Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rajdeep returns with a vengeance

Public voting always shocks the judges; it seems the audience minds have a different outlook than that of the judges. Last week, it surprised everybody that a talented singer like Rajdeep Chatterjee did not manage enough votes. He landed in the bottom six while lesser talented singers were sitting comfortably with votes in their kitty.
It seems to have spurred the ever smiling young man even more to give his best shot to his singing. His performance in this round once again raised the bar on Indian Idol. He sang Sonu Nigam''s Ae dilruba… with such verve that he won over the judges and the audience with his performance. One hopes he stays on the show until the finals. He deserves to be there and voted in.

Bhanu makes history on Indian Idol 4

Bhanu Pratap Singh, the long-haired guy who was put down by his two female partners for not singing well enough, ended in near nervous breakdown when he was rejected. The judges decided to give him a second chance and he made it to Mumbai.
Once here, the guy is leaving no stone unturned to make his presence felt. His confidence is soaring and his singing has taken everyone by surprise. As a result the dark horse (Bhanu Pratap) was the only one to receive Silver Coin awarded to the best performance of the day on Diwali from the judges.
Bhanu''s joy knows no bounds. Kailash Kher believes that Bhanu Pratap Singh is destined to make history on Indian Idol! Who can forget that last year Prashant Tamang started his journey on Indian Idol with his partner refusing to sing with him in the theatre round? His partner was eliminated in the first round and Prashant survived to win the title. History repeats itself, they say…

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Guys Voted Out

The four guys who left out Indian this week are, Ali, Sourabh, Pranav and Parashar.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Indian Idol 4 Episode 09: Part 10

Jugal Hansraj rocks Indian Idol 4

Indian Idol 4 has stolen all the hearts. Now get ready to know your favorite contestants as we bring the uncensored and personal anecdotes about them on Indian Idol 4 Rubaroo, starting this Thursday October 23 at 7.30 pm & a repeat at 10.30 pm. Hosts Chang and Deepali take you into the lives and present to you the little known side of this year's contestants.Kick starting the episode this week we have a very special guest on board. He is the chocolate boy, Jugal Hansraj, who stole every heart in town when he made his debut in Masoom many years ago. Jugal Hansraj, the actor- turned -director came with his two debutantes- Romeo and Laila from his first directorial debut, the animation film – Roadside Romeo. Needless to say, he was completely floored and dazzled by the young talent this season. They too were delighted to be with him and put up an impromptu show of singing, dancing and mimicry. In between shots they even sang all the songs from Jugal's films - Tujhse naraaz nahi..., Ghar se nikalte hi… Chalte chalte yuhi ruk jata hoon main amongst others.
The actor-director was humbled and touched by this gesture of the contestants and he enjoyed the attention everbody gave him. Inspite of a bad cold Jugal happily posed and interacted with all the contestants. He promised to send everyone a music CD of his film as a token of appreciation. Well, it was not only the girls who were floored by this chocolaty actor- turned -director but everyone else on the sets too adored him and his two debutantes – the naughty Romeo and cute Laila… as together they entertained the contestants with a dance performance from the film Roadside Romeo.

Roadside Romeo on Rubaru

Cupid on the sets?

Turns out that ever since Keshav laid eyes on Torsha Sarkar, he has been smitten. And some say his feelings may be reciprocated, too. And thus began ‘Sarkar Raj’. [Ha, and you thought it had something to do with Ramu’s film.] I haven’t been able to get further details, but keep watching this space—because I never admit defeat.
Now, Charit’s story is even more hazy. Seems all the girls think he is hot, but they also think he is boring because he doesn’t talk too much and he certainly does not rowdy around with them. However, Priyanka Negi is of a different opinion. To her, he is just HOT, HOT, HOT. There could be a romance brewing here, people!
In fact, Chang and Deepali tried to force Charit’s hand in the matter—to make him admit to the little crush. Chang gave him a rose and asked him to present it to the girl he liked the best. But Charit turned out to be as wily as a fox. He coolly ignored Priyanka and gave the rose to the only married woman in the group, Shini.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Deepali: Idol’s sweetheart

Deepali was a good singer who didn’t attract much attention until Meiyang Chang decided to make her blush with a rose. Overnight, she became the sweetheart of Indian Idol. Her popularity may not have taken her right to the top, but Deepali is not too upset by it.

