Music shows are bringing Indians together
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: 24th Sep: Prashant Tamang has won the Indian Idol. All the best to him.