Thousands of Marathi speaking families travelled from all over New Jersey to attend the two-day Marathi Vishwa 40th anniversary celebration extravaganza in East Brunswick, NJ on April 6th and 7th.
Founded by long term New Jersey residents Chandrakant and Shashikala Yande, the Marathi Vishwa event was attended by current members who witnessed stunning choreographed Indian dancing, amazing classical and religious songs sung by top notch talent from Pune and popular Marathi dramas performed by award-winning film and stage actors, according to a press release.
It was also the Marathi New Year Gudi Padwa which happened to fall on the first day of the celebration giving the atmosphere an even more celebratory feeling.
Marigold decorated walkways and a golden Lord Ganapati welcomed in guests by women dressed in traditional nauvari sarees who handed out goodie bags to members as they entered the auditorium after being sprinkled with traditional rose water.
Noted Marathi celebrities who graced the special occasion included famed classical singer Anand Bhate, Marathi film and stage superstar Prashant Damle and classical Indian award-winning dancer and actress, Archana Joglekar who along with her group from Archana Arts, performed several dances including a very popular Marathi Lavni that commanded a standing ovation.
“I am very happy and excited about Marathi Vishwa turning 40” said an emotional Mrs. Yande. “I can’t believe something so small that I named has become a strong and huge organization in NJ and I am especially honored that Governor Phil Murphy send his best wishes to us as part of the celebration.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy sent a special personal message to Marathi Vishwa founders and to the organization in honor of the event.
Murphy wrote: “Over the last four decades, Marathi Vishwa of New Jersey has provided various educational, cultural and health and wellness programs dedicated to enriching and developing strong communities. The organization focuses on leadership and innovation while bringing South Asian communities together. I commend Marathi Vishwa of New Jersey and all of those associated for their positive impacts and outstanding contribution. I am also pleased to congratulate this year’s honorees: Mr and Mrs. Chandrakant and Shashikala Yande. As founders and first board members of Marathi Vishwa of New Jersey, they collectively have established a wonderful resource for the South Asian community. I join with their friends, families and colleagues in applauding them for their commitment to serving the organization.”
Renowned Marathi stage and film actor Prashant Damle, along with Kavita Lad, entertained the audiences with his famous play Eka Lagnachi Pudhchi Ghosta that was performed to a packed house and turned out to be an audience favorite. The drama focuses on a married couple whose marriage has lost its luster and romance and think of ways to bring it back in this very appealing and funny comedy. The cast received a standing ovation after the their performance
“My association with Marathi Vishwa goes back 20 years when I first came to perform for the organization in NJ,” said Damle. “It’s nice to see so many familiar faces in the audience today particularly those that have been with the organization for so long.” stated the award-winning versatile actor, producer and TV host who hails from Pune.
Melodious and prominent award-winning classical singer Anand Bhate, thrilled the packed audience with his soothing voice with songs including Chinamaya Sakal Hridaya from the famous Marathi movie “Balgandharava”. Bhate took the audience members down memory lane by relating his fond memories of learning classical singing from the legendary maestro, the late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. After every song, audience members shouted, “Once more! Once more!” and refused to allow the singer to leave the stage.
Bollywood and Marathi film actress and award-winning dancer Archana Joglekar mesmerized the guests with beautifully choreographed solo Marathi dances based on Lord Vittal and Krishna. Her troupe also performed special dances including a traditional Marathi Lavani, a combination of song and dance. Between each performances, the dancer gave a personal commentary on her journey into the world of dancing and films and spoke about the influential people she met along the way who had shaped and inspired her career choices.
The Yande couple said the celebration was a wonderful trip down the memory lane which also included a special video detailing the history and conception of Marathi Vishwa; how it started, and how much the organization has accomplished and grown since its conception 40 years ago.
“The video is a reflection of all the hard work from the many volunteers and executive members that have relentless devoted themselves in making Marathi Vishwa what it is today. I am so proud of all of them,” said Chandrakant Yande.
The celebrations continue as Marathi Vishwa is planning a massive Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in September in keeping the momentum going strong.