South Indian Singers Chitra and Her Troupe Delight Fans and Admirers

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The touring singers gladly posed for pictures with the guests and the sponsors. Seated from left, singers Vijay Prakash, K. S. Chitra, S. P. Sailaja and Sri Krishna and standing behind them from left, Alpa Shah and Rajan Radhakrishnan of Madras Pavilion, Rajan’s wife Vijaya and concert organizer Rekha Karanam.

By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: Usually it’s the hit Hindi singers and Bollywood stars who come to the Bayou City where they have heard there is a large desi population just swooning for their appearance. Many of the lesser heralded performers get left by the wayside, with all the public’s attention – and money – diverted to the large shows.

So it was refreshing to see four of the singing sensations from South India get their due respect when they came to town this past weekend and performed at the Cullen Performance Hall at the University of Houston on Sunday, April 26. Gushed one of the major sponsors, Rajan Radhakrishnan, of the show which brought in 900 people, “It was just fabulous! The audience was just captivated by the singers and their backup musicians.” The backup musicians were all from Kerela and usually tour with Chitra.

Though the show started a bit late due to the massive diversion on the Gulf Freeway which had people following a twisting detour, the audience stayed till the last song and was dancing in the aisles and even onstage with the performers, especially Vijay Prakash when he belted out his popular hit “Jai Ho”. His performance stole the show because of his friendly interaction with the audience.

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Emcees for the reception held at Madras Pavilion in Sugar Land were Kinnera Koniki (left) and Rajan Radhakrishnan, co-owner of the restaurant.

But the audience had come to see K.S. Chitra who has a huge Tamil and Telegu fan base the world over, though she has also recorded in Hindi and other languages and sang many of her popular songs, receiving standing ovations. Along with S.P. Sailaja and rising star Sri Krishna, the foursome sang some golden Hindi oldies as well and kept their three and a half hour performance of songs mixed, to the delight of the audience. Emcees for the evening were none other than Houston’s own hidden artist and music lover, Rajan Radhakrishnan (more universally known by his first name), accompanied by Ramcharan.

Two nights earlier, after they got in from their New Jersey concert, the four singers were felicitated at a private reception for invited guests at Rajan’s restaurant, Madras Pavilion in Sugar Land. After introductions by Rekha Karanam, one of the organizers, Rajan emceed the entertainment portion of the event in Tamil, with Kinnera Koniki, doing her portion in Telegu. The reception featured songs by many young people who admiringly sang songs made famous by Chitra and the other singers, who were seated at a table in the front listening and tapping their fingers in tune. The four singers gladly posed for group pictures with the all the guests before dinner was served during a break midway through the evening.

The concert was brought to Houston by Rajan and Madras Pavilion as the Grand Sponsors and co-sponsored by Bharati Kalai Manram and Akshaya with support by the Telegu Cultural Association. Two days after the show, Rajan couldn’t contain his delight. “It was an amazing accomplishment,” he remarked. “Those who came were thoroughly entertained, and those who didn’t missed a truly great event.”