As Sourabhee Debbarma lifted her
trophy, Darjeeling and Kashmir remembered their own reality show winners — Prashant Tamang, who won
in 2007, and Qazi Tauqeer, who triumphed in
in 2005, respectively.
The backdrop to their victories couldn’t have been more different.
Tauqeer’s win gave troubled Jammu and Kashmir a reason to celebrate. In the run-up to the finals, the state seemed to have common cause as his posters were put up all over. “Thousands voted as one to ensure Tauqeer’s victory,” recalled Qazi Rafi, Tauqeer’s uncle.
Tamang’s win, though, was engulfed by controversy. There was a near-riot before the finals, as Darjeeling residents alleged their phone lines had been jammed to manipulate votes. Tamang calmed things down with an appeal: “Please stop this. I have been selected and I am here because of your votes.” But it wasn’t over. A radio jockey mocked Tamang and Darjeeling was up in arms again. The radio jockey was forced to apologise.
Today, both Tauqeer and Tamang have settled down in Mumbai. Tauqeer is shooting for a movie and is working on singing projects, while Tamang is pursuing a career in showbiz too.