Friday, January 2, 2009

Indian Idol recap: Episode 35

Aaj hamare Chang ki Shaadi hain

Chang was wearing a sehra today. Hussain told us that his co-host Chang is desperate to get married and Koi bhi ladki chalegi. But Chang corrected him and said that the girl has to have a heart of gold. Last night was the Shaadi special show. The girls were wearing beautiful traditional attires, but the hosts wore black suits. But why? Hussain told us that they were protesting the public’s decision to eliminate girls. That is quite thoughtful. Next, we had the hottest of all contestants Rajdeep Chatterjee going at Abhijit Sawant’s house to wish him for Christmas. Abhijit confessed that he liked Rajdeep’s voice the most. An overwhelmed Rajdeep thanked his favorite singer and told him that Abhijit is his inspiration. Abhijit promised that he will cheer for Rajdeep in the finals!

Rajdeep is a mama’s boy

The hot favorite Rajdeep sang Maine jise abhi abhi dekha hain from Kal Ho Na Ho. All the judges showed him green light, but Javed said that it was not his best performance. Even Kailash was not looking pleased. Sonali said she just wants to encourage him and Anu praised his efforts and said ‘you’re the find of Indian Idol.’ In the end, when the hosts asked Rajdeep’s mother about his marriage, she said that it will be completely Rajdeep’s choice. Rajdeep sang a Bengali sang for his mother and went back to the pavilion a happy man. Bhanu sang the number Kya kiya re sanam. Javed showed him the green light and praised him. but Kailash felt this was not his best performance. Anu didn’t show him any light, and asked him to work harder. There was a surprise waiting for Bhanu as the hosts got his parents on the stage. An emotional Bhanu cried buckets of tears as he introduced his parents to the audience. We should start calling him the ‘melodramatic Bhanu.’

Mohit aur Torsha : Kya jodi hain

Mohit Lalwani sang Yeh jawani, hain diwani. Javed liked his performance, so did Kailash. Sonali found him rendition smooth and fantastic. But Anu didn’t show him green or red light and told him that he was off tune at some places. Next, it was Torsha singing the romantic song Jeevan saathi hum. Torsha didn’t hear a lot of praises as Javed felt she needs to scale up. Anu shouted that there was no sur, or expression. Sonali said politely that she needs to scale up.

Prasenjit ko koi mil gaya

Prasenjit, the super talent of Indian Idol sang Koi Mil Gaya.i All the judges showed him the green light. Sonali crooned Ala re ala Prosenjit Ala. Kailash said that he likes his singing a lot. Anu said that he has proved that he is a singer today. Kapil Thapa sang ‘you’re my love.’ Javed showed him the red light. Kailash pointed out that he was off tune while Anu said that the song needed a lot of attitude, which was missing in his performance. Koi baat naheen, fauji bhai knows how to battle it out!

Saurabhi Ki Barat nikal padi

Sourabhee looked beautiful in a glittering maroon sari. She sang the typical shaadi number Sabki Baratein aai. The judges were spellbound. Anu came up the stage and declared that she was the new ‘Femal Indian Idol.’ Javed found her rendition sweet. Kailash praised her sincerity. Kuldeep chose the song Badan pe sitare lapete huye. He got mixed reaction from the judges as Anu showed him the red light and said that his ‘throw of voice’ was not romantic enough.

Bhavya spreads chandni with her melodious voice

Bhavya was dressed in a pink lehenga just like Sridevi in Chandni. She sang mere haathon mein nau-nau chudiyan hain. Javed showed her the red light, when Anu protested it. Anu said that she was good, an angry Javed said that the khara sur was missing. Even Sonali and Kailash agreed with Anu this time. It was almost going to be the battle of the judges, when in the end Javed agreed with Anu and wished Bhavya a great future. Remo sang aisa pehli baar hua hain, and as usually failed to impress the judges.


