The one thing that made Antakshari special.
The concept belonged to this country. It was an original idea (like the 80s shows, Buniyaad and Tamas). Today, most channels use foreign franchises. Even saas-bahu serials are inspired from shows like The Bold and the Beautiful. Antakshari’s originality made it special.
How did a singalong get so popular?
It was all about family entertainment. Everybody has played Antakshari at least once in their lifetime. So there was instant identification.
Was there a shift in TV content with the coming of satellite broadcasting?
Before satellite television, the content was very powerful. People’s aesthetics were more refined. I would say even society was a little better. But through the years, all of that changed.
There are several singing shows on TV today. How was Antakshari different?
Antakshari was never a singing contest. It was a combination of how many songs you remembered, and how beautifully you could execute them. Conceptually, there is nothing new about today’s singing contests – they are all the same.
Do you think shows are more commercial today?
There is nothing wrong in making a commercially viable show. But you shouldn’t sacrifice quality. You cannot make your concept defunct, which most production companies or channels do. For instance, if it’s a singing contest and you ask weird questions and judges pass silly comments about things unrelated to music, those things cheapen the idea of the show.
Your fondest memories as a host.
My emotions would spill out when I would sing patriotic songs. Years back, on the sets of Antakshari, a team of contestants was unable to deliver a song properly, so I started singing along with them and I choked up with emotion while singing. Through Antakshari, I tried to promote national integration, good things about India and at the same time provide healthy entertainment.
From HT Brunch, January 10, 2016
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