The weekend witnessed an event that showcased the rich cultural and literary heritage of the Telugu population while providing wholesome Texas style hospitality and entertainment. GRB played host to the first ever convention of the NATA, a non-profit organization serving the needs of the Telugu speaking population of the North America. The event was a culmination of hundreds of hours of planning, dedication and hard work of the Board of directors, Committee members and hundreds of volunteers. The event was a grand success with over 6000 in attendance with representation from over 11 countries. The event was telecasted live in four different channels, telecasted over the satellite and internet. Artists & performers from India and across the US showcased their talent and entertained the audience with a series of spellbinding programs over the weekend. The programs spilled over to the early hours providing the attendees with some wonderful moments that they are bound to cherish for a long time. The event was a testimony to NATA’s intent to play a significant role in serving the needs of the Telugu speaking population of US. NATA, under the able leadership of Mr. AVN Reddy, ensured that no stone was left unturned to make this a grand event. The convention was under the stewardship of Mr. Jithender Reddy who as the convener and along with Mr. Vintha Janardhan Reddy, Coordinator, assembled a team to make sure that the event was planned and executed to perfection. It would not be an understatement to say that the event exceeded the expectations of one and all. Some of the major highlights of the show were:
1. A grand banquet at Hilton Americas – A five Diamond rated hotel – for over 1600 invitees who traveled from all over US and some from India. Honorable Consul General of India Mr. Sanjeev Arora extended his support and wishes to NATA on its first convention.
2. Felicitation of some eminent Telugus, Mrs. Vinjamuri Anasuya garu (Lifetime and literature), Dr. M.S Reddy & Mrs. Shama Reddy, Mr. Rama Muthyala, Dr.Samba Reddy, Dr. Arun. The banquet included a titillating musical concert by noted singers Geeta Madhuri and Ramu.
3. A traditional and religious ceremony marked the beginning of the convention. The ceremony was followed by a vedic chanting by 51 kids from Houston and a spellbinding opening sequence written by the eminent poet Mr. Bhuvana Chandra. It was beautifully choreographed by the dance schools in Houston under the aegis of Mrs. Rathna Kumari and Mr. Vedantam Raghava.
4. U.S Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, City of Sugarland Council member Mr. Harish Jajoo and Mr. Mohan Matta from Office of the Consul General of India congratulated and wished the NATA members on the first convention and extended their support and solidarity for the organization.
5. The convention was spread over a million square foot of the George R Brown convention hall in downtown Houston.
6. Two stages with a combined seating capacity of over 10,000 played host to an assortment of cultural and literary events and competitions over two days with participation from all over the US. Singing and dance competitions were held to a raucous crowd and a special segment to commemorate the 80 years of Telugu cinema music received great patronage.
7. Literary events included “Avadhanam” by the legendary Guru Sahasravadhani Shri Kadimilla Venkata Vara Prasad. Shri, Narala Rama Reddy, Prof. Puduri Jagadeeshwaran, Shri Dhoolipala Mahadevamani, Smt. Janani Krishna, Shri Vaddepalli Krishna,Shri Akkiraju, Shri Vanguri Chitten Raj und Shri Satyadev Chilukuri acted as the pruchchakas and made it a fun filled and a highly nostalgic segment. This literary section of the NATA event was conducted under the aegis of noted literary scion Mr. Vanguri Chitten Raju. Harikatha and Burrakatha performances were very well received by the audience and AmukthaMalyada by Mr. K.V. Satyanarayana was a total unique experience and were pleasantly surprised.
8. Key note address by noted Cine Poet and Writer Mr. Jonnavithula, a discussion on current literary standards of Telugu cinema with the likes of cine poet Mr. Suddala Ahok Teja and a series of interactive sessions and speeches from noted personalities in literary circuit like Mr. Narala Rama Reddy, Mr.Mahadevamani Dhoolipala, Mr. Vaddepalli Krishna and actor, writer, poet and singer Mr. Akkiraju Sundara Rama Krishna regaled the audience with their experiences.
