Glamour, glitz and entertainment were in abundance at the Gulf Andhra Musical Awards (Gama) 2013 at Zabeel Park, Dubai, on Friday. The UAE has seen several music awards, IIFA (for Bollywood) and SIIMA (South Indian stars) over the years, but this is the first event in this part of the world to recognise talent from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to noted film director and artist Bapu.
There was a galaxy of stars from the Telugu film industry. Treading the red carpet were actors Roja, Charmi, Poonam Bajwa, Divyavani, Kamna Jethmalani, Hema, Srikanth, Saikumar; directors K Rghavendra Rao, Boyapati Srinu and Raghu Kunche.
Music composers Devisriprasad, RP Patnaik, Madhavapeddi Suresh and singers Manu, Indian Idol finalist Karunya, Sunitha, Anup Rubens, Kalpana and Geetha Madhuri and above all SP Balasubrahmanyam attended the show to make it a memorable event.
The evening kicked off with a peppy song by Karunya and followed by a dance numbers by the petite Kamna Jethmalani. As the chill started descending on the venue Sakkubai Charmi made the proceeding warmer by her Garam garam chai item number. Poonam Bajwa added oomph with another dance medley dance.
A surprise came in the singer Geeta Madhuri teaming up with her fiance Nandu with a Darling O my darling… dance number.
Sunitha, Kalpana, and SP Balasubrahmanyam paid a tribute to Bapu with songs from his films including Srirama Rajyam, Toorpu Velle Railu and Goranta Deepam
Comedian Ali and star anchor Suma kept the audience occupied with their humour-lace compering.
Devisri Prasad walked away with maximum number of awards including Best Music Director. Tollywood star won the Best Surprise Celebrity Singer award for Atharintiki Daredi. Mickey J Meyer won the Best Title Song Award for Siri Malle Vakitlo Sitamma Chettu; Geetha Madhuri won Best Female Singer award for the Darling… song form the film Mirchi; Ramajogayya Sastry won the Best Lyricist Award for Atharintiki Daredi.
Sattiraju Lakshminarayana, popularly known as Bapu, was born on December 15, 1933, at Narasapuram in Andhra Pradesh to Sattiraju Venugapala Rao and Suryakantham.
The Gama 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award is another feather in the cap of Padma Shri Bapu. He has won the prestigious National Film awards, Filmfare awards and several Nandi Awards from the Andhra Pradesh state government. The artist from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has a unique style with an economy of strokes, vivid colours and black and white as well in depicting the beauty of women, episodes from Indian epics and festivals. His creation of the child cartoon character Budugu has won the hearts of the young and old alike over the decades. He evolved a Telugu script, which is popular as Bapu Lipi or font that has the same simplicity of his art.
Bapu, together with renowned writer Mullapudi Venkataramana, made many films in Telugu starting with Saaksi in 1967, making the Bapu-Raman a household name among the Telugu people. His themes are realistic and most of his movies have a female protagonist.
So far, he has directed 37 films in Telugu including Andala Ramudu, Mutyala Muggu, Pelli Pustakam, Seeta Kalyanam, Vamsa Vruksham, Mister Pellam. His last film starring Balakrishna and Nayanthara was Sri Rama Rajyam in 2011.
He entered Bollywood with his first Gindi film Hum Paanch a remake of Manavuri Pandavulu in 1980, and followed it with Bezubaan, Who Saat Din, Mohabbat, Mera Dharam, Diljala, Pyaari Behna, Prem Pratigyaa and Paramatma). He has also directed Neeti Devan Mayagurian in Tamil.