Asian Media USA ©
Chicago IL: The Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago (FIA) hosted a Spectacular and Grand celebration, “Ae Mere Watan” to commemorate India’s 77th Independence Day – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav with patriotic fervor on 15th September 2023 at the most upcoming and sought after, state of the art banquet hall, The Matrix Club, at Naperville, IL.
The FIA led by Founder President & Chairman Sunil Shah, and Current President Vinita Gulabani, Past President Neil Khot, Founder and Past President Onkar Singh Sangha and the entire Board of Directors created an atmosphere of patriotism with an India centric program that enthralled the attending guests during the first half, followed by a musical extravaganza, the Sahir Ludhianvi Show, Directed by Milind Oak and facilitated by Madan Kulkarni and produced by Niche’ entertainment during the second half, post a sumptuous and delicious dinner.
The program started with a Bharat Natyam dance by Board member Bharatnatyam exponent and choreographer Pika Munshi. Then Sunil Shah & Vinita Gulabani were invited for a welcome address. Then Larry Herman, Mayor Oakbrook was invited to speak and present awards, along with Sunil & Vinita at the FIA Team Recognition Ceremony where all the hardworking FIA Team members received a Medal of Excellence and an Appreciation Certificate. The auspicious tradition of lamp lighting ceremony was also held by the FIA Leadership and the entire Board. along with Larry Herman and other dignitaries present. A beautiful rendition of the American and Indian National Anthem was presented by Samaira Bongale and Sahiba Sidhu respectively. Famous Chicago Singer Nipa Shah also sang the Ae Mere Pyare Watan song. There was also a beautiful Welcome Dance by Team Laya choreographed by Priyanka Parekh.
Chairman and Founder President Sunil Shah in his welcome speech, said, “Because of the unforeseen circumstances we had to celebrate Independence Day in September. But the fervor, love for motherland & tribute to martyrs is not limited to one day, month but it’s to be celebrated every day. “ He thanked the team members, Advisory Board members & sponsors for their ongoing support. And he welcomed & appreciated the dedication and commitment of President Vinita Gulabani.”
Dignitaries welcomed on the stage were Scott Wehrli, Mayor Naperville, followed by FIA Advisory Board: Aishwarya Sharma, Ajieet Singh, Anil Loomba, Asha Oraskar, Bhupendra Beri, Brij Sharma, Hitesh Bhatt, Jasbir Suga, Keerthi Reevori, Manish Gandhi, Nag Jaiswal, Pinky Thakkar, Pradeep Shukla, Suresh Bodiwala, Syed Hussaini, Vinoz Chanamolu, Yogi Bhardwaj. The FIA Past Presidents were also invited and acknowledged: Sunil Shah, Onkar Sanga, Rita Singh, Dhitu Bhagwakar, Mukesh Shah, Neil Khot, Ninad Daftari, Gurmeet Singh, Hitesh Gandhi. All the organizations, including the State and Regional organizations were also appreciated for their participation and support.
The prestigious FIA Community Leadership Awards were presented to: Vinita Gulabani, Chintan Patel, Pinkyben & Dinesh Bhai Thakkar, Santosh Kumar MAFS, Dr Asha Anil Oroskar with OROCHEM, American Dog Movie /Neil Khot, Rajeev Sharma, Dr Alamdar Badar, Jane Lee Remax, Venkat Talari, Eggholic Bhagyesh Patel & Lav Patel, Brij Sharma, Dr Bhupinder Beri, Sona Shah, Harry Mohan, Syed Hussaini, Ajeet Singh IABC, Manoj Mulki Rani Foods, Sanjay Vishnu Panjwani / All About Furniture, Global Eye – Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, DABUR / BADSHAH- Rickie Singh. FIA Appreciation awards were presented to FIA Team Members: Dhitu Bhagwakar, Mukesh Shah, Hemendra Shah. Media Appreciation Awards were presented to: Vandana Jhingan, Suresh Bodiwala, Harry Sidhu, Prachi Jaitly and Phani Krishna, Desi Talk & Hi India.
A medley of patriotic songs was presented by the talented FIA singers: Pratibha Jairath, Geetanaji Maru, Jitendra Bulsara, Swapnil Sahu, Ravi Tokala, who regaled the audience with their singing. The Grand Finale was truly Grand in every sense of the Word, Sahir – A Tribute to the legendary Bollywood poet & Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, a show directed by Milind Oak, narrated by Nachiket Devasthali and supported by the amazingly talented singers: Abhilasha Chellam, Rasika Ganoo and Dhawal Chandwadkar, along with their team of musicians. The event was well attended by about 550 plus people including the who’s who of the Indian Community. The singers par excellence and Sahir team took to the stage after the dinner and enthralled the audience until midnight for almost three hours belting out the most famous and melodious Sahir songs. Everyone present praised the talented artists and said that they would love to come back and attend again! The FIA would like to thank all the vendors who set up booths and provided the food samples.
The Emcees to the event were Richa Chand, Anu Malhotra, Pratibha Jairath, Suchitra Kukreja and Chandini Duvuri.
Photographs by: Asian Media USA
Press release by: Staff writer