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Korla Pandit: An ‘African American’ camouflaged his identity as an ‘Indian’ to break into music business

His real identity was exposed in July 2001, after his death, in an edition of Los Angeles Magazine as being John Roland Redd, an African American, not an Indian, born in St Louis, Missouri

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Korla Pandit Image: lolwot
  • Korla Pandit’s real identity is John Roland Redd, an African American
  • He played the piano and the organ- sometimes both at once
  • During his 900 performances he never spoke on camera

A very prominent Indian personality of 1950s in US, Korla Pandit, became one of the exotic icons. He came to fame when he appeared on a 15 minute show, called “Adventures in Music”, beamed across the US.

Displaying elegance through his jewelled turban and fashionable coat and tie, he played the piano and the organ—sometimes both at once—creating music that was both familiar and exotic. He was a man of mystery and his mesmerising gaze won him countless fans, both men and women.

Press releases from that time say that Pandit was born in New Delhi, India, the son of a Brahmin government worker and a French opera singer.  A magician on the piano, he studied music in England and later moved to the United States, where he mastered the organ at the University of Chicago. Except his talent, none of this was true.

Two years after he died in 1998, his real identity was exposed in July 2001 edition of Los Angeles Magazine as being John Roland Redd, an African American, not an Indian, born in St Louis, Missouri, who had transformed himself in the Indian persona to break into the music business. In 1939, his sister Frances Redd appeared in a film called Midnight Shadow, with a central character named Prince Alihabad. However, this revelation never affected his prestige.

This brief video explains why –

During his 900 performances he never spoke on camera, instead designed only to communicate with viewers through that endearing stare. With friends like Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, and Sabu, the Elephant Boy, he became one of the first TV stars ever. Eventually, he conceded his TV performances, because of an argument over the contract, to the young pianist Liberace. And the way he came to fame is one of those only-in-America tales where the audience and the performer are both invested in the illusion.

A documentary by John Turner and Eric Christiansen, “Korla” chronicles Pandit’s extraordinary life and career. The filmmakers grew up watching Korla on TV and listening to his music.

In an article published on What It Means to be America, Turner wrote that he was in touch with Pandit till his death.  “I first got to know Korla Pandit in 1990, while I was working at KGO TV in San Francisco. I was producing a series on Bay Area eccentrics and a colleague at the station mentioned that Pandit had a live show on KGO in the ’50s”, Turner wrote.

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His self-invented persona had a familiar way of greeting by saying ‘Namastey’ to everyone. By considering his clothings and way of greeting, it was impossible to concede the fact that he was not an Indian. Turner and Eric found that Pandit was indeed John Roland Redd, one of seven children born to Baptist pastor Ernest Redd and Doshia O’Nina Johnson. His love of music took hold in childhood and he played a mean boogie-woogie piano.

The filmmakers tracked one of Redd’s childhood friends in a desire to solve the mystery behind this exotic personality. They got to know that there wasn’t much mingling between the races, as Jim Crow laws were in effect. Blacks weren’t served at the soda fountain and if they wanted to buy clothes at the department store, they couldn’t even try them on.

Turner said, “Hollywood was also kind to shape shifters who’d invented their biographies. And Pandit and his wife understood that Americans knew very little of India outside of the magical rope-climbing swamis or men-of-mystery they saw in the movies. With their sets and music, they created an exotic escape in people’s living rooms. Female fans of Pandit have told us that he was their first teenage crush. He was an image that came through their TV screens that they could safely fantasize about.”

-by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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  • AJ Krish

    The whole Indian persona adopted by Redd was intended to get him into the spotlight. If it is so easy to fool the public for so many years, I really wonder whether a turban and a fancy coat is all that is required to be an Indian.It truly is amazing that he never spoke on television for all his 900 performances. Talk about his determination!

    • Pashchiema Bhatia

      May be that’s why he is known as the man of mystery. But this never affected his reputation even after his real identity came to light. His endearing eyes and music is all that is still remembered.

  • Pete

    Looked like Tony Curtis with a turban.

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COVID-19: Infections Spike in Russia, Brazil, India as Lockdown Eases

Countries have eased lockdowns worldwide in order to restart their economies

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Brazil
COVID-19 patients are treated inside a municipal field hospital Gilberto Novaes in Manaus, Brazil, that has become the world's third worst-hit county with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing, May 18, 2020. VOA
Coronavirus cases are spiking from India to South Africa and Mexico in a clear indication the pandemic is far from over, while Russia and Brazil now sit behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, according to COVID-19 Information & Resources.

