India Abroad August 13, 2010
Ihad once sought to become a Bollywood singer. But when I compared my singing skills to those of India’s rising talents, I fig- ured I would notstand a chance.
India is full of talented singers and there are so
many Indian reality shows where the winner is
given a huge sum of money and usually a very big
contract to sign for an album. The shows make a
large sum of money due to their popularity.
Believe me, I too am a big fan of these shows,
which portray music’s importance in Indian culture. India makes a lot of movies every year and
each movie has four to five songs. The shows bring
famous composers as judges. They are mostly
honest in judging the singers based on merit. The way they
praise the contestants would make one assume being a
singer is the thing to be.
Bollywood still has talented singers from the past. For a
movie to be famous, the music has to hold its ground. So the
composers obviously like to stick to experienced singers to
make their music reach greater heights. Thus you see not
many reality show stars get chances to sing in films. True,
the composers are giving some of them breaks. I will not
bash every Indian music composer and say they just appreciate these singers but do not give them chances, but isn’t it
time some of these singers got chances in movies.
Debojit Saha, Raja Hasan, and many others who were
praised to the skies still struggle to find consistent work.
But these singers from the shows do receive fame and
recognition. They get chances to be part of other shows. I
believe participation in these shows is opening new doors
for some of these highly talented singers.
Some composers are even finding talents abroad. Despite
having so much talent in India one would wonder why
these composers want to find singers from outside India?
This remains to be answered at some point.
Na Chore from Yamadonga) was one of the team
leaders. This concept is really unique as those who
have sung in movies and have had their chance will
be able to improve as well as earn a bit of fame via
a television series while upcoming singers will be
able to improve and have a chance in the limelight.
It is really encouraging to see that the media has
been instrumental in promoting talent via such
competitions. It is nice to encourage these singers
and give them the chance and fame they deserve in
the industry despite the increase in competition. ;
When will all the singing talent unearthed
on India’s reality shows get their big break,
wonder Hiral Gandhi and Suman Gedala.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier
Suman Gedala and Hiral Gandhi belong to the
class of 2010 at the University of Rochester
One of the leading shows for Telugu singers was Padutha Theeyaga, which was hosted by renowned singer S P Balusubramaniam. Several singers from
the show have gone on to sing in films. This show introduced singers like Usha to the Telugu movie industry.
Nowadays, there are so many shows with multiple seasons. This also means many more singers are brought into
What does this mean to the state of the Telugu music
industry? There are two scenarios.
First, when there are more chances for singers to participate in competitions, one may think it is easier to win a
competition. However, after following some seasons of
these singing shows, I have realized that there is an abundance of talent on display; the singers’ versatility and skill
Some may wonder if the Telugu music industry is losing
its originality and authenticity due to the Westernization
that is influencing Indian music. However, as much as the
music may be Westernized, most of the singers have a solid
background in Carnatic or Hindustani classical music,
Second, seeing that there is such talent in Andhra
Pradesh, the next issue is how many of these
singers are actually being given a chance to sing
in films. At the end of a particular show, a com-
poser may decide to give the winner a chance.
However, with so many seasons one after
another, it is very tough to see how those
singers will earn fame with the few chances
they are given. In Super Singer-5, what I
found interesting was the way the partici-
pants were chosen. In previous seasons, the
singers were mostly chosen on how they sang
and if they had any recording experience in
movies/albums. However, in the present sea-
son (that is coming to a close), the partici-
pants were chosen and assembled in a team.
These participants are
potential during the
lower rounds of
team was assigned a
leader who has
sung in several
one who sang
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