Indian Idol 3 - Audition Episodes Conclude In Kolkata
After going to New Delhi, Amritsar, Srinagar, Baroda, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Mumbai, Dubai, Nagpur, Bhopal and Hyderabad, Indian Idol 3 Auditions Episodes ended in Kolkata!
Kolkata – Previously known as Calcutta is a city that is steeped in history and is known for its culture! Kolkata has numerous distinctions as Mini Mathur explained – All the Indian Nobel Prize Winners belong to Kolkata! The only Indian to get an Honorary Academy Award also hailed from this city. And as far as music goes, most of the music pioneers of Indian Film Industry have had a connection with this city. Besides that one of the best Hindustani Classical Vocalists had told me in New York that people in Kolkata understood and appreciated music much more than the people residing in rest of the Indian cities! It is said that Music and Literature run through the veins of the people associated with this City of Joy.
So I guess it was befitting that the Raga Bhairavi should be sung in this city! For those who might know, Raga Bhairavi is usually sung or played at the end of any classical recital! And when I say Raga Bhairavi here, I mean that it made total sense that the Indian idol 3 Audition Episodes came to a conclusion in this city.
Although everyone is aware, let me refresh the fact that people come in hoards to audition for Indian Idol in any city of India. Why should Kolkata be any different? People camped out of the venue the night before – again, not a novelty! And by the time the gates were opened by cuter than ever Hussain and really cool (shocking, I know) Mini, the number of people in queue was staggering! Apparently, the queue kept growing throughout the day!
So anyway, to find a great voice, the judges were more than ready…
Alisha Chinai – Cute, Real Cute!
Javed Akhtar Saab – Voice Of Reason! Awesome Gentleman!
Udit Narayan – Sweet Man, Real Sweet!
And Annu Malek – Delusional, But Not That Irritating! Rude? You Bet!
So with the judges in the place, on with the show…
First up was husband-wife team – Rajesh and Arpita Das, dressed in perfect Bengali costumes, I am not sure that Rajesh was wearing a Dhoti, but Arpita was wearing what is called a Puja Sari! They decided to audition together, Rajesh sang first and well, it was not that good. And unfortunately, his wife Arpita was even worse. Javed Saab said no to both, Alisha too told them that they can sing to each other, but they weren’t Indian Idol material! By this time, Arpita was crying and she said she had not realized how badly they sang till that very moment. Udit spoke in Bangla and told them that they were not at par as they were expecting the best from the contestants and Annu said that he liked them representing the culture, but were not good singers! And why am I going into detail of what the judges said? Oh well!
Arpita was real angry and she said something about the judges in half Bangla, half Hindi, which I could not really comprehend as she was crying, but as Hussain explained, she blamed the judges for not selecting them. Well done!
So it was a rough start, but as y’all know it gets better! Meet Smita Adhikari, whose father though being a musician couldn’t make it. Now, Smita was what we call a plain Jane, in fact, the first thing that came to my mind was Ugly Betty, but I have a strong objection to the term ‘Ugly’, so let’s just settle for Plain Betty, because neither America Ferrara nor Smita Adhikari are ugly. However, when Smita started to sing, Oh My Dear God! I have yet to see any contestant on this show, who can express the meaning of the words of the lyrics so beautifully. In her performance, she actually lived the words, if it makes any sense! She was fantastic! Jackass Annu told her that she had a depressive personality; but her singing brought him out of his depression. Way to give a backhanded compliment, you jerk! Alisha told her that they would have to work on her appearance. Yay! I know makeover stories are real interesting! Anyway, to cut the story short, Smita was the first contestant to get the Golden Ticket!
Smita took us back to her house, introduced her mum and dad and said something real poignant that she would love to be known for her voice, her appearance was secondary. Recently, there was a point made that looks matter in such competition and I do not agree, because if looks took the precedence, many great singers of India or the world would never stand a chance!
I am going to narrate an incident that happened in India in early 1900s! There was a great singer called Janki Bai – She was known as 'Chhappan Churi', because she had fifty six stab wounds on her body and she wasn’t that great looking. Now, Janki Bai was a marvellous singer and in those days, these singers received patronage from the Royal courts. So she was invited to sing before a King of some princely state! When the people of the court saw Janki Bai, they were shocked and they thought that it wasn’t a good idea for the king to see her. So they decided that she would sing behind a parda (curtain), surprisingly, she agreed to do just that! However, what the people of the court had not counted on was the fact that she was a fantastic singer and she sang so beautifully that when she concluded her recital, the king expressed his desire to meet the singer. There was no choice left, but to present Janki Bai before the king. When she came face to face with the king, she said and I quote, “Gustaki Maaf Ho, Par Kalakaar Ki Seerat Dekhi Jaati Hai, Soorat Nahi!”(Pardon Me, But One Should Look For An Artiste’s Talent, Not The Appearance) The story had a happy ending as the king rewarded numerous riches to her and she became the star of his court.
