The 18+ contestants with the judges, emcees, live band members, and senior FOG member, Kamal Nair (seated, third from right)
The 18+ contestants with the judges, emcees, live band members, and senior FOG member, Kamal Nair (seated, third from right)
Alka Bhatnagar (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Daisy Chu
Alka Bhatnagar (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Daisy Chu

Lakshmi Iyer
India Post News Service

FOG Idol 2022, the singing competition of Festival of Globe (FOG), wrapped up with a grand finale on Sunday, August 7 in Saraswati Hall at Fremont Hindu Temple. Sakshi TV has been the official and exclusive TV partner for this event.FOG Media Chair, Ms. Ritu Maheshwari, was instrumental in bringing about the partnership as well as arranging the logistics for the event.

The organizing committee included Ms. Maheshwari, Mrs. Alka Bhatnagar – FOG Music Chair, Mr. DhawalMajmudar – FOG Music Director, Mr. Sanjay Saxena, Ms. Niharika Srivastav, Ms. Alpana Sharma, and Ms. Lakshmi Iyer (this correspondent). The latter three were the emcees.

This was the first time that FOG Idol finals were held accompanied by live music. One of the special guest musicians was Mr. Dipesh Desai on the keyboard, who is an experienced musician and composer. His fellow musicians for this program were Mr. Majmudar (keyboard), Mr. Saxena and Mr. Bishwajeet Paul each taking turns to play the guitar and Cajon.

Alpana Sharma (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Assemblymember Kansen Chu
Alpana Sharma (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Assemblymember Kansen Chu

The event was inaugurated with an invocation to Lord Ganesha by DhawalMajmudar and to Goddess Sharada by Alka Bhatnagar. The youngest age group of 5-9 years opened the program with the first contestant, Arya Kedilaya, who gave an extremely melodious rendition of “KaaheTarsaayeJiyara…” from the 1964 film, “Chitralekha”.

Maushmi Mahima Mahesh followed with an energetic rendition of “ChandiJaisaRang Hai Tera…”, which is incidentally a quiet ‘ghazal’ by Pankaj Udhas.Her sister, Manasi Mahima Mahesh gavean expressive performance of the soulful “Tu Aata Hai Seene Mein…” (“M. S. Dhoni – The Untold Story”).

Smit Shimpi was the epitome of cuteness with his singing of the children’s rhyme, “Nani Teri Morni…”. ShivanshiLaatainfused the atmosphere with patriotism as she sang the heartrending “Ay Mere Watan Ke Logon…” a song first beautifully sung by the late legend, Lata Mangeshkar in the aftermath of the Sino-Indian war of 1962 thatis said to have brought the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to tears.

Akshaj Chavancontinued the inspiration of the evening with a spirited performance of “Hum HongeKaamyaab…”. Inara Kumarinvoked the loving bond of brother and sister with the sweet melody, “Phoolan Ka Taaron Ka…” from “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”.

Ira Priyanka Joshiconfidently sang the sassy golden oldie, “Babuji Dheere Chalna…” (“Aar Paar”), and Saanvi Naraindid a beautiful rendition of the devotional, “Paayoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Paayo…”

Dhawal Majmudar (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Assemblymember Kansen Chu
Dhawal Majmudar (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Assemblymember Kansen Chu

The category closed on a high note with Yashika Singh crooning, “DilHoonHoon Kare…”, a Lata Mangeshkar song from “Rudaali”. The 10-18 age group opened with Anika Prasad giving a bravura performance of “AaoHuzoor…”, an intoxicated song sung by the great Asha Bhonsle in “Kismat” (1968) and Rakshitha V followed with another golden oldie, “AapkiNazron Mein…” (“Anpadh”), hitting all the high notes perfectly.

Sangeet Barkataki filled the hall with his deep voice and expert rendition of the classical, “GarajGaraj…” from the recent Amazon Prime series, “Bandish Bandits”, while ShreyankSutar lightened up the mood with his melodious singing of “Raabta…” a romantic number from the film, “Agent Vinod”.

SireeshPedapenki gave everyone a taste of South Indian cinema with his performance of the semi-classical Carnatic-based Telugu song, “AnaganaAkasamUndi…” (“NuvveKavali”).

AarzuMuhibshowed surprising vocal maturity with her rendition of the famousblack-and-white number, “AayieMeherbaan…”from “Howrah Bridge”(1958).

SvaraShimpigave a good performance of the ‘bhajan’, “DuniyaChaleNaa Sriram Ke Bina…” while her fellow contestant, SwanikaHebbur confidently sang the high notes of “NachdiPhiraan…” from the movie, “Secret Superstar”.

Niharika Srivastav (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from senior FOG member, Shikha Trikha
Niharika Srivastav (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from senior FOG member, Shikha Trikha

Saumya took the evening’s musical journey around a sharp turn with her powerful singing of Taylor Swift’s hit, “Wildest Dreams”. Shaina Salvi brought the category to a fitting close with her melodious rendition of the romantic pop number, “Qaafiraana…” from “Kedarnath”. Chetan Wakade started off the 18+ category, expertly maneuvering the ‘alaaps’ and ‘taal’ (beat) changes of the classical “Madhuban Mein Radhika Naache Re…”.Divyendu Senalso took the classical route with his wonderful rendition of “GarajGaraj…” (Bandish Bandits).

Dhruv Sharma strummed his guitar while melodiously crooning, “Dil Ko TumsePyaar Hua…”(“RehnahaiTereDil Mein”). Harsh Vyas set everyone’s feet tapping to the evergreen “Mere Sapnon Ki Rani…”originally rendered by the legendary Kishore Kumar in the superhit, “Aradhana”, fully immersed in his performance.

KhushaliDhomse did a great job of performing the intricate “Mere Rang Do Laal…”(“Bajirao Mastani”). Jolly Mishra regaled everyone with a beautiful rendition of “Savar Loon…” (“Lootera”). Khushboo Desai, took the stage by storm with the seductive number that Asha Bhonsle sang in the film, “Don” – “Yeh MeraDilPyaar Ka Deewaana…”. Next up was Madhava Rao Konthalapalli with his superb singing of another evergreen hit, “PukaartaChalaHoon Main…” from “Mere Sanam” (1965). Due to a technical glitch, he was given the opportunity to repeat his song.

Ritu Maheshwari (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Assemblymember Kansen Chu
Ritu Maheshwari (right) receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from Assemblymember Kansen Chu

Nimisha Bharti did extremely well with “Dil Hai Chhota Sa…” (“Roja”). Mahesh Mehta closed out the finals with a fitting, bold performance of the patriotic, “Teri Mitti…” (“Kesari”). California State Assembly member Mr. Kansen Chu and wife Mrs. Daisy Chu were the special guests of honor at the event. They presented certificates of appreciation to the organizing team along with other senior FOG members.

The event drew to a resounding close with performances from the judges and emcee Alpana. Results are awaited to be announced soon.