“I did feel bad then because I felt I should have been in the Top 3,” says the new host of Rubaroo, “but now I realise it was not such an achievement after all—because being in the Top 7 gets you an anchoring part!”

We caught up with the bubbly girl on the sets of Idol and she opened up on her journey so far, Chang and the new bunch of talents on the show.

How does if feel to be back on Indian Idol?

It’s great, almost inexplicable. Last year, on Indian Idol 3 I was so tense—there was pressure to perform, to make it to the next gala. But now everything is so relaxed. I enjoy being a host and, more than anything else, I enjoy being a part of this show. If there is an Indian Idol 10, I would still want to be a part of it!

What preparations did you do before you turned host?

Well, the auditions were impromptu. We had no prepared scripts to read from. So Chang and I needed to know how to talk to strangers, how to be spontaneous. For practice, we would go to the malls in Mumbai—like Inorbit and Infinity—and we would approach total strangers and talk to them as much as we could. This helped us understand how different people would react to us and we ought to react to different situations.

And, on a more personal level, my look was changed. I got a makeover—my hair was coloured, my makeup was changed, and I was given a completely new dress sense and sense of style. On Indian Idol 3 I was always dressed in salwar suits, lehengas and even saris. Now my clothes make me look much younger.

How is it working with Chang?

He is the best co host I could have asked for because not only were we friends on the sets of Indian Idol 3, but we have also kept in touch after that. We have been working together for a year now. When we got this offer we were very happy that we had a friendly face on the sets—someone with whom we have the comfort level as well as the ''sparking'' chemistry.

Moving onto your singing, did you pursue it in the last one year?

I sang a duet with Emon [Chatterjee] for Annu Malek in the film Don Muthuswami. It''s a love song called Tum kaun ho. Though it didn''t get much publicity, I think it was a truly beautiful song.

People expect that once you come out of a reality show, you have to turn a playback singer. But I soon realised that was not the only option. Live concerts and shows are great learning experiences. I’ve done lots of them, both in India and abroad. I’ve sung in Hong Kong, Dubai… I just returned from Kuwait and, I must say, when I went there I never expected people to have watched Indian Idol, but the response was huge.

In India, the response I get from small towns and villages—like Nagpur, Ramgar, Lucknow—is tremendous. Live concerts and shows are great learning experiences. You have to play with the band, you have to keep a different audience entertained every night, and everyone has to happy with you.

Do you have any other offers in hand?

No, not yet. I am studying in UPG College in Mumbai. I am doing BMM and I am very busy with that—I have to study, I have to do live shows and now I also have Indian Idol in hand. I don''t have the time to sleep right now. [Laughs] But if I get some good offers, I will definitely do them.

How has the response been to you as a host?

Oh, it was very good. At first people never expected me to do well in the auditions because they thought ''arre yeh to chup chup rehti hai'', how can she express herself? But after the auditions, their mindset has totally changed. Now they know I can speak, I can shout, I can do whatever needs to be done.

Hosting Rubaroo is certainly different from the auditions. Which do you prefer?

Yes, they are both totally different from each other. On Rubaroo, you have scripts ready and a set of questions to ask, while in the auditions you have to be instantaneous and spontaneous—you have be ''turat turat turat'' because there is no one to prompt you ki Deepali ask this question. It has to come to you. I would say I definitely prefer the auditions.

Coming to this year’s contestants. Do you think they are better that your batch?

I feel they are more qualified than we ever were. Most of them are classically trained and quite a few of them are also professionals in the field of music. They are singing fabulously and I am sure the audience will enjoy their singing.

Are you rooting for a girl this time?

Yes, most definitely. It''s high time a girl won. Last year, when I was voted out, I asked the audience to vote for either Pooja or Ankita. This year, I hope they do vote for a girl.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kailash Kher Fan Club Unplugged!

Looks like all are out to woo the newest judge on Indian Idol 4, Kailash Kher. Every other contestant aspires to render a new version of the musician's hit song Teri Deewani... but Kailash had a weird fan experience, but guess what, he loved it to the core!!