Annu and Javed clash again and this time over the verdict for Bhavya

Friday, December 26, 2008

Girls are making girls lose: Shini

Simple and sweet bahus maybe the rage on Indian soap operas, but the same cannot be said about their counterparts on reality shows. Shini, the third girl to be eliminated in quick succession from Indian Idol, feels her bahu image worked against her. “Maybe because the people identified with me as a married woman, they were not very keen to vote for me,” she said. “Also, as a bahu, there was a limit to what I could do on stage and what I could wear.”

We caught up with Shini soon after her elimination to find out what she thought about the voting system, about Sonali’s tears and about Annu Malek’s surprise offer.

Are you angry that a girl has been eliminated yet again on Indian Idol?

It was another shocking result round. I’m very upset that the girls are not getting the support they deserve. I know Indians appreciate music and they can differentiate between a good singer and a bad, but I feel something somewhere is missing and as a result the girls are losing out.

First it was Ananya, now it’s me. After all the trials and tribulations I had to suffer, after all the hard work that I put in, I feel everything is bekaar now. My dreams were very big. I wanted to be crowned Indian Idol. I mean, it is the first time that a married girl has reached so far in any reality show, and coupled with my strong performances, I thought there was all likelihood of me getting to the top. And then this happened.

Do you have anything to say about the voting system?

The girls are making us girls lose. All the female viewers are only voting for the boys. They are not bothered about any of us on the show, though we might be singing better than the boys. According to me, all the remaining girls have the talent to make it to the Top 5. But the girls out there will not help the contestants get there.

But something good did come out of it all. Annu Malek promised he will work with you in the future.

Yes, it is a huge opportunity for me. Not everyone who has been eliminated has been offered such a great opportunity like I have been. Annuji has promised me that he will work with me soon and that he will get Kailashji to sing with me on a song that will be written by Javedji. That is like the wildest of my wildest dreams coming true. Maybe I would not have got such a great offer even if I had won the title. So, in a way, I think I am lucky, too.

Do you think your spat with Bhanu could have led to this elimination

I don’t know. I don’t think so. That was a very difficult time for me. I feel now that I should not have reacted to whatever he said because once I spoke up about it, it spiralled out of my control.

Initially, everyone was on my side. Then, suddenly, they all began siding with Bhanu and I, who had said the truth, was isolated. I felt like I had accidentally come onto a fighting show and not a singing show. After all the tension, I was so upset that I could not concentrate on anything, not even my singing. I couldn’t prepare myself to give my best as I always did. And I regret that a lot.

Your grandmother being sick must have also added to your tension. How is she feeling now?

Yes, it was a very strenuous time for me. Not only did I have to put up with the furore over Bhanu, but I was also very worried about my grandmother. I even went to Gwalior to check up on her.

She is feeling much better now and my entire family is rooting for me. I am blessed to have the best wishes of my family and my in laws.

Sonali Bendre was very upset about your elimination.

She has been rooting for girls right from the start. She really wanted a girl to become the Indian Idol. And she was especially very fond of me. Maybe it’s because she is married herself, but she understood me and my predicament the best.

In fact, I was not so upset over my being eliminated as I was at seeing how hurt and upset she was over my being voted out. I was very happy when she came on stage to support me and comfort me. She took away half of my pain with her hug.

Did you expect anyone else to be eliminated in your place?

I wasn’t really thinking about it. But, yes, I guess I did think a couple of others deserved to go out instead of me. Like Sourabhee. She has the image of being India’s Shakira, so she is getting all the votes. But I don’t think she is as hardworking as the rest of us. Or maybe it’s because she has a different target.

Remo, too, is a weak performer. He has energy on stage and he is a good performer, but he has problems with his sur. But I also feel that the day he decides to sing in perfect sur, he will eliminate all the other competition.

Did you talk to your husband after the elimination?

My husband was not able to come for the show because he had to go to work—he is working in a club. So I talked to him immediately after the show. He was very upset, but he also gave me a lot of courage. He told me that as long as he was with me and I had my talent, I would never fail.

Now that we are settled in Mumbai, we will try to make a name for ourselves in the world of music.

What are your plans now?

I haven’t become the Indian Idol, so I’m determined to make it as a playback singer. I will also do a lot of concerts. All the Top 12 have a contract in place with Sony, where they will give us an opportunity to sing in big concerts. And if they like my voice, they may even make an album with me.

