Doha/Qatar: Hot favourites Naveen D'Souza and Vijaya D'Souza were crowned first 'Baila Jodi' at the Gulf Baila Naach finals at the sprawling Regency Halls, Doha, on Friday. Naveen was conferred with the title 'Gulf Baila King' while Vijaya D'Souza was conferred with the title 'Gulf Baila Queen'.
Naveen-Vijaya walked away with the crown and cash prize of Rs 1 lakh in a photo-finish quelling the challenge by formidable pair from Sultanate of Oman, Deepak Ranjan D'Souza and Glenda Castelino, who had to be satisfied with the first runners-up trophy and cash prize of Rs 50,000, while Nicksan D'Souza and Sharal D'Souza from UAE bagged the second runners-up and Rs 25,000 cash prize.
The much-anticipated evening commenced with a short introduction by compere Hera Pinto, who had specially been flown in from Mangaluru for the occasion.
After the arrival of the 6 finalist pairs - Baila Naach Anugraha D'Souza and Pramila Pinto from Bahrain, Harold Mathias and Reema Mathias from Saudi Arabia, Deepak Ranjan D'Souza and Glenda Castelino from Sultanate of Oman, Nicksan Vishal D'Souza and Sharal Carol D'Souza from UAE, Patrick Ancil Benito and Laveena Thelma Rodrigues from Kuwait and Naveen D'Souza and Vijaya D'Souza from host country Qatar - the stage was thrown open to famed band Charitra, Mangaluru's highly sought after desi rock live band.
Konkani youth rock star Melvyn Anthony set the tone for the evening, which was followed by mesmerising performances by female lead, fame playback singer Akshada Talaulikar and Konkani's showman Patrick Pereira.
It was followed by the Gulf Baila Naach finals, which was won by Naveen-Vijaya duo.
Chief guest of the evening P Kumaran, Indian Ambassador to Qatar, guests of honor J R Lobo, MLA Mangaluru South, Ronald Colaco, NRI entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader, Walter Nandalike, managing director of Daijiworld Media Private Limited were called upon to the stage along with the MCC president Prakash Noronha, vice-president Ronald Saldanha, MCC founding member and advisory Committee member Jerald D'Mello, secretary and Gulf Baila Naach convener Riana Pinto.
The stage programme began with the welcome speech and keynote address by MCC president Prakash Noronha after which MCC Silver Jubilee celebrations logo was unveiled by Ambassador P Kumaran.
'Daya Samrat' title to Ronald Colaco
Ronald Colaco was felicitated and conferred with the title of 'Daya Samrat' by MCC president and advisory Committee members. He was introduced to the audience by former president of MCC Richard D'Souza.
Acknowledging the honor, Ronald Colaco thanked MCC and wished them on completing 25 glorious years of existence. In his address, he highlighted the Mangalurean spirit and affectionate bond shared by various communities with each other in Mangaluru. 'Just about a decade and half ago, we were known for our peaceful and harmonious living. But of late, a few vicious forces of each community and religion have tarnished the image of our city. These fringe elements are small in number and could be found in every community. They need to be checked by the leaders and people of each community. Priority must be given for peaceful living. I specially call upon Mangalurean Christian community to take active part in politics and get involved in the society. We have already begun this process and J R Lobo getting elected as MLA shows that we have upright and able people in our community who can take plunge into politics, thereby giving a voice to concerns and fears,' he added.
Speaking on the occasion, J R Lobo called upon NRIs to return to Mangaluru instead of settling in Canada, US, Australia etc when they think of leaving gulf after years of hard work. "My motive of visiting you is to encourage you to think of relocating to Mangaluru. We have and will create job opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship and provide you with support from government so that you come back to your native and contribute in building our city," he said.