My Thoughts

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If you watch talent shows on Indian television. You will get the drift.

My Thoughts

Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.

The major problem with these shows is that, there are so many meaningless episodes. The countless recalls, Wildcards and celebration rounds get on your nerves sometimes. I started watching Hariyudan Naan, the other talent show on a different network and after a while when it started to follow the familiar pattern, I gave up. I had no intention to watch it till the end. It’s funny when the channel tries to justify these extra episodes…

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This weekend we have yet another movie releasing on the kind of pressure the kids go through in our education system. We had “Nanban” already this year, Amir Khan’s “Tare Zameen par” couple of years back and now it is Prakash Raj’s second directorial venture “Dhoni”. While all these three movies tackle different issues as its premise, the message is the same.

But I am not going to talk about the school system but a different kind of pressures the kids face these days. I was watching the auditions for “Airtel Super Singer junior” couple of months back and the organizers (Someone absolutely brilliant) has decided to include 5-6 year old kid in the competition. It is unbelievable as these small kids will compete against 13-15 year old kids. No matter how talented you are it is almost impossible to compete and win in a competition with older kids over a period of a long season.

But again I am not going to talk about the competition format either. This is about a single audition when a 6-7 year old kid came in and sang a song and the judges put him on waiting list. The kid suddenly stopped on his tracks and asked the judges “Appo enakku Veedu kadaikatha?” (Which translates to “Does that mean I will not get the house?) It was extremely funny and showed the innocence of the child. The competition offers the winner a flat worth 40 lakhs (roughly $80000) for kids. Isn’t that ridiculous? Obviously however smart a kid might be you wouldn’t expect a 5-7 year old kid telling their parents that there is a house on offer so I want to take part in the competition.

The fact that the kid mentioned that means that how much the parents have drilled that thought into the kids mind. This also shows the pressure the kid was facing when put on wait list. Was he nervous what his parents would say if he does not get selected? No one knows. I never followed the show after that and don’t know if the kid was ever selected. I can’t believe that the parents would want the kids to go through such rigorous competition at a very young age even though they know that the chances of winning are miniscule to impossible. The channel is at fault here too why you would invite such young kids to compete, knowing pretty well that an offer of house will make the parents to get the kids to compete at all costs.

Now with these reality television kids are facing different kinds of pressure from the parents. Not only they need to be brilliant and get rank 1 in the class but they need to compete in reality competitions and earn the parents a home? Let the kids be kids and have a nice childhood. They are going to be at the loggerheads throughout their life in the rat race of a schooling system we already have. We don’t want them to undergo the stress of competing in a reality show (A concept which even the adults have failed to master) at the age of 6. Parent’s ticket to stardom should not be through their young kids who hardly know what they are doing there and what the competition is meant to be. Apart from all this they are to compete with 14 year olds? Well I am not sure what Vijay TV is thinking. I will be surprised if a 6 year old would make it to the end of the show (Which roughly runs for 1 year) and win the competition beating a bunch of 13-14 year olds. Anyways that concludes my rant. Parents in India seems like they will never stop pressurizing their kids more and more.

Ajeesh’s “Idhuvarai” from Goa was a chartbuster and he even got an award for best young singer. Now it is the time for Renu to shine. Her song “Pappara paa…” from Vettai is a huge hit and hopefully will give her the necessary boost in her singing career. Everyone who followed the 2008 super singer would know that Renu always used to stick to melody most of the times and never attempted anything different throughout the season.For her to pull off a mass song in Vettai with considerable ease was a revelation. Kudos to her for the same and congratulations to her for getting her first hit. Nice to see the Super singer 2008 candidates succeed in the music world. Hope to see more success stories.

Airtel Super Singer 2008 winner Ajeesh won “Upcoming Singer” award in the Mirchi music awards. Ajeesh who sang the song “Iduvarai” from Goa along with Andrea won this award last week. The pair had also won the best duet award for the same song earlier and this is for sure a proud moment for Ajeesh. Ajeesh won the last serious competition I watched on television so it was great to see him win an award on his very first song.

Ajeesh is an extremely talented singer and I hope that he sings more hit songs in the future and wins many more awards.

Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.

The major problem with these shows is that, there are so many meaningless episodes. The countless recalls, Wildcards and celebration rounds get on your nerves sometimes. I started watching Hariyudan Naan, the other talent show on a different network and after a while when it started to follow the familiar pattern, I gave up. I had no intention to watch it till the end. It’s funny when the channel tries to justify these extra episodes with some weird logic. When I switch on to watch a competition, I would be happy if there is one. Like for example Airtel Super Singer comes 4 days a week, and if there is a festival on that week they go into a celebration round. Celebration round means, there is no competition, no eliminations but just some time for the network to stretch the show.

