The three-day NATS convention in New Jersey concluded on a disappointing note, with the final day marred by controversy and dissatisfaction among organizers, sponsors, and local talent. Many attributed the negative turn of events to the arrogance and ego of music director Thaman, who faced severe criticism for his behavior.
Several past and present organizers of NATS conventions expressed their disappointment, specifically pointing fingers at Thaman. An ex-NATS representative stated that Thaman lacked empathy, was irresponsible, and took the event and its participants for granted. They criticized him for causing delays and disruptions by conducting sound checks during prime hours, which annoyed the chief guests and hindered other scheduled performances.
Parents of the participating children voiced their concerns, stating that their children, who had prepared for months to showcase their talent in traditional Indian dances, were left disheartened. They felt that Thaman’s show, which had a Western style lacking Telugu cultural elements, took away valuable performance time from the local talent. The children endured a six-hour wait with makeup, only to leave with tears in their eyes due to the lack of opportunity to perform.
According to rumors, Thaman refused to provide a 10-minute break in his show to pay tribute to NTR during the centenary event, causing further anger among the organizers. The organizers eventually took matters into their own hands and briefly interrupted Thaman’s show to pay tribute to NTR on his centenary birthday, which fell on May 28th. Allegedly, Thaman displayed arrogance by insisting on not dedicating more than 10 minutes to the NTR Centenary event.
The prolonged occupation of the stage by Thaman without allowing other programs to proceed left everyone frustrated. His friends and team members reportedly made noise during speeches by Suhasini Nandamuri and YVS Chowdary, implying that the tribute should end promptly to resume Thaman’s show. These incidents further reinforced the perception that Thaman posed challenges and headaches for any organizer involved.
An organizer revealed that despite paying a significant amount to Thaman, he showed his true selfish and sadistic nature during the event. They expressed regret over the decision to hire him and suggested that the money would have been better used for charitable purposes.
Upon reaching out to various individuals associated with the event, it became evident that Thaman faced widespread criticism, with offensive language being used to describe his conduct. Ironically, despite causing disruptions and poor sound quality, Thaman’s show failed to impress, leaving many questioning the purpose of his extensive sound checks.
Those present at the event felt that while the televised version might appear successful, only those who experienced the behind- the-scenes atmosphere in the auditorium truly understood the disappointment and disarray caused. The organizers acknowledged their failure in properly honoring the sponsors and appealed to all Telugu associations in the USA to distance themselves from Thaman, urging them to prioritize the emotions of NTR fans and the parents of local talent.
The incident also raised questions about the leadership of NATS and their ability to handle the egotistical behavior of an Indian music director, particularly when it endangered the emotions and experiences of the participants and supporters.