Talent on Parade at HD&D’s ‘Talaash – Ek Hunar Ki Khoj’ Contest

Grand Finale award winner Ashley Fernandes

KATY, TX: After an absence of almost six years due to COVID and other delays, HD&D Events, an entertainment group based in Houston, once again brought its Unique Versatile Talent Competition – “Talaash – Ek Hunar Ki Khoj (Season 2)” to the stage with the grand finale held at the Palacio Maria Event Center on Saturday, April 20.

The event was the brainchild of Amir Dodhiya who produced, directed and executed it encouraged by the success of Season 1 in 2018. Born and raised in Panaji (formerly Panjim), Goa, Dodhiya was a child artist captivated by the entertainment business but was pressured by his father – who died of stomach cancer when Dodhiya was a teenager – to pursue a professional career. But he never let his passion for show business die, even as he found a successful niche in the insurance and financial industry and is one of the top producers in the field.

1st runner up Ambily Antony

Auditions for Season 2 began as early as March 16. From among the 100 contestants who auditioned, the top 28 acts were selected to compete in the finals held on April 20. The competition was tough. The finalists portrayed their unique talents with versatile acts like classical and contemporary dancing, singing, acting, gymnastics, martial arts, musicians, fruit carving, painting, sketching and many more. They came from all across the country – Dallas, Pheonix, Pittsburgh – and not just South Asians but from all ethnicities, including African American, Hispanic and Chinese. One of the finalists – Oscar Sun, is also a 34th direct descendant of the Shaolin monks.

The panel of judges included the actress Pooja Batra, classical music maestro Pandit Suman Ghosh, Mrs. Universe USA Rutvi Chauhan, actor/producer/director Bud Patel, entrepreneur Parvez Jasani and Austin-based singer Nagavalli Medicharla. The 2nd runner up was bagged by Manyu Dubbyreddy, a teenager whose energetic dancing moves rocked the judges, followed by the 1st runner up Ambily Antony, a nurse by profession, who performed an emotional mono act. The “Grand Finale Winner” of Season 2 was won by Ashley Fernandes, who dazzled with a brilliant design carved on a watermelon in nearly 3 mins.

2nd runner up Manyu Dubbyreddy

Winners of the other award categories were “The Youngest Talent Award” won by 5 year-old, Shreya Chandwani, the youngest contestant of Season 2; “The Spirit Award” and scholarship won by Abhinav Venkataraman, another teenager and “The Most Unique Talent Award”, won by IIav’s Martial Art Group who performed acts of the ancient “Silambam” martial arts. “The Lifetime Achievement Award” was won by Mrs. Chandrika Khatri, a cancer survivor and also the oldest contestant of the Season who beautifully excelled in her dance performance during the audition round.

The emcees of the show were Puja Agarwal, Himi Haridas and Amir Dodhiya himself, who kept the audience and the judges entertained throughout the event. The success of Talaash – Ek Hunar ki Khoj has definitely become the talk of the town and the entire nation with its overwhelming appreciation and response from the audiences.