Through the auditions Kailash was not just put to test for the vocal skills of contestants, but also had heard them repeatedly sing his own song. “In fact the Lucknow auditions of the show had not just one, but six people entering the room for audition at the same time and singing his song,” says our source.

“The team of 6 young men have now formed a forum AIKFC that stands for All India Kailash Fan Club. Kailash was overwhelmed to know that his fans respect him and his fan club even existed. But the irony came when they started to sing a besura version of Teri Deewani… for him,” adds the source.

Annu who couldn't control his laughter started making fun of the act and said "Kailash tumhare fans toh bohut surile hain!” An upset Kailash gave it back to Annu with "Fans hona ek baat hai aur surile doosri!" Kailash got up and joined his fans on stage and dedicated a song for them!

Kailash is a true Idol of his fans. Isn’t it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Different Moments of Piano Round 2

Indian Idol recap: Episode 10

When hope and fear went hand-in-hand
There may not have been any celebrities on the sets, but the second day of the piano rounds on Indian Idol had its starry moments. The highlight of the show was when Kuldeep sang Teri Deewani—Kailash Kher was so impressed by it that, when Annu Malek asked him to give his rendition, he didn’t hesitate to sing a duet with the overawed Kuldeep. What the viewers didn’t catch on TV was their electrifying performance on stage—both the singers matching each other note-for-note, pitch-for-pitch. It was truly awesome.
But not everything is rosy:
With the highs have to come the lows. And on Saturday, it was the eviction of not one but four girls at one shot. The tension had begun building the moment Hussain and Chang decided to play a prank on the girls. They called Purnima, Srijita, Priyanka and Bhavya on stage and made it sound as if Bhavya had to pack up and leave. The tension scaled a little higher when Annu announced that he had the envelope with the unlucky contestants’ names in it.
Soon it was time to open the envelope and, in one clean sweep, Purnima, Raina, Sunakshi and Pooja were declared out of the show. Tulika couldn’t believe that her roommate Purnima had to go home, and burst into tears—she was inconsolable for the rest of the show. The judges, too, were in shock—over Sunakshi’s eviction. They couldn’t believe that the Mast girl, whom they had lauded during the first piano round, had been felled by the viewers’ votes. They implored the audience to think really hard before they eliminated contestants with potential.
However, the entire show was not veiled with tears. The boys gave a commendable challenge to the girls’ performances on Friday.
Rajdeep hits a sixer:
Rajdeep Chatterjee began the innings with a well delivered Laaga chunari mein daag. Javed Akhtar felt his innings was flawless and effortless, almost like a smooth-flowing river. But Annu had a more interesting way of summing it up: “Cake lage, ice cream lage yum yum yum, mujhe aapke awaaz mein lage dum dum dum.”
Saurabh Mehta followed it up with an equally well appreciated Zindagi maut na ban jaye. Kailash said that his voice “has a filmi andaaz” and that he hopes the country votes for him and gets another great playback singer.
Charit’s Badi mushkil hain attracted kudos from all the judges (who liked it because it was rich with emotions and expressions) except Kailash—who wasn’t too impressed.
Frisbee fan Mohit’s great throw:
Mohit Lalwani took over the stage with the evergreen hit Ek haseena thi. HE had the audience on their feet and the judges clapping along. Kailash felt that he had loads of energy, while Annu said “ladke mein dum hain”. Javed and Sonali Bendre, however, felt that though Mohit’s voice throw was very good, there was still room for improvement.
Prasanjit Kosambi sang well but did not sing in the right octave that his song Dil hain ki maanta nahin deserved. While Javed advised him to choose the right octave, Annu made the boy sing it again in a higher octave—to prove what a difference it makes.
Keshav Prasad, however, failed to do justice to Tu hi tu satrangeele. Sonali felt that his singing was a tad too mechanical and Javed thought that the junoon and deewangi that the song deserved was missing in his rendition. But Annu, as usual, had the last word. He said that he was expecting so much from Keshav that his bad performance “broke my heart”. “You were not involved in the song,” said Annu. “Where was the sur? I am very disappointed.”
Rocking Roshan has a less than rocking show:
The boy from Kannur in Kerala tried his best with Tanhaee, but the judges were not too impressed. Both Kailash and Javed felt that he OK, though he lost his sur in the beginning. Annu exclaimed: “Teri awaaz mein narmi hain, garmi nahin.”
Parashar Joshi tried to get the tempo going with Yaa Ali. But he only managed to make Annu think that he was shouting and not singing. Javed advised him to better his pronunciation.
Ali Hussain managed to revive the boys’ flagging confidence by delivering a well-appreciated Piyare. While Kailash and Javed said that he sang well (though his voice needed a little more polishing), Sonali asked him to be wary of forgetting the lyrics. Annu’s verdict? “Teri aawaz ko sunkar mere dil ko aya hain chain.” Pranav Srivastava had everyone on their feet, dancing, with his Chal chaiya chaiya. Though Annu thought that he did go nasal at times, Javed was impressed because he did not try to copy Sukhwinder—but, instead, gave the song his own touch.
This is no army song:
Kapil Thapa, the army man who was inspired to join Indian Idol after Prashant Tamang won the title in 2007, drew on the audience’s heartstrings with his Dil kehraha hai. Sonali had only two words to describe his singing—“You rocked!” But Javed and Annu corrected him on his choice of octave. They encouraged him to experiment with his range and to constantly challenge himself.
Indian Idol’s ‘chhota Don’ was on next. Remo Ghosh from Nagaland tried his best with Yeh hawaein. Though his tender years and lack of experience shone through, his vivacious personality helped him evade harsh criticism. Javed warned him that a similar performance from an older boy would have been ripped to shreds. Annu asked him to promise him three things: that he would work harder, do more riaz, and do lots more masti!
And then came the song and the singer that floored the judges. The unassuming Sandeep Ubale came on stage and blew everyone away with his perfect rendition of Rim jhim gire saawan. Javed was so impressed, that for the first time on the show, he stood up and applauded the singer! Sonali said that Sandeep “transported” her, while Kailash said, “I see a very big star in you.”
Try, try, try and you will succeed:
No one knows this better than Bhanu Pratap. After auditioning for and being rejected from all three previous seasons of Indian idol, this Jaipur boy finally got his chance to sing on the piano round’s stage. His Pehli pehli bar baliye moved all the judges. Javed said, “Your voice has tremendous emotion and feeling. You have a heart that understands pain.” Annu was also impressed. He said, “It is not an easy song to sing, but you sang it very well. But you have to try harder still.”
And now the boys must wait to see what effect their singing had on the viewers—for next week they will be the ones on stage, not knowing which four will have to bid adieu to the Indian Idol stage.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Priyanka Chopra on Indian Idol 4

