Reality TV is the new talent factory for Bollywood music

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By Natalia Ningthoujam

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) Singing-based reality shows have been going on for years and have given some gems to the industry such as Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Arijit Singh and Neha Kakkar. Such shows have proven to be great platforms for aspiring playback singers but it’s very rare that as many as four contestants of a show get picked by Bollywood while the competition is still on.

That just happened in the recently concluded “Indian Idol 11”. While Sunny Hindustani, Rohit Raut, Jannabi Das and Ankona Mukherjee were all vying for the coveted title, they got the ticket to Bollywood even before the show concluded in February.

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Sunny, who also lifted the “Indian Idol” trophy, has started rolling in Bollywood. He was spotted by well known composer-singer Shankar Mahadevan during the show and as they say, rest is history. Sunny, the shoeshine youngster from Bathinda in Punjab, went behind the microphone with Shankar for the song “Jugnu” from Kangana Ranaut-starrer “Panga”. The young singer also sang “Rom rom” for composer Shamir Tandon for the film “The Body”, starring Emraan Hashmi and Rishi Kapoor. He is now looking forward to record a song with his former judge Himesh Reshammiya.

“I used to think that there would be a day when my songs would feature in films…During the show only, I got to sing in such big movies and for big stars. I can’t express how happy I am. The credit goes to the people who prayed for me and voted for me,” Sunny told IANS.

Along with him, Rohit and Ankona have also been given music offers by Himesh.

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“I have always believed that there is a place for each one of them as far as singers are concerned and I have been always supporting good talent on reality shows and giving them break in films whether it’s Darshan Raval, Mohammed Irfan or Sunny, Rohit and Ankona. As far as the music industry is concerned, there is so much work and since each singer has his or her own zone and range, I don’t feel that anyone will be deprived of work if he or she has talent which is great and unique. I also feel that for the singers to survive longer, they need to not depend on composers but they should start composing songs for their voices,” Himesh told IANS.

Jannabi also walked home with a music contract by “Zingaat” hitmakers Ajay-Atul.

What’s more? Music label giant T-Series took the plunge in reality shows this year and signed on Sunny.

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“If you look around, each and every person is filled with talent whether it’s singing, dancing, art, history or acting. ‘Indian Idol’ is one such place that gives a huge platform for upcoming singers. Since the time my father established T-Series, we have believed and tried to bring forth new talent via our music label. We are completely into helping new singers nurture and explore their talents via our platform,” Bhushan Kumar, Chairman and managing director, T-Series, told IANS.

“Sunny will be singing a song in one of our films that’s under production and then hopefully with audiences’ love, we will collaborate on more songs together. He is an amazing talent,” he added.

In the past also, some of the reality show contestants got absorbed in the industry but this year, it seems like Bollywood is taking an extra step in making dreams of reality show singers come true.

“We as an industry are not trying to create a trend. Our industry has always been welcoming new talent be it actors, writers, directors, filmmakers or music artistes. It’s our responsibility to help fresh talent reach out to our audiences. We get a chance to meet and know singers via reality shows, concerts, YouTube videos, and other sources, I consider it as my father’s and my vision to give them a platform to grow and nourish their talent,” said Kumar.

Darshan, former participant of “India’s Raw Star”, got his Bollywood break in 2015 with Salman Khan-starrer “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”. Since then he has given Bollywood hits like “Chogada”, “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga” and “Odhani”. He feels that reality TV shows are like national level competitions.

“When you participate in a reality show, you overcome a big struggle. Like in sports events, there is state level and national level. Similarly, I consider reality TV shows as national level competitions. Contestants are already sorted out and taken in reality shows,” the singer told IANS.

“Composers and people can watch you and listen to your voice. That’s why reality show contestants have got offers in the past also. They are helpful for everybody.”

But the journey doesn’t end there.

“You have to keep working hard, no matter what. You have to keep getting better because everyday the scene is changing and you need to adapt, you need to be true to your art then people will keep on loving you,” said Darshan.

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at natalia.n@ians.in)

–IANS

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