They came starry eyed from humble backgrounds. But today Sreeram Chandra, Rakesh Maini and Bhoomi Trivedi -- the three Indian Idol 5 finalists -- have set their eyes straight on Bollywood and are ready to rock the industry.
The fifth season of Indian Idol, which started in April, will culminate Sunday with the announcement of the winner at a grand show. Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor will mark their presence at the finale Sunday, which also happens to be India's 64th Independence Day.But win or lose, these singing youngsters are raring to go.
In fact, Hyderabad-based Sreeram Chandra, 24, has already worked with music director duo Salim-Suleiman. He recorded a duet with National award-winning singer Shreya Ghosal for a Telugu film.
"A show like Indian Idol gives hope to an aam aadmi (common man) to achieve his dreams. I was just a struggling singer in Hyderabad until four months back. Now my life has changed. I am shifting to Mumbai and looking forward to some great offers," Sreeram, who is touted to bag the title this year, told IANS.
Rakesh from Agra and Baroda-based Bhoomi too have plans of moving to Mumbai, India's entertainment capital, in pursuit of their Bollywood dreams.
"Due to my struggle all these years, I've been staying away from my parents. After Indian Idol, I want to bring them to Mumbai and settle down. I want to work towards my dream of becoming a successful playback singer and make up for the lost time with my parents," said Rakesh.
Several Agra-based associations have joined hands to make sure Rakesh returns home with the Indian Idol 5 title. He was ousted from the show in between due to lack of votes, but was brought back into the competition thanks to a special power given to the judges - Sunidhi Chauhan, Annu Malek and Salim Merchant.
Even though the competition is tough, 21-year-old Bhoomi is confident she will make it big in the long run.
"I have left my graduation for Indian Idol. I was shifting to Mumbai in June in any case to make a career in singing. But I guess god heard my prayers and gave me this show."
"Now I'll be shifting for sure as soon as the show gets over. We have been hearing how we will be swamped with offers, and I am just very excited about it," said Bhoomi, who has been appreciated for her unique voice.
The winner of this season will be given Rs.5 million in cash, a one-year contract with Sony BMG, a Tata Winger car, and for the first time, a chance to sing a song in a Yash Raj Films' project.
That itself is a big break, according to all three finalists.
The fact that the finale is being held on the Independence Day also makes it special for them.
"Independence Day has always been important. If I win, I will feel lucky that I have received my identity on a day when my country celebrates its independence. For the rest of my life I will celebrate this day as my victory day," said Sreeram.
The finale will be on air Sunday at 9 p.m.