DALLAS, TX: Over 700 members of Dallas Telugu Community gathered at the Marriott Hotel at Legacy in Plano, TX on Saturday, September 8 to celebrate the 89th birthday of legendary South Indian movie star “Padma Vibhushan” & “Dada Saheb Phalke” awardee Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao under the aegis of Telugu Association of North America (TANA).
Dr. ANR was warmly welcomed at DFW Airport by several local prominent Telugu community members and was brought in a convoy led by motor-bike riding security entering the premises in an exquisitely decorated horse-drawn buggy.
The “Evergreen Hero” with over 255 movies to his credit over an 80-year span entered the venue with Vedic priests chanting Vedic hymns and mellifluous “Nadaswaram” music.
Dr. ANR joined Harish Parvataneni, the new Consul General of India, Houston who opened the ANR photo exhibition with 89 exhibits. Invited guests included CM Ramesh (Member of Parliament), Dr. Subbarao Anumolu, Chowdhary Yalamanchili and Dr. Jayaram Naidu.
Prasad Thotakura, TANA President, introduced the Chief Guest Dr. ANR. An inaugural dance was performed by the Suri sisters to a welcome song specially penned by music director Veenapani followed by an enthralling “ring” (hoola-hoop) dance by an upcoming dancer Ambica Javvadi. Dr. CR Rao and Dr. Srinivas A. Reddy followed with their personal experiences with Dr. ANR recalling their long-time association.
A DVD presentation on Movie Life & Times of Dr. ANR, produced exclusively by SV Rama Rao, a well-known movie writer from Hyderabad, was shown to the audience followed by a brief speech by its producer.
A large contingent of TANA team consisting of current and past office bearers, trustees, nominated committee chairpersons and other dignitaries joined on the stage to felicitate Dr. ANR with TANA Lifetime Achievement Award along with a beautifully designed memento to the glory of all ANR fans around the world.
A commemorative poem written by Veenapani, extolling the virtues of Dr. ANR in symbolic 89 verses in Telugu was read out. Students from Natyanjali Dance Academy danced to this specially composed music. Following this, Dr. ANR released the logo, TANA title song and theme for the upcoming 19th TANA Conference in Dallas (May 24-26, 2013) focusing on Language, Service, Tradition and Progress.
For the first time in the world, TANA in collaboration with Golden line Corporation (Atlanta, Georgia) released a limited edition (symbolic 89 pieces) commemorative coin bearing the image of young Dr. ANR on one side and TANA logo on the reverse with extensive sleeve notes on Dr. ANR’s background and TANA. Dr. ANR’s birthday was celebrated in a new way by lighting up 89 candles instead of blowing candles and toasting payasam instead of cutting a birthday cake.
Dr. ANR in his acceptance speech recognized several great personalities who have contributed to his long and cherished life and experiences while thanking all the people who helped make this event such a grand success.
Dr. ANR said “During the times when artistes who act in dramas and movies were considered ineligible for any awards or felicitations, I was born in a remote village. Over the last eighty years I have paid my best and won many an award in my acting career against stiff competition from highly experienced and talented actors across India.”
“While all those awards and accolades gave me a great sense of achievement, today’s showering of all this immense love and outpouring of affection by all of you I deem it as the ultimate gift to me for which I will be always grateful to you. What else can I offer to all of you – my dear fans for conferring this great honor and birthday gift other than to be born again in next life as an actor and bring happiness to you all to pay back!”
The guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner by Our Place restaurant with traditional Andhra delicacies, as the hit songs from his movies were played to the hearts’ content of the attendees.
During this current USA trip, Dr. ANR recognized a total of 89 NRIs for their contributions from various walks of life which include several academicians, social workers, entrepreneurs and business persons across USA. He has delivered such recognitions to 49 people during the prior three meeting venues: New York/New Jersey; Detroit and St. Louis. The final 40 recipients chosen from rest of the states including Texas, Oklahoma, California etc. were presented with the citations during this event.
The program concluded with Ram Yalamanchili thanking Sponsors and all the supporters.
Iftekhar Shareef honored
Among the distinguished Telugu NRIs honored by the Telugu Association of North America [TANA] at this event, Iftekhar Shareef from Chicago was notably honored with a golden-laced fabric shawl and sandalwood garland placed upon him by Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao in recognition of his contribution to the Indian Diaspora and for his steadfast benefactorship to the Telugu communities in the United States. Keerthi Kumar Ravoori of Chicago joined Iftekhar Shareef in honoring the doyen actor.
In a statement, Iftekhar said “receiving honor from a legendary actor Akkenni Nageswara Rao is a very humbling experience as I have grown up admiring him as one of the reigning actor watching some of his movies and beautiful songs over television and radio.”
He recalled with great fondness meeting and interacting with Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Hyderabad and revealed the depth of the human spirit and nobility he embodies. He thanked Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao for honoring him among the many Telugu luminaries.