This Friday, October 17 will see the top 15 girls perform. They are young, vivacious, extremely talented and go getters! Flagging off the first episode of the Indian Idol 4 - Piano Round is none other than the glamour girl and star of Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion – Priyanka Chopra.

While Priyanka's presence boosted the confidence of the pretty little ladies, we also have the past Idol winners present to boost the morale of the girls. Indian Idol winners - Abhijeet Sawant, Sandeep Acharya and Prashant Tamang were there in full force to support and cheer the girl's brigade. Whoever said there is a male bias?

Here are all the Indian Idol guys cheering the girls in an effort to find their first female Indian Idol. Looks like it's going to be a tough time for the guys this time with everyone from the judges to the winners rooting for the girls all along.

Going by the history of the show, last year we saw only a few girls making it to the top! Will the audience support them in their endeavor and vote for them is the big question?

Indian Idol 4: Episode 9

The grueling auditions and the tense theatre rounds have finally borne fruit—we now have faces to put to the Top 30. And kicking off the piano round were the 15 girls. But before we get to the singing, we have to mention how things were just a little different on Indian Idol this Friday—not least of which were the two new hosts.

Hussain didn’t have the vivacious Mini on his arm this time—instead he had the cheeky and bespectacled Meiyang Chang meeting him repartee for repartee. The ‘partner’ and ‘buddy’ kept the audience in splits with their gags and their jokes.

Queen bee of Fashion: Priyanka Chopra turned her back on fashion shows and walked off the ramp, right onto the Indian Idol sets, to give the contestants a well needed boost of confidence. Dressed in dark blue jeans and a silver top, she praised, applauded and offered constructive criticism wherever necessary. Hats off to you!