Then comes the wildcard rounds, no idea what that means. Suddenly when they have a top 10 or 15 identified, they pop this in. No idea why, suddenly they have 2 weeks of getting the eliminated singers to comeback and compete and 2 or 3 of them are called back. So 15 becomes 18 after couple of weeks and then you are back to eliminating those 3 in another 6-8 weeks before we get to 15 again. Amidst all these we suddenly have the episodes where the judges become incredibly generous and after rigorous competition and judging they say that there will be no eliminations this round. This last minute revelation keeps the audience engaged till the fourth day, because they will have no clue that the judges are going to drop this bomb on them at the end of it.

The funniest of all is the recall round, not sure what’s the difference between a recall and wildcard. Different networks use different terminologies but all these exist on almost every talent show. I did not watch Hariyudan Naan completely but I remember Airtel Super singer when they had top 7 contestants and just when we were hoping to get to the finals soon, they pulled out this recall/wild card out of the hat and had two separate rounds of that too. First the contestants who were left judged and then the judges themselves did later. Well what a great trick to extend the show.

When these shows begin the producers probably wait for the TRP and once they know that it is a hit, they just try to prolong it as much as possible. Some people enjoy it but some get terribly frustrated. It’s fine with me if they have one recall/wildcard in the entire length of the show but having multiple of them and also having these celebration rounds gets on my nerves. I just hope that we get a show which after getting to the serious competition works towards completion rather than finding ways to stretch it as much as possible. In the day and age of mega serials, it will be great to have a decent and up to the point talent show. We don’t want a “Mega” talent show too as we have enough of the mind numbing TV serials already.

Over the weekend I caught up with Hariyudan Naan after almost 4 months and it hadn’t moved that much, not surprisingly though. I saw when they had top 12, now they are at top 8. Also simultaneously on Vijay TV we have the Airtel Super Singer taking place which has barely begun at this point. I don’t expect a result on that until 2012. While watching the episode this weekend, one thing which struck my mind was most of these contests are winner takes all format, so what happens to the others?

I know that Vijay TV gives some opportunities to prior participants to sing in their tours and programs but would that be enough for someone wanting to make a career out of music? I have noticed that some of the contestants keep jumping from one talent show to the other. Like Gopalkrishnan, Barghavi, Aruna who were part of Airtel super singer 2008 participated in Hariyudan Naan and did quite well. Except for Aruna, the other two are now in top 8 but if they don’t end up in the top 5 what’s going to be their future. Do they keep shuttling between TV shows? Santosh who was also in the super singer 2008 is again back in this season.

All these competitions are judged by famous singers and some music directors too come in at some point, so it’s a surprise to me that the contestants at least the top 10 don’t land up with some chance in music. The contestants go through grueling selection process to reach a particular level like a top 8 or top 10 and when they get eliminated at that point they have to go through the same process again in a different channel or competition or just give up. This is actually really sad and must be heartbreaking for these contestants who might end up making top 10 in all competitions but not win it to make the cut.

Ajeesh won the Airtel Singer 2008 and in 3 years he has sung like 3 songs but what about the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in 2008? Where are they now? Are they getting any chances? Are they even pursuing music as their careers? No one knows.

Probably these channels should do a show every year like American Idol in the US does, where they tell us where the Idols are and what they are up to right now. The viewers watch these shows for almost a year and get involved with these contestants and when the show is over we have no clue what goes on with them except for the winner who gets to sing couple of movie songs. It will be great to know what Renu, Ranjani, Ravi, Vijay, Prasanna, Raghini (Even though we see her in Koffee with Anu) and others are doing after the super singer and whether they are still pursuing their musical dream. Probably the channels should consider doing something like that after a year of each season. Pick the top ten of the previous season and have an interview with them.

These contestants shouldn’t have to keep jumping from one show to another as at some point frustration will creep in and they will give up. The fact that some of them are able to make it to Top 10 in all the channels and competitions in front of different judges says quite a lot about their ability. So it will be great to learn what they thought about the competition and how that has helped them in their goal. Probably the channels like Jaya and Vijay should think about this. Don’t you think it will be great if these singers are invited on Vijay TV to talk about their post 2008 season life? Wouldn’t it be great? I had written exclusive reviews of Airtel super singer 2008 and would surely love to know what the contestants are doing right now.

Couple of days back I was watching our legendary film director K Balachander (KB) on an interview on NDTV-Hindu. Balachander has always struck me as a person who has very naturally transitioned to the modern cinema and has not be caught in a time warp like few others from his generation. He has been pretty gracious in appreciating work of current directors and has often publicly praised them in the media. KB also was the first movie director who forayed into satellite television. He produced and directed various down to earth, high quality television serials.