9. CME, NRI and Alumni committees conducted seminars to packed halls with highly informative and engaging discussions and presentations.
10. Interactive media sessions organized by the NATA secretary Mr. Pradeep Samala and Media Chair Mr. Prasad Kalva received maximum coverage. News scan by Venkata Krishna on TV5 and Encounter with Ravi Prakash on TV9 were very engaging and had the maximum interaction with the attendees.
11. An engaging seminar by Nobel Prize nominee Mr. M.S. Reddy, as a part of the business seminar committee received a standing ovation from the packed audience.
12. The highlight performance of the singing event was the performance of 6 year old Pravasthi, winner of a TV reality singing show. Her rendition of popular number from the latest movies left the audience spell bound and screaming for more.
13. NATA used this platform to recognize and felicitate Dr. Prem Sagar Reddy and Dr. Pailla Malla Reddy for their support and generosity that made this convention a reality. They received standing ovation from the 6000 guests for their contribution to the promotion of Telugu language and service to the society.
14. NATA felicitated legendary actors Mr. Nandamuri Balakrishna and Mr. Rajendra Prasad for their outstanding contribution to the Telugu Cinema over the last 25 years. Mr. Nandamuri BalaKrishna gave a wonderful speech in chaste Telugu to an enraptured audience. He thanked the NATA team for their efforts to work for the promotion of our culture in US and expressed his gratitude for receiving the lifetime achievement award from them. Several other performers like Ms. Parvati Melton, Ms. Vimala Raman , Ms. Madhu Shalini also performed to some famous songs and enthralled the audience.
15. Felicitation to the talented cricketer and winner of Arjuna Award and Padmasri title from Indian government Mr. VVS Laxman for his outstanding contribution to the Indian Cricket received thunderous applause.
16. Special Recognition and felicitation of National Spelling Bee winner Snigdha Nandipati received standing ovation.
17. Mimicry performance by Jeethendra, impressions of other actors by Abhinay Krishan and the wonderful song and dance performance by Singdha left the audience wanting more. A series of comedy skits by popular comedy actors like Dhanraj, Krishnaveni, Tirupathi Prakash, Thagubothu Ramesh and Venu made the evening an unforgettable one.
18. All the guests were treated to sumptuous food on both days by Mayuri Indian Restaurant of Houston, TX. The food section headed by Co-Convener Mr. Harinath Medi ensured that no effort was spared in providing wholesome and tasty food to the attendees. HE worked tirelessly with his committee and with Mr. Dayakar Reddy of Mayuri Indian restaurant in each and every aspect. Everyone raved about the delicious food and quipped that this was undoubtedly one of the finest food arrangements in the history of Telugu conventions in US. Guests were also treated to a nice traditional breakfast on both the days served by Pavani Indian Cuisine and Taj Indian Restaurant of Houston. In the evening, Everyone was served with a choice of hot tea, cold butter milk and snacks.
19. Inauguration of YSR Charity foundation by DR. Prem Sagar Reddy was another key event.
20. Youth activities were a major success with activities ranging from indoor games, volleyball, cricket, Movie theater for kids, Microsoft Lounge with game consoles, Singles’ mixer and casino night were a few of the exciting things that the youth committee provided at the Convention.
21. The event ended with a grand musical night by noted music directors Mr.Mani Sharma, Salluri Koteshwa Rao (KOTI) and Mr. Vandemataram Srinivas who for the first time in the history of the US Telugu conventions were performing on the same stage. Their troupe of young and talented singers, Karunya, Hemachanda, Geeta Madhuri, Shravan Bhargavi, Malavika, Ramu and Madhupriya, gave a spirited and rousing performance that left half the auditorium on their feet dancing to the popular tunes of the Telugu cinema, IT was a grand musical nite and fitting finale to a wonderful convention.
22. The show ended on a high note with the NATA team guaranteeing that the benchmark set by them will only be bettered by their next one in Atlanta in 2014.