I plan to stay in touch with everybody—the contestants and the judges. I will make something of myself.

Girls should not participate in Indian Idol at all

When Ananya came to Indian Idol, it was with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Not only did she have to keep up the good name of her family, but she also had to make a name for herself—so that people would know her not as Pandit Birju Maharaj’s pothi, but as Ananya Mishra the singer and performer.

And with standing ovations, exemplary comments from the judges and a flawless gala performance under her belt, the last thing on this 17-year-old’s mind was an early elimination. I caught up with Ananya soon after her vote out and she talked about her journey so far, the friends she will miss and her future plans—all through a veil of tears.

Were you expecting such an early vote out?

Never. Definitely not so early on in the galas. If my elimination had happened during the piano round, I would not have been so upset. My third performance was not so good, it was not my kind of song either.

But my first gala performance was one of the best. Everyone—the contestants, the judges, the Idol crew—they all told me that. The song Hum dil de chuke sanam was such a difficult song to sing live on stage.

Who did you think would get voted out?

When Mohit and I were in the bottom two, I thought he would go. Not because he is a bad singer, but because in the gala my performance was far better than his. When Hussain and Chang had asked us to choose a side, I chose the safe side because I was so sure that I would be safe.

How do you feel now?

I feel bad and angry. I don’t think I deserved to be voted out after such a good performance. I’m also angry with the janta because I don’t know what they are looking for in a singer. Whom do they want as their Indian Idol? It doesn’t look like they want good singers. Now I’m worried that they will vote out good singers like Bhavya and Shini, too.

I’m also feeling very sad that I cannot perform in the next gala. I have not danced on the Idol stage so far and I was going to surprise the audience with three dance performances.

Did you talk to your parents?

Yes, I called up my father immediately. I am very close to my father. I share more things with him than my mother. And he was very, very shocked. He was like, ‘Hello, what happened.’

When I had decided to participate in Indian Idol, my dadaji and nanaji were like why is she doing this. Why does she have to go participate in a reality show. But I wanted to make a name for myself—not as Birju Maharaj’s pothi or Om Prakash Mishra’s beti, but as Ananya Mishra.

Did the judges talk to you?

Yes, they all talked to me off stage. Annuji even pushed the camera people away and said, ‘I am not saying this for the camera. Tu che mahine rok, mera call ayega. You’ll sing for me. You and Bhavya are two of my most favourite singers.’

What do you plan to do now? Will you continue to sing after this?

Yes, I will definitely continue to sing. I am a trained gazal and tumri singer. I used to do performances with Gulam Ali Khan saab and others. I am a professional singer.

I had come to Indian Idol because it was a completely different platform. And you also gain fame really fast here. But it’s ok. Agar yeh nahin, tho kuch aur sahi. Now, I’ll go back and get on with my life, my singing and my dance. And I am sure the fame I’ve gained here will help me with my future, too.

Will you come back to Indian Idol or participate in any other reality shows?

No, I won’t. I feel in reality shows, ek kalakar ki koi izzat nahin hai. I don’t know what the viewers are voting for. In fact, I think girls should not participate in this anymore. The first three Idols were boys and I know for certain the fourth will be a boy, too. So if the janta only want to see boys winning, then why should the girls participate at all?

What will you miss the most in Indian Idol?

Remo and Bhavya. They are my best friends here. I’ve shared so many good times with them. Remo, who is older to me by two months, was crying like a baby when they announced that I was voted out. I will not lose touch with them. I will call them up everyday from now on.

Indian Idol recap: Episode 32

Today the show was in the grip of retro bukhar. We jumpstarted with a name casting ceremony, wherein Javed was cast as Thakur, Annu as Gabbar Singh and Sonali as Basanti. But the real Sholays were Chang and Hussain who played Jai and Veeru. A loud applause was heard as Bhavya entered the stage as Bhavyakali. She wore an Anarkali dress, similar to the one worn by Madhubala in Mughal-e- azam. She sang the hit number Pyar kiya toh darna kya from the blockbuster movie.

