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A Fundraiser Short on Details, But Heavy on Fun!

The performers for the event were singer Salil Bhadekar (center) accompanied by his wife Aishwarya and table player Harman. Photos: Nik Nikam

The performers for the event were singer Salil Bhadekar (center) accompanied by his wife Aishwarya and table player Harman.
Photos: Nik Nikam

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: If fundraisers are supposed to fit the personality of the group being benefited, then the one held for Open Forum radio show certainly did just that. Ever since the trio behind the show – Subodh Bhuchar, Jagat Kamdar and Dinkar Chedda – came up with the idea of a fundraiser to support their weekly two-hour Saturday program, they wanted it to reflect their “open” and purposely loosely knit approach to matters.

Or at least it’s crafted to be that way! When they came onstage to take their opening bows, it was Bhuchar the rapid talking gregarious one who did much of the emceeing for the night, Kamdar the thinker gave a few insightful words and Chedda the quiet but organized one said it all with his mischievous smile . The rest of the night was as easy flowing as their approach has been over their 18 years on the radio to many of the issues that they get into on the program each week.

“This is really more of a “fun”raiser,” said Bhuchar as he kicked of the event at the Zoroastrian Center on West Airport Blvd near Beltway 8 on Friday night, March 30. “We are the oldest, and longest running Indian talk show in the country,” he added. He showered the show’s supporters with praise and acknowledged Suresh of Kirti Jewelers, a music aficionado, for his handling the sound system.

The jolly trio of Open Forum radio show (from left) Subodh Bhuchar, Jagat Kamdar and Dinkar Chedda ham it up outside the reception hall

The jolly trio of Open Forum radio show (from left) Subodh Bhuchar, Jagat Kamdar and Dinkar Chedda ham it up outside the reception hall

Entitled “Khaan Gaan & Pan” (Eat Sing & Chew Pan), the fundraiser was a mixer for many of the show’s supporter who mingled in the large lobby of the Center over drinks and appetizers. Tickets to a raffle were also sold at the entrance table and Bhuchar revealed that all the proceeds which totaled $500 would be given to the children’s rights charity CRY, which will hold its Houston gala Friday, May 4 at Sweetwater Country Club.

Contrary to other such events where the guests are kept hostage for dinner until after the pleas for money have been made, Sonal Bhuchar, Subodh’s wife and main organizer, opened up the evening to dinner before the musical program was to start.

That took care of the “Khaan” part of the evening. Sa Re Ga Ma Marathi winner in 2000 and then in Hindi in 2003, singer Salil Bhadekar (center) accompanied by his wife Aishwarya and table player Harman (a student of the late Dexter Raghunanan from Trinidad) serenaded the audience with a medley of songs from the past and present. Throughout the night, Bhuchar kept the audience and the performers engaged in a banter about the music and their personal tid bits. Midway, the third portion of the evening “Pan” were served at each table.

Also in the audience, Bhuchar called out to Sri Preston Kulkarni who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the May 22 primary runoff for District 22 which comprises mostly of Ft Bend County. Also in the audience was Vilas Nayak, a young self-taught artist from the small town of Ujire east of Mangalore in Karnataka, who paints with both hands. His ability to rapid paint upside down and then flip the paining to reveal its true form has caught the eye of the TV show “India’s got Talent” and his painting of NBA star Tim Duncan in 4 minutes during the Spurs halftime in 2016 was auctioned for $25,000. Nayak is currently on a short tour of the US.

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