Television

Sony unveils 'Indian Idol' plans; winner to be crowned in Feb

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MUMBAI: Sab Kuch Bhula De! (forget everything). That is Sony's tagline for its biggest show of the year, the reality-themed music event Indian Idol.



As reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, the show, which will have 33 episodes, hits Indian television in October.



The entire process, which kicks off with the auditions next month, will last seven months. The winner will be crowned in February and would get a contract worth Rs 10 million with Sony Entertainment. He/she will also be awarded a recording contract with a major Indian music label.



The channel's massive audition hunt will commence next month. It has signed two production houses - Optimystix and Miditech - to assist in its Indian Idol journey. The latter will look after the auditions while the former will be in charge of constructing the studio for the later stages of the event.



Channel Speak



Present at a media briefing this morning to announce the show's launch was Sony's executive VP programming and response Tarun Katial. 



Said Katial, "This is not just about who sings best. It is about who makes the nation sing. This is a part of our attempt at building distinct and alternative content. Next month we will be launching two shows in the 8 to 9 pm slot. Through Indian Idol , we are capitalising on the trend of music becoming the lifestyle of the youth. It is not about finding another pop band to put on air. It is about finding real talent from different genres of music the democratic way, as viewers will get to choose the winners. The show will be hosted by Aman Varma and Mini Mathur."



Katial, however, did not divulge details of time bands or slots that Indian Idol would be put on saying that an announcement to this effect would be made in due course.



The format was conceived by Fremantle Media, 19TV and Simon Cowell, one of the judges on the American Idol panel. 



Present today was Fremantle Media Asia operations director Patrick Shult. He said, "It was in 2001 that 19TV's Simon Fuller presented the concept to our president Allan Boyd. It was picked up by ITV. 14 million viewers tuned in for the final episode to see Will Young become the first Pop Idol. It spread quickly to South Africa, the US. Now besides India we are developing localised versions for Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia."

 

The Process



The first phase of the Indian Idol rollout is from 20 August. Here, aspirants between 16 and 35 would be invited to phone-in -- either through a landline phone or a mobile -- and register. This is also the show's target audience. This would be applicable to ten cities. Auditions will then be held from 8 September to 8 October in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.



From what could be 40,000 hopefuls, between 100 and 160 contestants will be chosen for the second round of auditions to be held in Mumbai. And from 100 -160 participants, the list will be narrowed down to 30 in the Theatre Round. This will be followed by the Piano Round scheduled to take place in November.



At this stage, the viewer gets involved from home. He/she through mobile or e-mail picks out the preferred singer during each episode.



This way the viewer picks ten finalists who would participate in the Gala episode. The Gala episode would kick off sometime in December. The show by then becomes a nail-biting countdown with one member getting eliminated in each episode.



Production Challenges



Each Gala episode will be built around a particular theme, therefore, Optimystix's challenge will be to change the look and feel of the set each time. 



Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, company director Sanjiv Sharma said the set would not be an exact replica of what could be seen on American Idol on Star World. Added Sharma: "We have been able to study the different sets of the countries where localised versions of Pop Idol have been held. We will combine different elements. Of course, the look and the feel of the show will get more sophisticated as it progresses."



Miditech will have a 100-member crew working during the previously-mentioned one month audition period. From the creative viewpoint, the challenge will be to create a personality around each participant. This will start from the audition process itself and promises to be more than a handful from the logistic point of view.



Miditech president Niret Alva said that different kinds of venues ranging from stadia to conference halls had been chosen in the host cities.

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