Bhavyakali’s performance was applauded by the audience, but the real prize was yet to come. Hussain surprised Bhavya by getting her brother on stage, all the way from Gurgaon. But her happiness was short lived as Annu opined that she made a weak start to the song. Sonali asked her to gear up, while Javed asked her to work harder, as this are the galas.

Santa has a gift for everyone

A fun-filled Christmas party started with the contestants decorating the Christmas tree. To their surprise, a cute Santa walked in with bagfuls of gifts. Bhavya was excited to get a dummy bike, while Remo was happy with Priyanka Chopra’s photograph. Luckily, the santa left gifts for Chang and Hussain too. The duo looked really happy as they unwrapped their gifts, and found nice Indian Idol T-shirts. Santa ki jai ho!

Remo ka jaadu naheen chala

Remember Rajesh khanna sip synching Mere Sapnon ki raani? Remo came dressed like kaka, and sang the same number. But his face turned pale as all the three judges found his singing off tune. Sonali said the performance was not good enough for the galas. Remo went back to the pavilion with a heavy heart.

Next, it was Kuldeep dressed in a banjara outfit. He sang Mehbooba mehbooba while Saurabhi played Helen and danced to his tune. Applause followed. When poked by Hussain, Javed admitted that the famous ‘Amitabh going to mausi for Veeru’s rishta’ scene was inspired by a real life incident. Kuldeep was ecstatic when judges showed him the green light! Bhai, kamaal da munda hain yeh Kuldeep.

Kapil ka wada, Prosenjit ka irada

Kapil chose the sweet number Kya hua tera wada. The judges greeted him with green lights. Sonali was impressed with his growth and asked him to sing once more. Anu Malik found him perfect with tune and emotions. Javed felt that he sang from his heart. Kapil kept his promise, but the day wasn’t as action-packed for Prosenjit. His performance of Dil se was shown thumbs down by the judges. Javed was shocked as he was off tune today, only Annu gave him a green light as he expected better from him the next time.

Bhanu’s Dard-e-dil for Torsha

The long-haired, handsome Bhanu played Rishi Kapoor as he sang Dard-e-dil, while Torsha played Tina Munim and handed a hanky to him on stage. That was quite romantic. Annu and Sonali showed him the green light while Javed felt that his passion and emotions were missing in rendition, while he was technically right. This seemed unlikely with a pretty lass like Torsha around!

Torsha was in a ‘Madhuri Dixit avatar’ as she sang Ek do teen. She got the green light from all three judges. Annu felt she was at ease singing the tough song, while Javed felt she needs to break her own walls within to give a heart felt performance. But Torsha seems to be quite adept in touching hearts. Chang and Hussain asked her who she has sang the song for, when she answered coyly that it was for the hosts. Chang and Hussain looked heartbroken!

Saurabhi sets the stage afire

Saurabhi looked so beautiful in a pink dress and glittering jewellery, that Chang kept showering her with compliments. The charming girl sang Kaheen aag lage from the film Taal. Anu stood up to clap for her, and declared she was one of the best. Mohit sang tadap tadap ke and grabbed all the judges’ attention.

Rajdeep gave us fever

Rajdeep was dressed in Aamir’s Lagaan outfit and sang the badra song. The judges stood up to clap for him. They declared that Rajdeep’s performance was the best in this gala round. Rajdeep’s mom sitting in the audience said that he had high fever. Well, it seems some people are better off with fever. Kya bukhaar hain baap!

Priyanka, Indian Idol’s Katrina was surprisingly dressed in a demure sari with palla on her head. She sang the Radha song from Lagaan. But our singing Katrina couldn’t impress the tough judges. Better luck next time.

A shocking thing happened in the end as Hussain declared that the next day was the elimination round. Sonali, who has been very upset with the public voting mostly for the male contestants declared that she won’t attend the elimination round as she knows as usual, the remaining girls will be voted out. Anu, Javed and Hussain stared helplessly as he gorgeous lady walked out of the stage suppressing her anger.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sonali roots for girls

Sonali Bendre openly supports the female contestants on Indian Idol. After watching the tremendous talent amongst the girls this season she fervently hopes it is a girl who will win the Indian Idol title this year.