Coming back to Indian Idol 3,
Mini decided to see if the contestants could sing with Rasgolla in their mouth – I feel almost silly talking about this! Anyway, the sweet Rasgolla was a pave in for Aindrila Shamanta! She was too dramatic, she talked a lot and I mean a lot! She said that she wanted to be an Indian Idol, so that her voice could reach in every household in India. She had an interesting voice, but it wasn’t good enough. So unfortunately, she was told no as she wasn’t ready yet! Obviously, sweet talkative Aindrila was in tears as she was leaving the venue!
Then came the gayest part of the show and I can say that having gay best friends. It was a montage of guys dancing and singing, “Beedi”! There was this one guy with receding hairline, who was awesomely awful. He was dancing so provocatively that if a gal would have done what he did, the moral police of India would have taken a procession right outside her house!
Talking of moral police – Meet the Mirabai of Modern India. Seriously! What the heck! Let the Saint Princess Poet be! Where are the moral police, when they are needed? It is a different matter that they are never really needed, but hey, how else am I going to mention them to ridicule them? Anyway, Mini awesomely stated that she has met all kinds of weirdoes in the past auditions of the show, but this person takes the cake! She has no idea if the person is a gal or a guy as he had this long ghunghat (veil) covering his face!
Apparently, this Mirabai took Saint Kabir too seriously, because obviously this Mirabai was following Kabir’s poetry, “Ghunghaat Ke Paat Khol Tohe Piya Milenge”. Because apparently this Mirabai was only going to reveal her identity after she meets her lover! So this Mirabai, with a sign – believe it or not, entered the room, turned the sign to reveal a painting of Udit, went towards Udit… placed flowers in front of, did an Aarti with what looked like Camphor on the palm (doesn’t that burn?) and broke down! And I mean it was literally the boohoo kind of breakdown, only it was much worse than I can describe! In any case, the breakdown revealed the gender!
Ah ha! So this Mirabai is a he in drag! Oy! So this guy, (now I don’t have the strength to call him by the name he entered) is a huge worshipper of Udit, and keeps telling Udit how much he loves him! For a moment I wished that the guy would tell Udit that he wants to marry him. Didn’t happen! Anyway, the best part (how I wish I could have screen shots) was the look Javed Saab had on his face the whole time! He was thoroughly enjoying this oh-so-awkward moment. Everyone is wondering why he is crying like so… how would they know what a modern day Mira would feel if he met his Udit in person! ‘Shaakshaatkaar’ is a term not many understand in Kalyug!
Anyway, as the face was revealed Annu said that he knew this Mira as he was a reject of past season. So Annu asked him what his name was – it was Dipak Kumar, and asked him why he was dressed in drag if he wanted to audition. Well Duh! So Dipak Kumar started singing and he was Sandeep Acharya Part Two! I just wish the sequels had changed – what a season it would have been last year! Obviously, after the stunt he pulled, he was never going to further and thus the Mira went back to his Mewar – only this time no Rana was waiting to poison him! Or was he? It is safe to say with this gimmick, which apparently Annu liked, Dipak said bye-bye to his creditability and became a laughing stock!
However, if you think this was the end of the parades of the freaks – you are absolutely wrong! The fact that this show is flypaper for the freaks was aptly portrayed in this episode! We saw a collage of freakish contestants – one came dressed in plants, one came as a super hero, one came from the era of Mughals and well… they saved the best for last. As if one Heinous Reshamiya was not enough, meet (I didn’t think it was possible) Heinous-est Reshamiya AKA Salim Devdas Ahmad! Oh I have no strength to go into the story behind the name Devdas! He entered the room singing in his imaginary microphone. Javed Saab gave his verdict even before he stopped to reveal his name. Javed Saab asked him if he thought that by dressing like Heinous, he would make a good impression… Again, his retort was full of attitude! So anyway, he started singing again and not very well, mind you! Alisha asked him to stop, but who was interested in listening to Alisha, the guy went on and on and on… Finally, he stopped and said that he never leaves a song unfinished! Alisha noted that he had an attitude problem. Javed Saab said that Salim reminded him of the quote, “Don’t Leave Your Enemies Half Dead!” But Salim was beyond criticism; he said that the judges can think what they like! Then Annu for reasons beyond my comprehension asked him to sing like Mr Reshamiya! Alisha wondered if that was a good idea as Salim only sang entire songs! Nonetheless, this guy started and Annu and Alisha left the table. Poor Udit and poor Javed Saab, they sat there with priceless looks on their faces.
