the Ryde Civic Centre, Sydney. The Sangha’s programmes, whose style has changed over the last two years, are attracting audience in increasing numbers. This time, the programme was entitled “Gaana Vinoda Sangama”. The main features of the show were the performances by the famous singer-actor Mr. Raju Ananthaswamy and the well-known mimic and actor Mr. Dayanand.

        These two great artistes were scheduled to perform in Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. All of these venues come under the umbrella of Asia Pacific Kannada Koota. A Kannada Sangha has recently come into existence for the first time in Malaysia. In this connection, it is thrilling to record that a dream of Sydney Kannada Sangha, namely, the establishment of the Asia Pacific Kannada Koota, has now been realized.

        Dr. Nagamma Prakash of the Kannada Sangha Executive Committee had the responsibility of running the event. The programme started on time. Mr. Prakash Pillappa, Secretary, welcomed everyone to the function. Mrs. Pushpa Jagadish, the outstanding singer of Sydney, then invited Mr. Raju Ananthaswamy to the stage. She described emotionally how she knew her guru’s son since he was a boy of four years.

        This was followed by a short play, Alibaba and Forty Thieves, performed by local children and directed by Raju. A special feature of the show was that the director had coached the children acting, dance and dialogue in a training camp of just four days at only two hours per day. Several adults had also participated in this training camp in addition to children of six to fourteen years. The play was very much appreciated by the audience. The natural acting of the children was an eye-opener even for members of their own family! There is no doubt that Raju, who trained the children in just eight hours, is a versatile genius. Certificates were awarded to all the children who participated.

        The singing of Raju followed next. He was accompanied vocally by Mrs. Pushpa Jagadish and by Mr.  Samuel Samson on the tabla. Raju transported the audience to the world of music by his very first number: Jai Bharata Jananiya Tanujate (Hail! Daughter of Mother India). The style with which he sings, while adeptly playing the harmonium simultaneously, is truly spell-binding. When he sang G.P. Rajaratnam’sHenda, Hendati, Kannada PadagaL”, the audience joined him in the song. It was truly memorable. He ended the first half of his presentation with the song “KurigaLu saar KurigaLu”. The adults who had participated in Raju’s training camp then rendered the song ‘Madikeri Mel Manju’.

        Mr. Narayan Kanakapura then introduced the well-known Kannada mimic and actor Mr. Dayanand and invited him on to the stage. As soon as he took the microphone in hand, Dayanand quipped: “By not giving me the mike for three days, you have prevented me from speaking. Now I am not getting off the stage at all – I have three days of catching up to do!” This started the audience laughing – perhaps they are still laughing. Although some jokes were old, the way Dayanand tells them, often giving them new colour, is his speciality. No one can equal Dayanand in humorously interpreting local events and situations, ending in a climax that convulses the audience. For example: “Sydney Kannada Sangha will never become sick because most of its members are doctors; in fact, there are more doctors than others – there is no need to worry about even future diseases”. Also: “Do you know why Raju Ananathaswamy produced the play Alibaba and Forty Thieves? Because the first immigrants to Australia were all thieves”. As he presented joke after joke, without offending anybody, the audience had a feast of non-stop laughter. The audience, immersed in the inspired comedy of Dayanand, appeared to be totally unaware when it was time to break up for refreshments. When Dr. Nagamma Prakash came on stage to announce the interval, Dayanand tickled the spectators by refusing to give the mike to her and cracking a few more jokes instead. He also requested the adults to encourage the children to learn Kannada.

        After the break, Mr. Onkaraswamy Goppenalli, the president of Sydney Kannada Sangha described the activities of the Sangha. He thanked everyone who worked for the progress of the Sangha which is entering its 21st year. He also congratulated fellow Kannadiga, Dr. Siddalingeswara Orekondy, on his being elected as the president of the United Indian Associations. Mr. Narendra Nayak, of City Forex, one of the chief sponsors of the event, then presented mementos to Raju and to Dayanand.

        Mr. Dayanand then mesmerized the audience by his imitation of film stars and others. To imitate not just the voice but the style, the gait, the facial features and the expressions seems to come naturally to Dayanand. It would be impossible to list all the jokes that he cracked. When he finished, the 600-strong audience gave him a standing ovation bearing testimony to his rich talent.

        This was followed by singing by Mr. Raju Ananathaswamy. He invited Dayanand on stage and requested him to show how different actors enact to a particular song. When he sang ‘Joteyali jotejoteyali iruvenu heege’ and Mr. Dayanand demonstrated how the actors Dr. Raj, Vishnu, Ambarish, Srinath and Shankar Nag would act to that song, everyone, including the singer, could not control their laughter.

        Raju then invoked blessings from his father by singing ‘Banni harasiri thandeyae, aaseenaragiri mundeyae’ a song composed by Mr. Lakshminarayana Bhatta, in memory of Raju’s father Mysore Ananthaswamy. He then sang many songs requested by the audience. The song “Brahma ninge jodisteeni henda muttid kaina” sent several listeners to raptures. When he ended his recital with the song ‘Edey thumbi haadidenu’, the audience showed their deep appreciation by giving him also a standing ovation.

        Mr. Sam Gopinath, the vice president of the Sangha, then proposed a vote of thanks. He thanked everyone who participated and co-operated in the event. On behalf of the Sangha, he specially thanked the chief sponsors City Forex of Sydney and Devatha Builders, Bangalore.

        Mr. Dayanand recorded the entire programme for ETV. He also interviewed many members of the audience and recorded their views for broadcasting on ETV.

        The Sydney Kannadigas who were enthralled by the music of Raju and the comedy of Dayanand will no doubt be talking about them for a long time to come. Sydney Kannada Sangha hopes that other foreign Kannada associations also will invite Raju and Dayanand for their functions. The executive committee of the Sangha thanks all the sponsors and all the people who worked and co-operated for the event.

Honorary Dinner for Mr Raju Ananathaswamy and Mr. Dayanand From SKS

Kannada Report written by Mr Bellave Nagashayana
Translated to English by Prof. C.V. Madhusudana