Ananya sets the tone for the evening: Birju Maharaj’s grand daughter proved that she, indeed, has music flowing through her veins. Her song, Suno sajana, had Annu exclaim, “Wah wah kya gaaya, lagta hain kahin se tufaan aaya,” while Sonali said, “You have lived up to our expectations… now keep bettering it.”

Bhavya also impressed with her Mal mal ka kurta. Priyanka felt that the 16-year-old had very naively added seductiveness into her song.

Pooja and Shini didn’t let the judges down either. Pooja’s Sajna ji vari vari was so well performed that Priyanka said she was “completely entertained and totally enthralled”, and the only advice Annu had to give was that she “challenge herself”. And Shini’s Dil hoon hoon kare had Javed Akhtar exclaim: “Only a girl from Gwalior, the city of Tansen, can sing like this.”

The Don professes his love: In the midst of lilting melodies and enchanting voices, Hussain couldn’t help but inject a lighter note. And he pounced on little Remo to provide the diversion. He claimed that the ‘little Don’ (why Don—because Remo believes he is a pocket-sized powerhouse) was harbouring a secret—a crush on Priyanka. Hussain and Annu teased Remo so much that he finally admitted to the actress: Chote Don loves you. Priyanka took it in her stride, saying: Meri history rahin hain ki Dons ko mujhse pyar hota hain.”

A discordant note: The naughty Megha, who is always on the lookout for victims for her jokes, failed to strike the right chord with Yeh hain reshmi zulfoon ka. Though she began the song with confidence, the judges felt that it sounded over practiced and that she lost her sur. In fact, Javed said it was the weakest performance up till then.

Torsha and Purnima, who followed her onto the stage, were not able to regain lost ground either. Torsha’s Baiya na dalo oh balma got mixed responses—while Priyanka thought she was so perfect in her sur that she was having fun with it, Annu felt that she went off key. Purnima’s Beedi jalaile got a very tanda response. Sonali said she was disappointed and Kailash claimed, “Gana utna gehra nahin laga.”

Akanksha brought up the rear of this group and she too couldn’t make a mark. The judges unanimously felt that her song, Tujse naraz nahin zindagi, did not have any expression or soul in it.

The tide turns: Sourabhee, the petite girl from Agartala with hopes of becoming a singer and entering the world of glamour, realised her dream—and how! Her song Tere bin nahin jeena marjana dolna had Javed in raptures. He said: “Here is a girl from Agartala, singing a Hindi song with Punjabi words, in Mumbai, and the whole of Hindustan is listening to her.” Priyanka admitted that she got goose bumps when she was listening to her sing.

When luck came knocking a second time: Nirali had been heartbroken at the end of the theatre round when the judges chose Srijita over her. She couldn’t grasp how she could have come so close to realising her dream, only to lose it. But things did not remain dark in Nirali’s life for too long. The lucky girl got a second chance when one of the contestants had to bow out of the competition for personal reasons.

She took the stage with the desire to make the judges see that they had made a mistake by rejecting her the first time. And her rendition of Aisa jadoo dala re did just that. The judges applauded Nirali’s confidence and her performance. But Kailash did advice her to move the mike away from her during the loud notes so as to avoid the appearance of shouting.

Coping with the ups and downs: It was Tulika’s turn to impress with her Urmila-esque matkas and jhatkas as she sang Rangeela re. An impressed Annu succinctly said: “Teri awaaz mooh se nikli aur meri dil mein bas gayi.”

However, Sreejita was not able to carry the momentum forward. She faltered with Leja sandesa. Javed felt that she was not able to hit the higher notes, while Kailash said she didn’t complete the mukhda.

Then it was the cutesy Sunakshi’s turn things around. The girl with the teddy bear (who incidentally got a seat beside her on the stage) rocked with the song Mast. Priyanka couldn’t believe that such a sweet girl could give such a power-packed performance.

The final two: Raina, who loves to sing so much that every given chance she breaks into song, was not able to hit the right notes with Mera dil ye pukare aaja. Though Javed felt her voice was a very individual one, the others felt that the emotion and the essence of the song were missing in her performance. In fact, Sonali felt Raina didn’t even know when to draw breath correctly while singing.

But things did not end on a bad note. Priyanka proved that she was determined to win the Race with her song, Khwab dekhe chote mote. And her namesake at the judges’ table exclaimed, “Aapki naam ki tarah aapki gaayki bhi badi sundar hain. Javed, too, had some high praise for her—one of the top three performances of the day!

