New Delhi: Welcome to the world of instant celebrity status. If you have the talent, and lady luck is benevolent, you may just hit the jackpot and be the singing sensation that rocks the country, with a line up of music distributors who get you to sign on the dotted line.
For those who do not make it to the top slot, there is hope. Numbers two and three on most talent shows are popular choices for live concerts, music store openings and product launches, especially in events that take place in two and three tier cities.
There is no dearth of exposure today. If infused with talent, have a personality that can be given a makeover and the ability that can get the nation hooked to you, you could well be on your way to reaching newer heights of popularity charts that give you a desired chunk of name, fame and money.
Yes, you have guessed it right! The reference is to the series of ‘Talent Hunts’ that are popping every now and then on all major televsion channels. While the objective is to zero in on ‘hidden talent’ and provide it opportunity to flower, there is the other agenda which involves increasing channel TRPs and earning revenue through adshare and revenue models, the most attractive being mobile text messaging.
What is astounding is the kind of turnout that is seen at most of these talent shows. The recent Indian Idol Northern Region shortlisting which took place at the National Stadium in New Delhi had more than 10,000 young people. The snaking queue on an April Morning was at least 5 kms long. 30 candidates have been shortlisted and they are readying themselves to head for Mumbai, where the judges will grill them live with the entire nation watching.
Latest kid on the block
While Star Plus may have announced their brand new talent hunt show “Star Voice of India’- Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ (SVOI) in the capital last week, the person who has conceptualized and implemented all music talent shows in India remains common. Yes, one is talking here of TV’s leading man of music, Gajendrra Siingh.
Though the show is Gajji’s (as his colleagues fondly call him) debut with Star, but the man is recognized as the mileage maker for Zee TV and the brain behind the much famed Antakhshari and a couple of other equally successful talent shows on the channel.
Is this the channel’s tactic to cash in upon Gajji’s skills or vice versa i.e Gajji’s attempt to rise with the continuous upward climb of Star as against the falling TRP’s of the other channel? Ask him this and pat comes the reply “It is a gradual flow as in case of a child moving from school to college and nothing related to TRP of the channel, moreover working together helps achieving success in no time.”
Talking about the USP of the show, Harsh Rohatgi, general manager, marketing and content, Star India Pvt. Ltd said, “It is a package that one cannot afford to miss-unimaginable talent, melodious voices, a visionary director and India’s No.1 channel – the combination is truly a winner. This summer, be prepared for some fireworks!”
Gajendraa Siingh added by saying, “It is for the first time, that music directors and singers will be training these budding singers. Learning experiences from my previous shows would surely make it a masterpiece with a difference, rest you wait and watch.”
Questioning the ‘fair and just’ quotient
This brings to mind a similar show on Zee, where the judges trained the contestants and by the time the show reached its finale; it ended up being a “War of Judges and their egos”, rather than a healthy competition. “It is natural to develop our favourite by the end of the show, but we refrain from favouring him/her at the cost of another. Yet, we cannot see him suffering at the hands of the audience. It was to avoid this, that I appealed to the audience to listen to the voice and then vote” said a self boasting Abhijeet, to deal with the question of fairness on the part of the judges.
These talent hunts vouch by their sincerity and expertise of a carefully selected panel of judges who based on certain parameters shortlist a handful of talented souls out of a huge pool of contenders…and then leaving them to the Janta Janardan to zero in on the winner, with the power of SMS.
In the case of ‘Star Voice of India’, this responsibility will be on the shoulders of veterans like Alka Yagnik, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Aadesh Shrivastava, Jatin and Lalit Pandit and hosted by ‘oh so sweet!’ singer Shaan. But a doubt which enters viewers’ mind relates to transparency of auditions and fairness of judges.
The Star team claims to maintain visibility throughout the audition process, be a rural or urban venue. Star representatives (10 gurus) in every city will be shortlisting candidates through the ground event and then finally bringing them to Mumbai for round two.
But why SMS when the show enjoys the presence of judges who are expert in their own fields? Is it all about filling-up the pockets was the next query, though harsh but true, to which the team defends by saying, “We are looking for a voice which the common man likes and accepts as the Voice of India. Even earlier viewer’s choice was given prime importance and their consent was asked on post cards. The aim of the participation i.e maintaining interactivity and involvement is still the same but with the advancement in technology, the medium has changed, from postcards to SMS.
It is not about salesmanship but about the hunt for the voice that represents India and dominate’s people’s mind. With Sanjaya Malakar doing the news rounds in the US, refusing to get ousted from the show, inspite of what is unanimously felt is an average singing talent, it waits to be seen if the public actually succeeds in hooting for the best guy in the business of reality television’s latest music hunt show.