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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Who knew that it would be the memory of Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF) Founder Murali Krishnamurthy singing that would stay in my heart after the Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Farhan Akhtar 2018 concert?

“Jyot se jyot jagate chalo, prem ki ganga bahaatay chalo.” (Light another’s lamp with your own, let the river of love flow.)

During the event, Murali Krishnamurthy presented the progress of the organization to the event attendees. He thanked them for their support and announced that three hospitals in India have now become self-sufficient and two more are close to becoming self-sufficient. He also talked about extending capacity in India by partnering with highly qualified organizations to reach the remotest places in India. Together, SEF will be performing more than 200,000 free surgeries this year.

“It is always a pleasure to associate with SEF. Every time we meet people working for the cause, we feel so insignificant. They give us so much inspiration. Along with music, if we can be a part of this cause, we are looking at a bigger picture of what music can do.” Shankar Mahadevan spoke passionately about the association of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy with SEF.

Credit: Rupali Gupta Photography for SEF

The SEL trio promised that the show will be a high-energy show and they did not disappoint. Their excitement to perform together for a noble cause was evident on their faces. Everything was bigger, grander, filled with energy, and a sight to behold as the crowds danced their hearts out. The concert was an eclectic mix of soul-stirring romantic songs and foot-tapping dance numbers. Songs from the movie Dil Chahta Hai were the clear favorites, but the poetry recital by Farhan Akhtar set the mood. His occasional narration of anecdotes from his life had the audience in splits. With every song, the atmosphere got better, brighter, and happier.

“San Jose! My engineering friends!” Shankar Mahadevan called out after commenting on the inverse relationship between the volume of the cheers and the distance from the stage. He was hinting at his own education as an engineer, before his love for music claimed him. The crowd roared as the call and response proceeded. Shankar Mahadevan was his effervescent self and brought his humorous side to the stage. The crowd was putty in his hands, as his musical virtuosity blazed through.

Loy played a beautiful rendition of the song ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’. Ehsaan mesmerized with the guitar. A packed house came alive when Shankar sang the song ‘It’s the Time to Disco’ and ‘Galla Goodiyan’. Farhan Akhtar’s singing was not bad, but clearly he was sharing the limelight with musical giants of a much higher caliber. Curtains came down on the show with the trio performing with Farhan Akhtar and the audience came alive, even at the tail end of the concert. The atmosphere became celebratory when Shankar Mahadevan mentioned that the day marked the trio’s 22-year anniversary and thanked fans worldwide for supporting them and being instrumental in their success.

A few patrons shared their amazing experience at the SEF organized event. Madhvi Pratt, Nigel Pratt and Jay Visvanathan from Los Altos were there “for the wonderful music and to support Sankara Eye Foundation.”

Madhvi Pratt, Nigel Pratt and Jay Visvanathan at the concert.

Shamik Mehta was there to see Farhan Akhtar, whose films, he felt, were superb at depicting deep friendships. Raj Vakil from Santa Clara was hoping to hear ‘Gallan Gudia.’ Farhan Akhtar fan Neha Desai had eyes only for her ‘Farru,’ official eye candy of the show.

Volunteers Lata Malviya, Hema Rambia and Matha Tallam were handing out brochures with information about SEF.

SEF Volunteers

The last strain as I walked away from the San Jose State University event center was ‘Ay vatan,’ a nostalgic number from Raazi. Swaying concert attendees mouthed the words, singing along with their friends as the concert wound down and the performers took a bow.


Established in the Bay Area, SEF is a nonprofit organization that has been working for the past 20 years for the cause of eradicating curable blindness in India. Driven by this truly inspirational vision, SEF currently has 9 super specialty hospitals and is working on three new hospitals – in Hyderabad, Indore, and Mumbai. The tireless efforts by the SEF team since inception has enabled over 1.75 million people to receive the gift of vision, absolutely free of cost. The organization has maintained the top rating from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal health and commitment to accountability and transparency. SEF will host a Dandia extravaganza this year featuring Falguni Pathak.

Article cover photo credit: Rupali Gupta Photography for SEF