Mumbai, Mar 25 (IANS): The Sangit Kala Kendra (SKK), founded by the late industrialist Aditya Vikram Birla, celebrated 50 years of patronising and promoting the fine arts with a glittering event in which leading names from Bollywood, business and other celebs participated, the organisers said here on Saturday.
The organisation hosts the annual prestigious 'Aditya Birla Kalaskhikar Award' and the 'Aditya Birla Kalakiran Award' in memory of its founder, said SKK president Rajashree A. Birla.
To mark the occasion, a grand function was held late on Friday in which eminent personalities like actresses Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi, playback singers Kavita Krishnamurthy, Nitin Mukesh and ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas were specially honoured along with many others.
Bollywood actor Anupam Kher narrated the SKK's long journey through 'Kaleidoscope' - an audio-visual presentation - at the NSCI Complex that thrilled the audience and gave insights into the life of its founder.
Going down memory lane on her late husband, Rajashree Birla said that right from the start, besides business, Aditya V. Birla - who succumbed to cancer in 1995 - was attracted towards the performing arts.
"It became a part of his mental make-up, of his richly-textured life, he essayed a variety of characters... He had a fascination for the stage as it was full of joie de vivre... where he played as actor, performer and singer," said Rajashree.
Since Aditya V. Birla could feel it running through his veins, he started dreaming of setting up an institution that would showcase talent of various hues among different genres which ultimately led to the birth of the SKK 50 years ago, she said.
The momentous occasion had Maharashtra Additional Director-General of Police Vishwas Nangare-Patil, actor Ranbir Kapoor interacting with Neerja Birla, a performance by Sonu Nigam in the presence of Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, Aryaman Birla and entire Birla clan.
Rajashree Birla recalled with pride how many a new or little-known or budding performer jumpstarted his/her life as an artist-actor through the SKK, 57 youngsters were conferred the SKKs awards over the years, and some of the biggest legends from the world of arts and music including the late Lata Mangeshkar were involved closely with the organisation.