Bathinda’s Indian Idol believed in his dream of making it big as a singer despite poverty
Family, friends celebrate shoeshine boy turned singer Sunny Hindustani’s win by dancing to the dhol; sisters recall how he was firm on achieving big and pleaded with his mother for that one chance to audition
BATHINDA: Dreams come true if you believe in them.
Bathinda’s Sunny Hindustani, 21, proved just that on Sunday night when he won the Indian Idol title at the singing reality show on TV. Besides the trophy and ₹25 lakh prize money, he won fans across the country. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s among them and tweeted: “Happy about talented #Punjab boy #SunnyHindustani winning the #IndianIdolGrandFinale. @sunny_singer11 you have made us all proud. Congratulations and wishing you all the success ahead.”
Back in Bathinda’s Amarpura Basti, celebrations spilled over to Monday with people from all walks thronging his bare, two-room home to congratulate his family. Residents of the locality danced to the beats of the dhol, while his family recalled his tough, but determined, journey from a shoeshine boy to a singing sensation without any formal education in music. During the TV show, he was known for rendering legendary singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs.
Sunny’s elder sister Maya said the family had never imagined Sunny would achieve what he has. “We have lived in poverty. Sunny had to polish shoes outside the bus stand in Bathinda to earn a living for the family after the death of our father, Nanak Ram, in 2014,” she said.
“We used to ask Sunny to work to earn a livelihood instead of dreaming of becoming a singer but he was firm and used to say that one day he will make a name in singing and bring the family out of this poverty. Now, he has done that!” said his younger sister, Rekha.
The family’s home still has no toilet or kitchen, while doors have been installed with money received from a Germany-based non-resident Indian (NRI) family. “Construction of the toilets and kitchen is going on,” she said, adding that residents of the locality are eagerly waiting to welcome their hero.
Sunny dropped out from school after Class 6 and started polishing shoes at the bus stand for a living.
On his passion for music, Maya said that he used to make a tabla out of even plastic boxes at home! His father sang at fairs besides working as a shoeshiner.
His mother, Soma Devi, used to sell balloons and collect rice as alms.
Sunny had started singing in religious congregations at Sangaria town in neighbouring Rajasthan at age of 11.
While interacting with the media on visiting his hometown earlier this month, Sunny said that he had to borrow money from friends to take part in the audition of the reality show contest even though his family was hesitant. He said he asked his mother to give him one last chance to take part in the audition.
The rest, like they say, is history.