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.