She has high hopes from all the girls but she is full of praise for Shini, the girl with the golden voice. Shini, the only married girl on the show, has reached the Top 14 with a lot of determination. Her ouster shocked everybody. But with Shini''s return in the Wild Card entry, Sonali''s hopes are soaring once again.

Being a married woman herself, Sonali probably identifies with her more. Few would recall that Sonali herself is a discovery of a film magazine''s talent contest. "I was in college then. I went thinking it was an audition for a commercial, but once there I was told I was selected and was to be launched in a film! I was sure my mother would freak out at the very thought of my being an actress!" she recalls with a smile.

Shini is lucky. She has a supportive husband, family and in-laws backing her to achieve her goal and she has Sonali rooting for her too.

Indian Idol recap: Episode 24

Ananya is the first to bid farewell to the gala stage

Elimination nights are usually filled with tension and tears, but the contestants were not willing to let the first elimination of the galas be all about worry. They started things off with a fiery performance of their hit single, Yeh world humara hai. And what a performance it was. It had the audience and the judges on their feet, applauding.

But things soon settled down as Hussain and Chang got down to business. They announced that Tulika and Mohit were in the danger zone.

And the bottom six are…

But the hosts were not in a hurry to announce who the other four were who would join Tulika and Mohit. Instead, they asked the contestants to choose for themselves where they thought they ought to be placed—in the danger zone or the safe zone.

To everyone’s surprise, except for Sourabhee and Prasenjit, everyone else opted for the safe zone. But were all the contestants who thought they were safe actually safe? Only time would tell. When asked why, despite bad performances and comments, Priyanka and Kuldeep had chose the safe zone, they said that had listened to their hearts and were confident they would be voted safe by the janta. Will their instincts betray them?

Whom will Lady Luck favour?

Hussain and Chang did away with too much build up of tension and declared that Torsha, Rajdeep, Prasenjit, Sourabhee, Kapil, Remo, Priyanka and Bhanu were safe in quick succession. Which left Kuldeep, Bhavya, Ananya and Shini in the bottom six.

Bhavya is frustrated

She may have comeback with a bang, but this talented singer is upset and frustrated that the audience does not seem to appreciate her singing. “It looks like the janta never really liked me,” she said, with tears in her voice. “Good singing and judges’ comments don’t help. I’ve tried everything and yet I don’t get the votes.” And then she voiced what’s been troubling her all along. “There are good singers here [in the bottom sing] and all the singers over there [the safe zone] are not all good.”

But her tears were premature because Bhavya was announced safe. And she was asked to take Kuldeep along with her, who was also safe. Shini didn’t have long to wait either before she was given the green signal to the safe zone. That left Mohit and Ananya in danger.

A shocking elimination

In a surprise move, the judges decided not to let two contestants be eliminated at one shot as they had promised in the last round of the Pianos. Instead, only one would have to pack his or her bags and leave. Unfortunately, that person was Ananya. The talented singer could not hold back her tears. “I was so sure that I would be safe. My first gala performance was one of the best,” she said. “I will miss everyone deeply”

The judges were unanimous in their opinion that the janta had made a very big mistake. “Ananya is the symbol of today’s contemporary girl. She is such a great combination of singing and performance, another like her will be very difficult to find,” said Javedji. Sonali said, “She has a fabulous personality, a fabulous voice and she is a fabulous performer. I’m so sorry to have lost you on this show.” “The country has made a huge mistake and they will realise only later the gravity of their mistake,” said Kailash. Annu had the last word. “The janta will end up with an Indian Idol that they don’t want if they continue voting out such good talents,” he said.

Anaya’s swan song

A teary-eyed Ananya sang Hum dil de chuke sanam for the last time on the gala stage. Brave though she was, she could not continue beyond a point, especially when her friends came on stage to support her. Now, it’s a lonely walk for her out of the studio and back to her life in her home town. We will miss you, Ananya.