Anyway, it was a NO, but the guy said that at least he managed to meet the judges and came towards the table and shook their hands and suddenly, he grabbed the golden ticket and ran out the room. It was freaky and scary. And believe you me, he ran like he won it. Obviously, what followed was chaos, he was apprehended and Annu, the Diva came out of the room and screamed that this was not a joke, this was serious matter, and this was Indian Idol audition. Really Annu then why am I laughing? Actually an angry Annu cannot speak in English! Annu asked Devdas how he could steal the golden ticket, the guy goes he didn’t steal; he took it from under their noses! Ooh, big diff! The guy furthered that he was not scared; he said he was a smidge shameful for doing what he did! The contestants waiting to be auditioned asked Annu to cool down – wrong move, he asked them to shut up and mind their own business! Ouch! And you thought Devdas; the robber had an attitude problem!
Well, if you get robbed, you call the cops. Indian Idol apparently does not need to as both robbers and cops come to audition… Meet Prashant Tamang – a newly recruited cop by the Kolkata police! He stated that he was the lead singer of the Kolkata Police Band and his friends persuaded him to audition. He marched in the audition room and informed the judges that he was a Sipoy (literal translation – soldier) originally from Darjeeling, the Tea Capital of the World! He had a lovely voice, but Annu asked him to sing a current song, which he did, but there was a slight problem, his pronunciations of certain words were mildly horrific! Despite that Javed Saab thought he had an interesting weird voice. Alisha talked about the pronunciation and the fact that he will have to work on his diction. Annu thought that he deserves to be in Mumbai, as he had the most interesting voice, they had ever heard that day and that he can be groomed. So he was through and it was real cute to hear him scream in delight as he was leaving the room.
This led to a segment in which Hussain and Alisha danced with the contestants to keep them entertained. Hussain then informed that the Kolkata heat was taking its toll on the people waiting to audition, in fact, one guy suffered from heatstroke. Apparently, Indian Idol team are resourceful and he was treated immediately. His mum was thankful to the Idol team’s support as she had no idea what they could have done as they were all alone! Anyway, so this guy, who me gal thought was a cutie, entered the audition room and tried to give his best. His rents told Hussain that Emon Chatterjee, their son was not really well and despite doctor’s warning had come to audition. Inside, Emon’s voice really impressed me, but he was not always in tune. Alisha said that though she loved his personality, he still needed more training. Same notion was echoed in Udit’s critique. Annu gave his thumbs up and Javed Saab agreed with Annu, so the verdict was a tie. Javed Saab asked the unconvinced judges to give Emon a second chance and Emon sang few lines of other song. Outside, his mum was almost having a stroke with nervous tension. Emon emerged with a golden ticket and his mum broke down hugging and kissing him. It was so sweet that I wanted me own mommy! She’ll kill me for calling her mommy! So anyway, the cutie was off to Mumbai!
Hussain then was shown waiting for the Bhubneshwar contestants – Yeah Right! Hussain took us to the City of Temples – Bhubneshwar in Orissa. He travelled to a gal’s hostel to find Idol wannabes and stated that everyone wants to venture in gal’s hostel and is not allowed – but he made it anyway. He wondered if anyone was talented enough amongst the gals there… a gal was! Anyway, so people from Orissa flocked to audition at the designated venue and five contestants were chosen from Bhubneshwar to audition in Kolkata!
Of the five, only one guy, Radha Madhav Santosh Das made it through by aping Sonu Nigam. He was wearing this God-Awful golden shirt, which Mini said she would confiscate if he wins the Golden ticket! Madhav’s tryst in audition room wasn’t really smooth sailing though, as Javed Saab was not really impressed by him and I think he got a nod just because he was Bhubneshwar. In any case, he had to give Mini his shirt – thankfully he was wearing a vest underneath it all. (Do you really love me, underneath it all! – Err… Focus! Sorry about that!) Mini ran away with his shirt! Man, is it me or is Mini really awesome this season? I love her! Yeah, I know – shocking!
