‘Very few can be successful in more than one field – especially in arts’ was the common statement made by several speakers at the Tribute to Gollapudi Maruthirao, who passed away on December 12, 2019. Shraddhanjali for this extremely talented artist and amazing person was organized by the Atlanta Chapter of North American Telugu Association (NATA) at ABC Party Hall, Suwanee, Georgia, USA on Saturday, December 14, 2019. Besides the NATA Atlanta Team, several art and literature lovers attended the event and spoke.
The event, attended by about 50 people, started with a brief note by Viju Chiluveru, a community volunteer, followed by flowers offered by all the people present there. Srinivasa Phani Dokka, a well-known writer, singer and short film maker in Atlanta and the US spoke and read out a eulogy for Gollapudi. Phani, in his emotional yet humorous message, shared various special moments he spent with the great personality when he visited Atlanta and when he made the film. Gollapudi was the first person to caution and yet encourage Phani to make his first short film, ‘Pallaki’ which got him the prestigious Nandi Award in India. Phani said, “There were moments when I felt I am with my ‘Paddanana and Peddamma’ (Paternal Uncle and Aunt). There was a lot to learn from this rare person not just about the arts and literature but about life in general. I lost an intimate friend and no one can ever fill the void”.
Jalajam Satyanarayana, a retired Professor of Political Science, Political Activist, Writer and Speaker currently visiting the US, connected himself with Gollapudi in more than one way. First he said both Gollapudi and himself were born in the same year, have the same hobbies, thought process, etc. He regrets for not having met him. A mention was made about one of the books written by Gollapudi.
Anjaiah Chowdary Lavu, the President-elect of Telugu Association of North America (TANA) recollects the very special moments spent with Gollapudi during his Atlanta visit to release the book ‘Amma Kadupu Challaga’. “Watching artists on the screen, reading the book written by the writer is one thing. Meeting them and spending even a few moments is entirely a precious feeling” he added.
Bala Indurti, Executive Vice President, NATA said he adores artists like Gollapudi not only for their extraordinary talent by the forthcomingness in mentoring the up and coming artists. Bala expressed the need for the Telugu Community in Atlanta to celebrate such souls and also have literary sessions periodically. This will immensely help the youth preserve our culture and heritage.
The other speakers were Narender Reddy, Prabhakar Rao Kadiyala, Kodandaram Reddy, Venkat Chennubhotla, Ram Durvasula, Goutham Goli, Ravi Ponangi and Sridevi Dadithota. All of them connected themselves to the departed soul by recollecting a book written by him, a scene from one of his movies or moments personally spent with him.
Sreenivas Kotlure (ED), Venkat Mondeddu (SC), Rajesh Tadikamalla (RVP), Bhupal Reddy Panga (RVP), Kodanda Devarapalli (RVP), Neelima Gaddamanugu (RVP) and Pushyami Lanka Gottipati (RC) were among those who attended the event.
The event was wound up with a Bhajan by Pramod Sagawar, a well-known singer in Atlanta.
Bala Indurti in his closing remarks thanked Venkat Mondeddu, Kodandaram Reddy, Rajesh Tadikamalla, Viju Chiluveru and Phani Dokka for the help in putting together the event. For updates and events by NATA visit http://natausa19.tk/
Report by Viju Chiluveru