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Yes, we know you know it already but Surya Ragunaathan actually heard the two Indian Idol finalists sing… Er, if you can call it that. And this is what it was like

If there is one trend that the 21st century has brought into India, it is that of reality talent shows. The biggest example of this trend is ‘Indian Idol’ according to which human beings are allowed to have only one talent: singing. However, the underlying message behind these shows is that in the 21st century, mere ‘talent’ is not enough.

‘Talent’ is the quality possessed by the guy who gets voted out in the first week by the many jobless people with mobile phones in this country. What people are looking for in their idol is somebody who can never get famous the hard way, somebody who needs help from millions of jobless viewers to stay in the race, somebody who sings songs made by someone else, somebody who has a nice smile. In short, what the public is looking for, in their idol, is an idiot.

On 10th September’07, the two Indian Idol finalists, who have been voted in by the jobless cell phone users, performed at Nirmal Lifestyle mall, Mulund. Err..did I say performed? Well, actually I don’t know if they did because the show was to start at 7pm but first… The evening kicked off with a band of desi men blowing the trumpet (literally!) and others pounding the dhol. There was much chaos in the audience. The band was dressed in saffron pagris and white traditional wear to bring out the ‘essence of Maharashtra.’

After about 20 minutes of this dhol session, the band was called off stage. Suddenly the entire arena was shimmering and the audience cheered. For a second, nobody knew what was going on. Enter Hussain – one of the ‘official hosts of Indian Idol. Girls drooled and the dhol couldn’t have gotten louder. It was almost as if people were satisfied with just oohing and aahing for Hussain on top of their lungs, their money already vasool (ed). Just when I thought the band thing is fnally over, Amit Paul (one of the two finalists) entered, to the beat of the Nasik dhol.

Somehow the organizers preferred it that way. Ditto with Prashant Tamang (the other finalist).

The patient audience cheered and grooved (yet again!). This time I was sure they would start singing. But like I told you, shows like Indian Idol are not at all about singing. The band went off stage and this time brought along with them, Sanju baba. The audience went from mad to madder. Cameras flickered and the oohing and aahings got louder than even the dhol!

Next, a pandit was called on stage to perform a puja with Sanju, for the Ganesha Idol kept in a corner. Actually, the idol was on stage since some time, but it took a star as big as Sanju for the Lord to get noticed. You see, when there is more than one ‘idol’ on stage at a time, the lesser one is always sidelined. Hmm..I digress..

50 minutes had passed. Just when I thought that Sanju, Hussain, and the two finalists were done-with the publicity of the former’s flick Dhamaal (and you thought he came there to do Ganesha puja?!), Hussain asked Sanju to sing. Well, it’s almost a rule in this country that celebs must first throw small tantrums and nakhras and then oblige the audience. So did Sanju. He finally sang his trademark ‘Collar ko thoda sa upar chadhake.’

5 more mins passed. Enter Inder Kumar – the director of Dhamaal. By now I was beginning to lose patience.

Thankfully, the stars finally left the stage and Amit Paul was called on first, to sing. He started off with ‘’Pehla nasha pehla khumaar’ – as emotionless and besur as can be. One song from a finalist is enough to make you realize that Indian Idol is definitely not a show about singing. I just couldn’t wait there any longer.

It’s unfortunate that such wannabe star-aping losers reach the finals and are groomed to ‘perform’, not sing on stage. Judged by the likes of Anu Malik, who has about as much original music talent as a truck horn, Indian Idol should indeed be called ‘Indian Idiot!’

The best part is yet to come. When asked about their schedule and how they do their riyaaz, both the finalists replied, “Oh, we don’t really get the time to do riyaaz. Bahut mushkil hai. Hectic schedule and all.” Shows, doesn’t it? The irony..

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