The birth centenary of musical genius Padmashri Shri Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao was celebrated by the Union Ministry of Culture in association with Kalaimamani Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala’s Kala Pradarshini.
Former Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the event on December 4, 2022 at The Music Academy, Chennai in the presence of Tamilnadu Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services Shri Mano Thangaraj.
In his address, Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao is without any doubt the musician of the century.
“I really enjoyed the show. I will never forget today’s event in my lifetime.
Many thanks to all the artistes who participated in this event. There is no doubt that Ghantasala is the musical genius of this century. Many generations have been mesmerized by his voice.
Everyday I wake up at 4.30 am and start my day by listening to Ghantasala and S P Balasubrahmanyam songs. They still lives in their music,” he said.
The former Vice President added, “The youth of India should study Ghantasala’s life which is very inspiring. Ghantasala was a singer blessed with sublime voice. Listening to his songs in this function took me to my childhood days. In our growing years his voice became a part of our consciousness. The magnetic appeal in his voice transends generations,” he added.”
He further said, “I congratulate Parvathi for taking up this initiative. I would like to compliment her for felicitating some great people during this function. Giving awards to achievers is to encourage the younger generation to achieve.”
Urging the importance of learning and speaking in one’s mother tongue, Shri Naidu said, “first mother tongue, next brother tongue, and then other tongue.”
“Why should we use a foreign language when India has many ancient and rich languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Bhojpuri, etc. We should first talk in our mother tongue then in other regional languages. A foreign language should be used only when it is needed. First speak in mother tongue and then if others don’t understand then speak in appropriate language,” he added.
Tamilnadu Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services Shri Mano Thangaraj said, “Chennai is known for giving lot of importance to art and culture. The centenary programme of the great Ghantasala being conducted here in Chennai is a proud moment for all of us. Ghantasala has contributed to Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Tulu, Hindi and so many languages through his songs. He had received various awards. Ghantasala had also composed music for more than 25 Tamil movies which is a remarkable feat.”
Padma Shri Kalaimamani Sudharani Raghupathy, Kalaimamani L R Eswari, Kalaimamani Nandini Ramani, Padma Shri Kalaimamani Avasarala Kanyakumari, Padma Shri National Film Awardee Thota Tharani, Padma Shri Kalaimamani Sivamani and Kalaimamani Thayanban were conferred with the Kala Pradarshini Ghantasala Puraskar during the event.
Apart from this a Commemoration Book was also launched at the event.
The event gave young artistes and child prodigies an opportunity to work with leading artistes who have won state and national level honours.
For the first time ever a tribute of a worldwide collaboration of 175 artistes covering all Indian Classical dance forms from across 15 countries was performed.
All the classical dances of India were part of this tribute. Forty national award-winning artistes and 60 state award-winning artistes took part in the programme.
Youth choir was performed by more than 100 children. Over 200 children were trained across various academic institutions and 100 were chosen for this unique display. For the first time ever an accapella for Ghantasala was also released.
A live grand finale of Indian dances was held with more than 100 artistes (6+ years to 60+ years) performing for a medley of Ghantasala led by Kalaimamani Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala of Kala Pradarshini.
A playback music tribute by Mani and Band with leading next generation, movie fame super singers like Sai Vignesh, Samanvitha, Spoorthi Rao, Gowtham Bharadwaj and Sushmitha Narasimhan was also held.
Ghantasala presented his last work as a masterpiece. For that he meticulously selected 100 verses from the Bhagavad Gita. Ghantasala’s Bhagavad Gita musical composition has crossed 22 million views on YouTube.
Kala Pradarshini, run by Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala has been working to promote and preserve India’s traditional art forms around the world since 1998 by organising various programmes around the globe. More than 10,000 artistes and countless supporting artistes, technicians and staff have benefited from these art programs.
Parvathi Ravi is an award-winning mentor, choreographer and teacher of Bharatanatyam. She has won several titles including Kalaimamani (1999), the Special Kalaimamani (2020), Guinness book of world records for the largest Bharatanatyam class and recognitions internationally as well.
With a successful career in the world of art for over four decades, Parvathi Ravi has seen success in various initiatives to promote traditional art among the youth through her organisation, Kala Pradarshini. Parvathi says – a country needs engineers, doctors, lawyers and accountants, but a nation needs artistes to be a bridge to its culture and roots to their motherland.