His serials had the realism and were never over the top. So that brings me to the current topic, when the interviewer asked him about the current television scenario, he said that news channels are more interesting to watch than the mega-serials and reality shows. I kind of agree with him. If you think, aside from the sports channels and News channels, the rest of the programming can be categorized into, movies, serials and Reality shows.

The mega serials are over the top, hard to believe and mostly a cry-fest. The reality shows contrary to their name has hardly any realism and movie shows are well, movie shows. The advent of reality shows in Indian television has eaten into the primetime for most of the TV channels in India. The shows look like scripted and rehearsed with no realism. They are also sometimes inappropriate and not a “Watch with the family” types. So let’s look at what the news channels bring to the plate. They have the same star interviews, news around the world, debate shows, showcase sports and other talents across India.

To be frank I feel that a channel like NDTV-Hindu has much more interesting programming compared to probably a Sun TV or a Sony TV. The news channel interviews do not use the regular superlatives to introduce an actor, like probably a Karan Johar does on “Koffee with Karan”. The interviews are much more interesting to watch and actually give a better perspective of the person than watching them on a regular entertainment channel. There are few exceptions though like Star Vijay which has much more balanced programming. Having said that I believe that to each their own and respect individual preferences.

But do I enjoy watching a NDTV-Hindu more than a Sun TV? Yes I do and I totally agree with KB sir. He also said that he would be directing another television serial pretty soon and I am sure that he will bring the necessary realism to television which has been missing altogether in recent times.

Airtel Super Singer season 3 auditions to begin soon

With the Airtel super singer juniors coming to a conclusion very soon, Vijay TV has announced that the Airtel Super Singer 3 would be beginning very shortly. Srinivas and Unnikrishnan made a special appearance on the juniors set couple of weeks back to announce that the auditions will begin soon. This is indeed great news for the Super Singer followers. It has been a year since Ajeesh was crowned as the super singer in 2009 and he has already lent his voice for a Yuvan Shankar Raja composition.

I am very eagerly waiting for the season to begin as I did not follow the Airtel super singer junior at all for the past one year and I feel there isn’t many talent shows as good as the super singer. I hope that we see great talent this year too.

Ajeesh enjoys most viewership on my blog

I started blogging about 5 years back but not until I started writing about Airtel Super singer and Ajeesh did my blog receive overwhelming viewership. During my initial days of blogging my views were limited to sports and occasional write-ups about movies but when I started watching Airtel Super Singer in 2008 I decided to write about the same.

Only when I started posting my views on the show I realized that I was not the only one who loved Airtel Super Singer. It’s amazing to see the kind of fan following Ajeesh enjoys after his victory in Airtel super singer 2008. Even after one year since his victory, Ajeesh still enjoys the most viewership on my blog. Any posts related to Ajeesh still enjoy most comments and most views on my blog which is quite extraordinary. His first song in the movie Goa seems to have had a brilliant response by his fans.

I write about Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer, Rajinikanth etc, but none of them receive the same sort of response on my blog as Ajeesh does. I wish Ajeesh who happens to be my favorite as well a very bright future.

Airtel Super singer is finally reaching the business end of the show. After meandering aimlessly for the past few weeks they have finally got back to the serious competition. The Super Singer is one of the better talent hunt shows in Tamil. I have watched few other channels trying to ape the concept but have pretty boring versions. The SunTv’s “Adhiradi Singer” is one of the worst in the pack. For some reason I am unable to watch that show in spite of my undying love for music.

Coming back to the super singer, I am happy that they have finally returned to the serious competition and the countdown for the best singer of the year 2008 has begun. The show for a while was making no sense to me. Yeah I can understand the recall round as all the reality/talent shows on Indian television have that concept but bringing back 4 singers was little bit over the top. The top 6 singers were already identified and probably adding two more singers from the recall round would have been appropriate.

Well currently they have 8 singers left and the funny part is that the two singers who got eliminated were the ones recalled. The reason for this show to stand out from the rest is their judges. Srinivas, Sujatha and Unnikrishnan are legends in their own right and are great singers. Most often the comments are measured and they give proper suggestions to the singers. They strictly stick to music rather than stupid antics to increase TRP’s for the show.

Airtel super singer for sure is one of my favorite programs on television. Well my Favorites in Top eight are Prasanna, Ravi and Ajeesh. I am fine with Rohit, Raghini and Vijaya Narayanan but I don’t think that they will win the competition. Anyways let’s see how the competition shapes up this week. I just feel that they have brought the four contestants back into the show only to eliminate them one by one, as we saw in the last couple of weeks. Already Hari and Aruna have been eliminated and for some reason Renu seems to stick on after mediocre performances just because the judge’s think that she has a good voice.

Well let’s hope that the show now moves on fast and there are no breaks in between as it has dragged around enough to get the viewers frustrated.


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