So, now we meet someone, we wanted to meet like for million years… the love of many of me gals on this very site – Meiyang Chang! Dentist by profession and Chinese by ancestry… Meiyang informed us that he was third generation Chinese settled in India. As me gal said, Meiyang is very cute looking guy, very likeable personality. The acid test was whether he could sing or not. Heck Yeah! Meiyang had this amazingly clear voice, and his pronunciations were flawless. I actually said out loud that Uttam should marry him and if she doesn’t I don’t mind marrying him myself. Only thing is I would make him sing all the time. On second thoughts, I would just buy his CD! Anyway, the guy was so good that Alisha thought that he deserved to be in Mumbai and she would like to take him there. Javed Saab said that his voice had an honesty that can only come from a good man! Udit asked Meiyang, if he thought he did well to deserve the golden ticket, before Meiyang could answer – Annu told Udit to cut the suspense and give Meiyang the ticket as he had the potential to make it to the Top Five! So Meiyang, who waited for eternity to audition, without even telling his rents – made it to the next round. The hosts were ape-crazy that Meiyang made it – they both came running to congratulate him and then Mini told Hussain that Meiyang wanted to do something and Meiyang kissed Mini as well as Hussain on the cheek and they both kissed Meiyang together. It was a fabulous Kodak moment! What the heck happened to the irritating Mini Mathur I was acquainted last year! This Mini Mathur is really cool! Please don’t change Mini! Anyway, Meiyang took a dip in the fountain bed and passed his best wishes to the waiting contestants! Oh, I love this guy already! He won’t win though, because for hi to win, people would need a very broad mind and that’s not the case as far as majority is concerned! He will be the Chinese contestant – Trust me, I know this! It doesn’t matter how long he is living in India, he will always be the foreigner!
Speaking of foreigners – Indian Idol finally made it to this foreigner’s (yours truly) home! Welcome to my city, London! I don’t have to sing praises of London, because it is awesome. Only great people like Shona and I can come from this melting pot of cultures. Hussain roamed the streets of Southall and interacted with the Indians there. I was rather disappointed at the turnout for the audition in London, but I am told that show publicity was very weak! In any case, I think not more than hundred (maybe less) must have auditioned! Alisha and Annu were the judges!
The first gal to audition was Rekha Paurana – she sang, “Crazy Kiya Re”, but Alisha thought that the song did not suit her style of singing. So Annu asked her to sing something different – so Rekha sang “Bahoon Ke Darmiyaan” and there was still something odd, but I liked her. Annu said that he couldn’t really understand Rekha’s style. Outside her sister was really anxious and lo and behold, Rekha emerged with a golden ticket! Her sister was ecstatic!
Then we were shown some contestants who did not make it, notably was a guy, who was told by Annu that he should apologize to the musicians every time he sings any song! Alisha was peeved and asked Annu how he would felt if he would have received such a critique when he started. He told her he was always the best! So she countered by asking if he could sing and sure enough he started singing in his Oh-My-God-Kill-Me-Before-I-Nuke-The-Earth-Awful voice! Alisha begged him to stop!
Then we were introduced to Harshida Madhaparia – who sang, “Ja Ve, Ja Ve, Ja Mere Dholna” – Annu told her that after hearing her sing, it was obvious that she was coming to Mumbai! She was very excited and said in a confessional that she was going to India!
This led to a collage of contestants who made it to the next round from London. From my count – four people made it. I don’t have the official figures. The fact is there might be a chance that some might be travelling to the land of the forefathers for the first time and even if one contestant belongs to that group, the mission of taking Indian Idol to London was really worth it!
Back to Kolkata – we see some more contestants who made it to the next round and then we see an ultimate collage of all the winning contestants from New Delhi, Amritsar, Srinagar, Baroda, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Mumbai, Dubai, Nagpur, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bhubneshwar and London, who made it through to the Theatre Round in Mumbai! It was a very sweet recap of all the five audition episodes. Well executed and edited!
No rants this week, just a tremendous thanks to all my care-bears and an apology for sounding harsh last week, sometimes my words come across harsh as I cannot type the modulation. In any case, thanks for looking out for me!
The Theatre Round would be covered by our very own Legal Eagle Deepa, and I would be assisting her as she has requested! So see you all there… till then, Cheers!