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Music shows are bringing Indians together

August 21, 2007
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Trust music to unite Indians from different parts of India and provide opportunities for nation wide fame…something that those living in far flung areas could only have dreamt of. Be it Indian idol or other reality music shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, these shows are attracting people in droves. So keen are they to participate that contestants from strife-torn Kashmir ignored threats by militants to audition for Indian Idol earlier this year! The story of Qazi Touqeer who became a finalist of Fame Gurukul (a popular TV show based on the UK Fame Academy) was a motivating factor.

From the point of India….well the rest of India is discovering the hidden talents of people from these hitherto neglected states. The north east for example (the states here are often called the seven sisters) have a long tradition of music and now we all know it. A good number of contestants for these shows are from the North-East of India.

This year one of the Indian Idol contestants Amit Paul is from Shillong (Meghalaya) and the Saregama girl Nirupama Dey is from Agartala (Tripura) and both are doing well…Amit is in the top 5 and some say might even become the next Indian Idol! Prashant Tamang from Darjeeling is also in the top 5. Why, even Joy Chakraborty from Assam, who was voted out of the SaReGaMaPa show (this show has higher ratings than Indian Idol) is expecting a great future because of he made a mark on the show. As he said in an interview, “the people of the north-east have a natural sense of music.” He plays about 25 instruments!

Whether its the music of Assam, or of Manipur or that of Arunachal Pradesh, the fact is that these states have a long tradition of folk music. Its great to see talented youngsters from these states getting a chance to show their mettle.

What about the voting?
There has been a fair amount of criticism that votes for contestants are given on regional lines. Well, this happens all over India so everyone is equal in that sense! All I can say is that I have heard these contestants sing (I admit I have not watched both shows regularly) and I think all the finalists sing well. I don’t know who will become the next Idol but I do know that the best singer will certainly reach the top three…

Sometimes a good singer can be eliminated earlier and this need not be just because of regional voting. I have seen American Idol and even South African Idol and good singers can get voted out if they offend the viewers in some way…or if voters are not impressed by their personality and looks. This does not happen too often, but it can happen. And well, as Indian Idol is not about playback singing I guess thats natural. Also, girls tend to get a raw deal from voters…I don’t know whether this is because more girls vote and vote for boys, or because of a male preference overall.

Interestingly, we even have an Indian Chinese in the list of finalists. A dentist called Meiyang Chang from Dhanbad, who is ethnically Chinese but born and brought up in India. Being comfortable with Hindi he sings in a natural accent and some say he will give tough competition to Amit. I think its great that our country can accept someone who is not ethnically Indian and put him up there in the top 5. There is no way he could have made such a mark on his own. His reaching the top certainly speaks of the fact that regional voting is not that important when it comes to voting. And also proves that reality music shows are great at providing equal opportunity for all.

(Amit’s photo is from Sify and Chang’s from indiaforums)

Update 13th Sep: There are two finalists left and both are from the north-east. Prashant, a West Bengal cop from Sikkim and Amit Paul.

Update: 24th Sep: Prashant Tamang has won the Indian Idol. All the best to him.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. B Chopra permalink
    August 21, 2007 10:15 am

    Hey, Have you heard about Qazi Touqeer recently? I personally voted him so many times, now I’m wondering what’s going on in his singing career? What about other finalist of Fun-Gurukul too?

    Yes these shows are very effective. In Recent SaReGaMaPa show (during Independence day special) – The controversy with 3 Pak finalist.. Has put all 3 of them into danger zone!!!

    I like Voice of India on Star Plus too; I think it’s damn tough competition. By that I can imagine future competition in Singing career Vs. monopoly in singing in olden days.. he he.

  2. August 21, 2007 10:26 am

    He apparently is becoming an actor. This is what is given in this Indiafm article It’s a film by Nazim Rizvi (Chori Chori Chupke Chupke fame) called “Take off” – an action thriller directed by Kaushal-Moses.

  3. B Chopra permalink
    August 21, 2007 10:37 am

    He always wanted to act and perform live. Thanks for update Nita.

  4. August 21, 2007 10:54 am

    I admit I haven’t watched these shows, but its great that the unity in diversity principle works when you remove politicians out of the equation!

    You can always bet on two things to bring Indians together – music and cricket!

  5. Nil permalink
    August 21, 2007 7:17 pm

    When politics, relgious, communal and regional tensions are set aside in a situation like this, India truly can demonstrate its “Unity in Diversity”. It’s good to see something positive about people from North East in the media too.

    Are there any South Indian singers competing on these shows?

  6. August 21, 2007 7:38 pm

    Nil, there were people from all parts of India but now only 5 are left on Indian Idol. They are Prashant (from Bengal), Chang, Emon (from Bengal), Ankita (UP) and Amit. I really think the East is supreme where musical talent is concerned!

    Mahendra…yeah cricket is another great leveller…the only problem is that in cricket they feel compelled to choose players from every region in the team! Otherwise the states get very upset. In a music show, there’s nothing like that. It’s vote based totally. But yes, initially I am sure they try to choose (when its up the judges) from each region.

  7. B Chopra permalink
    August 21, 2007 7:40 pm

    Yes.. Sumitra Iyer – she is Tamilian and presently leading in the contest – Star Voice of India.. and I think She is doing best.

    Sumitra, an IT professional comes from a conventional South Indian family who believe in a secure life where one has a plush job. She faced a little resistance from her family since she decided to follow her dreams of becoming a singer. This is her first and last chance to prove her mettle.

  8. August 21, 2007 9:54 pm

    I personally feel, there are factors other than singing that is being considered… When u consider singing… Never i have seen the best singer win the shows…. Its not even just about the performance… I doubt the credibility of these shows, because there is a lot of drama being portrayed in these shows these days… And i dont know how much of it is real and i even have doubts its all preplanned. And coming to Music talent…. There are better singers down South as well, But even though Hindi is a national language… They mighn’t be proficient in Hindi Film Music…. Lets see the case of Karunya… He was considered to have had great chance… But its lack of voting down south that brought him down… I think its not right for people to vote on regional Basis…. I suggest… Have a Panel consisting of people proficient in Music, Acting and whatever… And ask them to vote every week… This might produce better judgement rather than people voting….

  9. B Chopra permalink
    August 22, 2007 11:21 am


    This blog item is also featured on WordPress Global dashboard Today… Great!

  10. August 22, 2007 12:23 pm

    Thanks for letting me know Bharat. 🙂
    But more than that, I still cannot get over the fact that Kiran Bedi herself came to my post on the police to people ratio and left a comment!! Did you read that? I would willingly sacrifice any number of hits for something like this.

  11. B Chopra permalink
    August 22, 2007 12:34 pm

    Yeah I have read Kiran Bedi’s comment.. That has proved onething to me: Great people reach other Great people very easily.. no matter where they are or what they are.

    Maa’m.. You have always wrote things very accurate and every post is very interesting too. Really it’s Great contribution.. Please keep it up.

    (Please note: My english is not so good.. so I may wrongly interpret my real things.. Always consider editing)

  12. August 22, 2007 12:41 pm

    Thank you Bharat for those extraordinary words. I am overwhelmed. And if you ask me I think its one’s heart that makes one great…and I think you are a great guy.

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