Television

Sahara's song-n-dance talent show slated for May

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MUMBAI: Duniya ko dika do kisme mein hai kitna dum! The latest programming initiative from Hindi general entertainment channel Sahara TV sees the channel muscling into the territory of MTV, Channel [V], Star and company.

The channel has announced Grooves, a song and dance talent search the inaugural edition of which starts in May 2003 and concludes next year. Grooves will follow the high profile shows featuring Karisma Kapoor and Sridevi which will launch in April.

Billed as India's first ever international talent search show 'Grooves' covers not just the four zones of India but also the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Mauritius.

The show has been conceived and will be hosted by Javed Jaaferi of Boogie Woogie fame. Auditions in India for the song and dance competitions have already commenced. The auditions are already underway in 40 cities.

Speaking on the initiative, Jaaferi says: "Our aim at the end of the year is to build a property like Miss World. I felt that I needed to move onto a bigger platform. Boogie Woogie on Sony is basically about having fun and then going home. I was looking for being associated with something that goes beyond."

The show increases in scope from zonal to national,
international and then the big event. The name 'Grooves' was chosen because while the show promises dollops of fun people across continents should be able to take it seriously. Besides Indians all groove to popular Indian music. On game shows people win lakhs of rupees out of sheer luck.

In the case of Grooves, however, the winners have the satisfaction of knowing that the rewards have come on
account of dedication and persistence.

" We are looking for amateurs for the contest the age limit is 21 years and below. The show is not just limited to Indians. People of all races and various countries can also participate. The only condition is that they have to either sing or dance to an Indian tune. Of course, in the first year most entries will be from Indians but as the show catches on it will spread its wings," adds an upbeat Jaaferi.

The 28 episodes of the zonal preliminaries will be aired on the channel in May. The four zonal finals, which will follow as well as the preliminaries, will be shot in Mumbai. The all India final comprising two episodes will be held in Lucknow.

However, due to time constraints, the zonal semi finals will be held off screen. Initial auditions will see 100 participants
being chosen in each zone. The second stage of
screening sees the number being whittled down to 21.

In addition Jafferi along with the crew members will travel to the countries mentioned earlier to shoot their final editions. Auditions in those places will be held at the same time as here. The international final editions will comprise of 18 episodes.

The grand four-hour finale the World Championships will take place next year at the Andheri Sports Complex. Besides trophies, Mercedes Benz cars await the winners.

Jafferi hinted that the second edition of Grooves could see the show going to as many as 15 countries.

One of the producers Neeraj Assie says: "From each zone we expect 10,000-50,000 entries. From each country we expect 10,000 entries. The process is extremely structured and so the there is no fear of things going haywire."

"In dance there are three categories - Free style solo (12 years and below), Free style solo (13-21) and Free Style group (below 21). The songs have two categories. There is also an exhibition category, which will consist of classical
song and dance performances. The basis for selection
of winners will include rhythm, grace, voice quality,
clarity, artistic interpretation," adds Assie.

The judges include the likes of Saroj Khan, Hariharan, Shankar Mahadevan.

"The grand finale next year in Mumbai will also see the
one-of a kind Indian song and dance awards being
presented. This will honour female and male singers, as people who have made vital contributions to music both here and in the international arena. The event will see performances by both desi as well as firangi acts," adds Assie.

Sahara said that it was looking into the possibility of tying up with local channels in those countries where Grooves is being held but where the channel does not have a footprint. Right now the entire production cost is being bourne by Sahara, which comes to around eight lakhs an episode.

The Grooves website will be launched in May to coincide with the on air screenings. The site will be interactive in
nature. It will not restrict itself to simply details
about the contest. Visitors can also learn more about
Indian music. Sahara also said that it would use its
film-based series to give Grooves winners a chance
at serious exposure.

Jaaferi also said that he would be leaving Sony's
Boogie Woogie but declined to name the person who
would fill in his shoes.

At a press meet this morning, Sahara organised to give the audience a hint of what could be expected boys and girls sang and gyrated to instantly forgettable indipop and filmi
music fluff.

Those interested in the auditions can send photographs and bio-data to PO Box No. 9862, Mumbai - 400050. The telephone number is 26434747 and email address is grooves@quartetindia.com. In Mumbai, two more auditions will be held on 22 and 23 February.

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