Gajendra Singh welcomes the show's new wave of popularity.
"When we decided to revamp Sa Re Ga Ma Pa
into its new format we had one basic target in mind.
The contestants should have direct access to the composers
so that their ultimate destination - film singing
- would be apparent to these hopefuls from the time
they enter our contest. That's why we got a whole
range and spectrum of composers - from the classically
inclined Ismail Durbar to the beat-oriented Himesh
Reshammiya to the melody-motivated Jatin-Lalit and
the all-rounder Aadesh Shrivastava - to serve as judges.
I'm happy and proud to say these judges have taken
the talented contestants under their wings and groomed
them into a kind of stardom even before they pass
through the winning post. One of our finalists Vineet
has sung all the songs for Zayed Khan under the supervision
of Himesh Reshammiya for a film Rocky."
threat from Sony's twin contests Fame Gurukul and
Indian Idol looms large over Sa Re Ga Ma.
But Gajendra isn't the least bit intimidated. "I
feel they on Sony have copied us. But their focus
isn't on singing. It's on face value. I've been doing
a musical talent scouting contest since 1994. I virtually
grew with my channel Zee. You'd be shocked to know
what kind of money I'm offered by rival channels to
join them. But I feel abandoning Sa Re Ga Ma
would be like orphaning my own baby."
dismisses Sony's twin tune shows. "Indian Idol
is all about marketing and glamour. I can't see Qazi or
any of the other winners on Fame Gurkul acquiring the durable
fame of our contestants like Shreya Ghosal, Kunal Ganjawala
and Shaan. Their star-contestants like Rahul Vaidya and
Prajakta were on Sa Re Ga Ma first. Maybe they were
lured into the other shows by the prize money and the promise
Well, let me tell you our 12 Sa Re
Ga Ma Challenge finalists have already been signed for
an album by Sa Re Ga Ma HMV. Besides, they're being
absorbed by the judges who are in a position to give them
breaks. I've more than 10 years of experience in this field.
I can recognize talent in budding singers. I'd like to feel
our show gives them a chance to really come into their own."
A lot of watchers feel Sa Re Ga Ma Challenge focuses
too much on the bickering and coochie-cooing of the star-judges.
"That's going to change as the show reaches its grand
finale," promises Gajendra Singh. "Now the focus
is going to be on the singers."
Shaan will remain unchanged though. "Why should he
want to leave, and why should we? Shaan is so endearing.
He's been with us for four years. And look how he took over
from Sonu Nigam who people said was irreplaceable."
about three months, Gajendra Singh also returns with Zee's
other TRP-booster Closeup Antakshari. "I can
promise you it'll be bigger and brighter than before."
For some strange reason John Abraham bit into Akshay Kumar's
shoulder while talking to Cyrus Broacha on MTV's Big
Picture. Maybe John was hungry. Maybe he needed to sink
his teeth into a good role (and mistook his co-star's shoulder
for one). Maybe John has a peculiar way expressing his warmth
to male co-stars.
one warm lady who I welcome on TV. "And now I'm returning
to my Gujarati roots," smiles Asha Parekh. "The
Gujarati serial Akhanda Saubhagyavati, which I'm
producing, goes on ETV Gujarati this week. It's a proud
moment for me. I've always felt my work and my art should
keep me close to my roots. There's a myth that actors do
regional films only when they're on the way up or way out.
That's such a parochial attitude. Latabai who's our greatest,
has sung in so many Indian languages. If Lata can do it,
why not Asha?" she jokes.
And reveals how even at the peak of her career she acted
in three Gujarati films. "My first Gujarati film, coincidentally
called Akhanda Saubhagyavati was a smash success.
That was 40 years ago when I was really busy with my Hindi
film career. Not once did I think I was going to compromise
my career by doing a film in my own language."
Akhand Saubhagyavati will be the third Gujarati serial produced
by Asha Parekh. "I had produced Jyoti for Doordarshan
which was a kind of landmark for regional television. Then
I did Nari Tu Na Hari for ETV Gujarati
And now I'm
back with a new daily."
will neither direct nor act in her new serial. She's also
going full-steam ahead with plans to make a Hindi serial
with an army background for a major channel. "But right
now it's my Gujarati serial which excites me. Earlier we
made the mistake of undermining television as a medium.
Today we're making the same mistake by undermining regional
cinema and television. Look at the reach of Bhojpuri, Bengali
and Tamil cinema. TV too is has a niche significance. There's
room for programming in every genre and language. The sooner
we realize it the better."
must say it was a good experience," says the host with
the most Amitabh Bachchan about the latest celebrity special
on KBC, bringing together the iconic Sania Mirza
and Lara Dutta.
details of the unexpected synthesis of sports and cinema,
Star's COO Samir Nair says, "We've got Sania and Lara
together as a Children's day special. Why these two? Well,
Sania needs no justification. She's a youth icon, and though
she's the queen of endorsements, she needs no endorsement.
Getting her on the hot seat was a challenge, and we proved
equal to it. We needed a spunky spirited woman of today
to complement Sania on the hot seat. Lara fitted the bill
perfectly. She's young articulate and intelligent. They're
very, very watchable together. Both Lara and Sania represent
the spirit of youth and are role models for kids this Children's
Day. Like Sania, Lara started very young. She became Miss
Universe when she was in her teens. Ask Mr Bachchan, Lara
and Sania are dynamite together."
The Children's Day special to be telecast on Sunday 13 November,
has many interesting interludes, not only with the two star
guests but also with their respective families.
Nair, "Sania's father is on the show along with her
mother and sister. Everyone always wanted to know what Mr
Mirza is like. Mr Bachchan finds out for us. AB talks quite
extensively with Sania's dad about many subjects including
dad reveals how expensive it's for the star-daughter's entourage
to be carted from one international venue for the game to
the best part of the show is the chemistry between the two
very, very appealing."
much prize money do the dynamic duo finally obtain? No one's
telling. But Sania and Lara apparently go up to the 1 crore
prize, and then lose money by giving the wrong answer.
has at least two more celebrity specials lined up this season
on KBC. Hrithik Roshan will appear with Priyanka Chopra,
and if all goes well, we'll see Abhishek on the hot seat
with the mega-anchor in the grand finale of KBC.
But for that, the junior Bachchan needs to get over his
nervousness about the experience.
Rukh Khan's pic from: www.planetbollywood.com
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