Lyricist Javed Akhtar is more than happy with wife Shabana Azmi's performance as judge on Sony's popular music contest Indian Idol when she had to step in quickly to fill his place.
Javed had to rush to the US for some work and Shabana, like the devoted wife she is in real wife, stepped in readily.
The show on air has four judges - Javed, music composer Anu Malik and singers Udit Narayan and Alisha Chinai.
"I had to go to the US and there was no way I could cancel either my trip or the recording of Indian Idol. I was in a fix. It was then that I suggested that Shabana take my place for one episode," Javed told IANS.
Once in the US, Javed was nervous as hell about his wife's performance in the show, which aired Friday.
"I anxiously rang up the Sony heads to inquire how Shabana had done. To my delight they were thrilled by her command over the situation and her ease with the contestants.
"I guess there're some people who get it right, no matter what they do. Shabana is one of them. Now I'm apprehensive they might ask her to take my place on Indian Idol," joked Javed. <b1>
He's all for the onslaught of music contests on Indian television.
"It's a very heartening trend. I first judged Fame Gurukul now Indian Idol. And though there's no Lata Mangeshkar or Kishore Kumar on these shows, some of these contestants are really good."
What about the charge that these wannabes fizzle out with the show?
"When we say they fizzle out or that they don't make it we only mean that they don't become successful playback singers. Of course, Shreya Ghosal and Kunal Ganjawala (both very popular playback singers today) came from these music contests. But that isn't the be-all of their dreams.
"Rooprekha Banerjee from Fame Gurukul or Abhijeet Sawant from Indian Idol, I may not be singing film songs but they're earning more than what they ever dreamt of. Many of these contestants come from extremely modest backgrounds. At the least they finish from the show with many live shows in their kitty. How many Indians earn Rs.300,000-400,000 a month, like these contestants do?"
Javed now intends to be a part of Indian Idol regularly.
"I enjoy the process of watching new talent emerge from the show."