The surges come as much of Asia, Europe and scores of U.S. states have been easing lockdowns to restart their economies as new infections wane. U.S. autoworkers, French teachers and Thai mall workers are among hundreds of thousands of employees back at work with new safety precautions.

Russia reported a steady rise in new infections Tuesday, and new hot spots have emerged across the nation of about 147 million. Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Authorities say over 2,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Russia, a figure some say is surely higher.

Some experts argue Russian authorities have been listing chronic illnesses as the cause of death for many who tested positive for the virus. Officials angrily deny manipulating statistics, saying Russia’s low death toll reflects early preventive measures and broad screening. Nearly 7.4 million tests have been conducted.

In Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, a virus hot spot, all burials now must be with closed coffins as a precaution, irrespective of the cause of death. Previously the measure applied only to COVID-19 deaths.

moscow
Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Pixabay

Russia’s caseload is second only to that of the U.S., which has seen 1.5 million infections and over 90,000 deaths. The country’s prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, resumed work Tuesday after a bout of coronavirus.

Cases are still rising across Africa, where all 54 nations have seen confirmed infections for a total of over 88,000 cases and 2,800 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa has the highest number of cases at over 16,400 and nearly 290 deaths. Infections have increased dramatically in Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province, which now accounts for 61% of South Africa’s total.

Latin America has seen more than 480,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 31,000 dead. The highest number of cases is in Brazil, which became the world’s third worst-hit county Monday with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing. Hospital officials reported that more than 85% of intensive care beds are occupied in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Some countries have seen encouraging signs reverse: Iran reported a steady drop in new infections through April, only to see them rise again in May.

But there is new hope after an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus yielded encouraging results, though in a small and extremely early test. Stocks rallied Monday on the news.

In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease and his own administration has warned it should be administered only in a hospital or research setting because of potentially fatal side effects.

face-mask brazil USA
In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease. Pixabay

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has declared that a partial economic shutdown imposed in late March helped slow the outbreak and prevented the nation’s health care system from being overwhelmed. A week ago, he ended the nationwide lockdown.

He has given Russia’s 85 regions a free hand to determine how they will ease their own lockdowns, but some have been struggling. The mostly Muslim southern province of Dagestan has reported a spike in infections that left its hospitals overflowing.

In India, coronavirus cases surged past 100,000, and infections are rising in the home states of migrant workers who fled cities and towns during a nationwide lockdown when they lost their jobs.
India is now seeing more than 4,000 new cases daily. States including West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Gujarat, the major contributors of India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. More than 3,100 with COVID-19 have died, according to India’s Health Ministry.

And in densely populated Bangladesh, where authorities reported a record number of new positive tests at over 1,600, thousands of cars were on the streets of the capital, Dhaka, despite a lockdown. Authorities have relaxed some rules and allowed shops to open ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

In Latin America, intensive care units in the Chilean capital of Santiago have been beyond 90% capacity for days, and officials warned that intensive care staff members are reaching their limits.

“They can’t keep going forever, no matter how many beds or ventilators there are,” said Claudio Castillo, a professor of public policy and health at the University of Santiago.

Infections are also increasing in poor areas of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, where authorities relaxed strict lockdown measures last week, allowing some businesses to open and children to walk outside on weekends.

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India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. Pixabay

Colombia struggled with an outbreak in Leticia, a city on the border with Brazil, where hospitals were overwhelmed and patients were being sent to commandeered hotels. Colombia has recorded about 16,300 confirmed cases and close to 600 dead.

In Europe and in the United States, which has seen 36 million Americans file for unemployment, economic concerns dominated the political landscape.

Unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69% in April, the government reported Tuesday. European car sales collapsed by an unprecedented 76% last month.

Also Read: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

An experimental vaccine by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. triggered hoped-for immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers. They were found to have antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Much bigger studies on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness are planned. Worldwide, about a dozen vaccine candidates are in or near the first stages of testing.

