Sourabhee Debbarma, 22, was never trained to be a singer, but always had a penchant for music. Her vocal talents got recognized in her home state Tripura when she started recorded Kokborok (a form of tribal music in Tripura) albums for local listeners. She was also part of a cultural group called Chong Preng which helped nurture her musical talents. Ever since she watched the first season of Indian Idol on TV, she wanted to participate in the reality show, but her parents insisted that she completed her college education first. After she finished her BBA from Pune University last year, her parents registered her for the contest. The rest, as they say, is history. In between congratulatory phone calls, Sourabhee Debbarma, the fourth Indian Idol spoke to Lounge in Mumbai about her newfound fame, her hometown and the future. Edited excerpts:
You are the first female winner of Indian Idol. Are you thrilled more because of that?
(Laughs) It feels great, of course. I’ve made history. Even the judges this time were hoping that a girl would win. Not for any other reason, but because the girls this time were more talented.
Have music directors called you yet? Who would you like to work with?
Sourabhee with the judges
Nobody has called me yet and I haven’t met anyone yet. But the first person I’ll probably approach is Anu Malik.
Who are your idols in the industry?
Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan. They are versatile and can sing both melodious and upbeat numbers very well. I want to be a versatile singer like them.
What are some of the responses you’ve got from people in your hometown Agartala?
It’s a very small place and people there don’t watch a lot of TV. They didn’t even know what Indian Idol was. Only when I entered the contest did they find out about the show and since then I’ve got a lot of support.
Who did you consider your toughest competitors on the show?
Rajdeep and Bhavya. In fact I thought Kapil would win the show, but luck was in my favour.
What do you plan to do with the prize money?
I have a Rs1crore contract with the channel. I’ll donate some amount to the Chief Minister’s relief fund in my hometown and also start a music school there.
Who was your favourite judge on the show?
Sourabhee with Neil Nitin Mukesh, Katrina Kaif and John Abraham
Anu Malik. He’s very straight-forward. When you sing badly he’ll tell you that and when you sing well he’ll give you comments that you don’t even expect. He really boosted my confidence.
The previous winners haven’t made it very big in the music industry. Does that worry you?
A little bit. But Abhijit Sawant is doing pretty well. Actually it depends on the person and how they prove their talent. The previous winners are probably happy with the live shows they are doing and making good money. But I want to be a playback singer. Winning the title is the easy part, proving myself will be difficult.