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.