More than 4.8 million people worldwide have been infected and over 318,000 deaths have been recorded, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts believe is too low for several reasons. (VOA)

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Jaspal Singh: Bollywood’s Voice Lost in Transition

Jaspal Singh has by and large made a significant contribution in Bollywood through some of the most popular and melodious songs he sang

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Jaspal Singh
Jaspal Singh is an Indian singer who lent his voice to various Bollywood actors in the era 1970's and 1980's.

By Kashish Rai

The beauty of the Hindi film industry lies not only in it’s stories but also in the songs that get in tune with the mood of the narratives. These songs remain eternal in the minds of the audience for generations to come, but unfortunately the ones who give their melodious voice in these songs are not always remembered. Jaspal Singh is one of them.

Today we have brought in light one of those gem singers of bollywood~ Jaspal Singh, who has by and large made a significant contribution in Bollywood through some of the most popular and melodious songs he sang.

  • Who is Jaspal Singh?

 Jaspal Singh is an Indian singer who lent his voice to various Bollywood actors in the era 1970’s and 1980’s. He was born in Amritsar and during his school and college days, he realised his passion for singing. He used to participate in various music competitions throughout his school and college life. To further pursue his passion for singing he went to Mumbai where his sister used to stay.

Jaspal’s talent was first and foremost recognised by well known female singer Usha Khanna during the year 1968.

  • Jaspal’s Early Life Struggle

Jaspal Singh was provided a chance to sing at a professional level, however he did not get the recognition which he deserved in his life. He struggled to make a career in singing and would often visit Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai time and again.

Jaspal was always an ardent fan of Mohammed Rafi and grew up listening to his songs and singing Rafi’s songs whenever he got the opportunity. As he was attracted to only film songs he did not undergo any training in classical music.

Due to peer pressure, he started practicing law and started living in Mumbai. In spite of the hardships he was facing, he never gave up and then, a well known Music Composer, Ravindra Jain gave him the big break for a song in the movie called ‘Geet Gata Chal’ of 1975. After this song, he became a prominent name. His voice was unique and was unlike any other and he sang for some hit bollywood movies like ‘Nadiya ke paar’, ‘Ankhiyon ke jharokhon se’,’Sawan ko aane do’, etc.

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  • Jaspal’s Singing Career in Bollywood Industry

In 1975 as the opening credits of the newly released film “Geet Gaata Chal” rolled out and the cinema hall resonated with the fresh, melodious, energetic and high-pitched vocals of Jaspal Singh singing the title song- ‘Geet gaata chal o saathi gungunata chal…’

Every viewer was mesmerized by this totally new, original, youthful and brilliant voice which was both pleasing and heart-warming. This was the magic his voice had.

For the audience who did not see the film at that time, hearing the song was enough to transport them to the villages and immediately entreating up images of the person dancing amidst the lush green fields, flowing rivers, chirping birds and pleasant winds. Such was the effect the song had on the listeners of that time that it became one of the most iconic songs of the decade.

The film “Nadiya Ke Paar”  produced by Tarachand Bharjatya under his banner “Rajshri Productions” was to be the launch vehicle for introducing child artists Sachin and Sarika as adult stars in a romantic story. As the existing singers of the time were all associated with different popular heroes, the new male singer Jaspal Singh was chosen to do a  playback for Sachin. Not only did the film became a big hit, all the songs of the film also became super-hits and music lovers wholeheartedly accepted Jaspal Singh as the new sensational voice.

Nadiya Ke Paar
A still from the movie “Nadiya Ke Paar”. Pinterest

According to an interview, Ravindra Jain was apprehensive about giving Jaspal the title song which according to him was his best composition for the film but associate producer Rajkumar Bharjatya was in favour of taking the risk. Whatever the concerns may have been, still the fact remains that finally Jaspal Singh did get the green signal to record all the songs and the rest as they say is history.

Jaspal Singh was very thrilled to get such a golden opportunity. Those days it was not very easy for a new singer to make inroads into the industry especially without any father figure to launch him!

Luckily for him the film established him in a big way. He proved his versatility in the film by singing fun songs, romantic song and even ‘bhajans’.

Though, popular perception is that Geet Gaata Chal was Jaspal Singh’s debut film, technically he had made his debut earlier in 1968 in the film Bandish. It was music director Usha Khanna who decided to give him a break. She gave him a solo number which was picturized on a comedian in the film. As the film did not create any ripples, the song also did not get much attention and Jaspal Singh’s debut song went virtually unnoticed.