The performances may be over, but the tension is not likely to go away any time soon. After the country has chosen its favourites, four girls with the least number of votes will be eliminated. It’s tough luck, but then that’s life and that’s competition. After all, the show must go on.

Chang spills the beans on life after Idol & Deepali

Chang—the Chinese boy with Indian roots—seems very relaxed in his role as the new host of Indian Idol 4. Dressed in jeans, a white shirt and brown jacket, he seems in his element as he shares repartee with the more experienced Hussain.

The boy who stole hearts with his floppy hair, sweet smile, and lilting voice on Indian Idol 3 is no longer shy to speak his mind. In an exclusive interview, he spills all about life after Idol, his 'relationship' with fellow contestant Deepali and his role as host—cum—confidant.

How does it feel, being on the other side?

Last year [on Indian Idol3] was great, but there was so much going on. Sometimes I was scared, sometimes I was psyched, sometimes I was worried. There was always this feeling that I had to give my best, but what if that best didn't come? Despite the anchors and the judges being there for us and giving us the best advice they could, the pressure was on.

This year, however, I am used to most of the things and I also don't I have the tension. Of course, when I have to sing, like I sang today, I give it my best… though there is no one to give me bad comments. [Laughs]

Hosting is also a challenge, especially with such an experienced anchor like Hussain. I have to make sure that we connect—that there is no mismatch. There is also added responsibility for me because I am with the contestants before they come on to the stage to sing. That is when they are the most nervous and I have to help them cope with the tension.

How was the experience during auditions?

The experience during auditions was great. But since it was so widespread, with so many people, we [Deepali and Chang] were not able to react or respond to people individually. Though we tried our best, I am we missed out on a lot of people.

Didn't you want to try your luck auditioning for Indian Idol one more time?

I believe that not getting to the Top 5 and not winning the title actually worked in my favour. Because if I had won the title, then I wouldn't have been able to do what I am doing now.

Your 'relationship' with Deepali started with a rose. Though you denied being anything but friends during Indian Idol 3, did your relationship take a different turn after the show came to an end?

There was really nothing between us… it was all part of the show. But I guess it did help in a way because at that time Deepali was one of the lesser noticed contestants and that incident gave her a lot of mileage. And it is also because of the rose that Sony decided to bring us back.

How was it working with Deepali? How did you complement each other?

It was very nice. Even after Indian Idol 3, our entire batch has kept in touch. Most of us also live in the same area in Mumbai. The bond with Deeplai has also been strong because we come from the same area—Jharkhand and Bihar. The bond has worked and the people have loved us. We are definitely coming back to host Ru Ba Ru together.

Are you still working as a dentist?

No, not right now. [Laughs] Initially, I quite naively thought that one year down the line (which is now) I could split my life in two—do shows in the morning and go back to my practise in the afternoon. But I soon realised this was impossible. Dentistry has a fixed schedule, while in this industry we can never predict when we will be called or when we can leave a shoot. However, someday I would like to go back to dentistry and do a course in the US.

What was life like after Indian Idol 3 came to an end?

There were a lot of questions in my mind when Indian Idol 3 came to an end—where would I be in a year's time? But I think it is also about luck and hard work. I got a contract from Sony BMG—for a band with Parleen, Abhishek and me called F4. It was really great.

Did you get any offers to sing? I didn't get any playback offers, but I did get some offers to sing jingles. 9x and Disney also approached me—one was as a participant, while the other was as an anchor—cum—singer. I was really interested in the Disney offer because it was unchartered territory for me… and there was also the added attraction of all those cartoon characters. But both clashed with Indian Idol so I had to decline them.

What are your plans now? I want to explore new things. I have already acted in a film by Arindam Mitra called The Seventeens. That's made me realise that I want to be an actor. As The Seventeens is a smart budget, festival—like film, I don't know how much of a future it will have—but it has inspired me to look at acting more seriously. So I guess I will be concentrating on singing, anchoring and acting from now on.

A male or a female idol? Which do you think we'll have this time?

I think the chances are more for a female idol. But then again we should not look at it like boys must win or girls must win. Whoever has the best potential must win.