After this he also sang a duet with Mahendra Kapoor for the film Anjaan Hai Koi, 1969, but again that song also did not receive any great response. Once again Usha Khanna was the music director and the song was picturized on character artistes. In the coming years, he started singing for many other films in Bollywood.

  • How did Jaspal “Lost in Transition?”

Slowly it was becoming evident that as Jaspal Singh’s voice had become the voice of actor Sachin, he was not going to be used for any of the top actors of that period. Also keeping in consideration the type of films he was singing for, he did not get an opportunity to sing a variety of songs in his career. Eventually, actor Sachin’s career also did not take off in a very big way as a hero and in the absence of any top music director willing to try his voice, Jaspal’s career went towards a downward trend.

Rajshree Production
He is thankful to the Bharjatyas of Rajshri Productions and music director Ravindra Jain who placed so much faith in him and gave him a break in the industry. Pinterest

But today, he has no complaints whatsoever with his career. He feels that whatever he accomplished was due to divine blessing and his good fortune. He is thankful to the Bharjatyas of Rajshri Productions and music director Ravindra Jain who placed so much faith in him and gave him a break in the industry. His stint in Bollywood got him many stage shows all over India and abroad as well which gave him an opportunity to outshine him.

ALSO READ: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

Indeed this winsome vocalist’s career was short-lived but whatever he sang was melodious and from the heart. Today not many people may pause to recall this underrated singer but for those who grew up in the seventies, his songs remain etched in their memories and listening to them still gives them inexplicable pleasure.

 

 

 

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Choi Siwon Net Worth 2020

Get to know more about Korean pop singer, songwriter, actor, and model, Choi Siwon

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Choi Siwan
Find out more about pop star Choi Siwan. Pinterest

Choi Siwon is a Korean pop singer, songwriter, actor, and model. He was born in Seoul, and his age is 34 years as of today. He was born on April 7, 1986, and his birth sign is Aries. We will also be going to share his net Worth, Salary, Cars, Lifestyle, Income, and other details. So, let’s see how rich he is in 2020.

Early Life

Choi graduated from Apgy Jeong High School in 2006 and then from the Inha University in 2012. He is also a well-known protestant Christian and wants to become a missionary after his career. That is why; he often shares Bible quotes on his Twitter accounts. He is very famous in China as he once appeared on Chinese postage stamps.

Net Worth of Choi Siwon

The net worth of Choi Siwon, according to Forbes, Wikipedia, Forbes, and other sources, is about $36 Million at the age of 34. Most of this money he has earned as a professional pop singer. Well, it is difficult to estimate the actual net worth of Choi as he comes from a wealthy family. According to the sources, the net worth of his family is over $500 Million. Furthermore, his family is the owner of the Hyundai department store chain. The father of Choi is the CEO of Boryung Medicine. Of course, he belongs to a very wealthy family in South Korea. He started his career as a pop singer with Super Junior. However, he is also a model and actor.

Choi Siwan
The net worth of Korean pop singer, songwriter, actor, and model, Choi Siwan is unbelievable. Pinterest

He also has the owner of the first South Korean singer to hit 5 million followers on Twitter. Even, he can speak multiple languages, including English, Korean, and Mandarin. He is not only famous in South Korea but as well in China too. That is why; he has been seen in various advertisements in Korea, China, and Thailand. The reason is that he has loyal followers on Twitter from these countries. The majority of his income comes from the endorsement from China. He has also worked as an actor in various Korean and Chinese films and TV shows.

Biography

He started his career as a famous member of the boy group “Super Junior.” The SM Entertainment group was the first to discover him at the age of sixteen. He had also performed with the boy band Super Junior-M. Choi Siwon is on the top of the pop singers list in South Korea. You can say that he is currently the most famous pop singer in the country. He is also rank top in the list of famous people with the age of 34 years.

Also Read: First Virtual Concert Launched with Help Of Artist Support Platform

Relationship

Choi is one of those celebs who does want to make their personal life public. There is a time in everyone’s life when they make new relationships. It is usual for people to make assumptions when they see two personalities together. However, it is not the case every time as they can be friends too. As we mentioned earlier, so there is not much information to share about his relationship.

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