Young Indian crooners wait with fingers crossed as D-Day nears

They are young, talented and confident of winning. Each of the six finalists of Zee TV's popular music show Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005 have their fingers crossed for the January 21 mega-final.

music Updated: Jan 02, 2006 14:39 IST

They are young, talented and confident of winning. Each of the six finalists of Zee TV's popular music show Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005 have their fingers crossed for the January 21 mega-final.

In a freewheeling interview withthis agency,the contestants shared their background, dreams and desires for the future.

The hot favourite for the winner's crown for the grand finale January 21, 2006 is Himani from Faridabad, who received the maximum number of votes.

Himani: My mother has a good voice. But my grandparents never encouraged her to be a singer. My mother wanted to live her dreams through me. Of course, she never knew I would come this far.

First I learnt light classical singing, then classical. How do I sing so effortlessly? I don't know. It's god's gift. I have worked hard. I don't think I would be able to go up on stage with so much confidence if I didn't practice hard.

I am a big fan of Lataji and Ashaji. Lataji is an exception. She's a goddess to me. I also love Ashaji's naughty numbers like Shubushubu (Anamika) and O Babua YehMahua (Sadma). But I don't copy them. On stage it's my own voice. I plan to become a playback singer. I am just 17. I want to go as far as destiny takes me.

Now when they see me on Sa Re Ga Ma, folks back home are very happy with what I have achieved. When Sanjay Leela Bhansali came on stage to hug me after I sang Ni Main Yaar Manana Ni (Daag), I was ecstatic.

Nihira: I am quite nervous. I am the only one from Mumbai among the six finalists. All of us are sailing in the same boat. There are no professional singers in my home, though everyone is fond of music.

I started learning classical music from the age of nine. My guru is Vidya Zail. I learnt light classical singing from composer Kalyanji. I idolise Lataji and Ashaji, Kishore Kumar.

And from the present lot I like Kavita Krishnamurthy, Shankar Mahadevan and A.R. Rahman. On Sa Re Ga Ma I don't think about the competition. I just want to perform well. The rest is up to god.

Vineet: I am 16 years and 11 months old and the baby of the 'Sa Re Ga Ma' family. I am from Lucknow. Yes, I miss my family but have to make my career. I am known as the guy with the cap.

The cap has proved lucky for me and I always wear it while singing.

My father used to be a singer. Before I went to sleep as a child, he taught me his songs. I started singing at five and would also sing at shows. Then my family realised I was good at singing.

My studies suffered and my mother put her foot down. But I was adamant about pursuing music. My parents decided to let me pursue my goal and here I am at Sa Re Ga Ma.

My biggest dream is to buy a bungalow on Juhu beach for my parents. I want to sit there sipping coffee with my parents as the waves splash against our wall. I want a car to drive around my parents. I also want to open a school for poor children.

I am too busy practising to miss my family. I just want to concentrate on my singing. The competition is stiff but I think I might win. It all depends on the public voting. My role models are (Mohammed) Rafi saab and Sonu Nigam.

Debojit: Do I sound like Hemant Kumar to you? That's fine. Though I am

Assamese, all Bengali singers sound like either Hemant Kumar or Kishore

Kumar. I don't think they make musicians like him any more.

Hemantda had once said he had composed 250-300 tunes for one particular lyric.

I am 29. Paresh (another finalist) and I are of the same age group. I was an engineer in a government job.

It was my mother's dream to make me a singer and not have me look after the family business. After my mother fell ill and died I met a fashion designer from Kolkata. Vandana and I fell in love and got married. She changed my life.

We both left our jobs and came to Mumbai in July 2002 without telling our respective families so that I could struggle to become a singer.

The day I am able fulfil my mother's dreams and tell my wife that she doesn't need to work (she has health problems), I will sleep peacefully.

I want to be a blend of Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. I once assisted composer Pritam. I sang a song for him in a film called Shaayad which never got released.

When Javedsaab heard it, he called me home. We sat together to work on the song. It was a full solo song. I have also sung a lot of jingles.

Paresh: I am from London, so in a way the odd one out. Zee TV organised auditions in Britain and I won. I do have an accent but that has its advantages. The public votes for me for my 'cute' British accent. But a lot of people find my Hindi funny.

I grew up listening to Hindi songs. My mom is a very good kitchen singer. But I am not going to call myself amateur. I have come all the way from London to Mumbai - quite a cultural gap.

In fact, my family flew in recently to support me. My wife is also here. So far, I was surviving on my own in Mumbai. I had to re-cast myself both physically and mentally. People say I have changed, I am a lot more confident.

To make a career in Mumbai I will have to move from London. I used to work at a bank but I had to resign for 'Sa Re Ga Ma'. I am pretty confident I will win.

-*-

Hemachanda: I am Chandu from Hyderabad. For some strange reason they call me Hemu at 'Sa Re Ga Ma'. I started singing from the age of five. I released my first album at that age.

My Hindi is good. I trained with my cousin for a month to get a hang of the language. I know when I sing the accent disappears.

Of course I would like to settle in Mumbai if I win Sa Re Ga Ma. I am missing home, though all of us are comfortable. Incidentally, my sister Hemabindu was a contestant on Sa Re Ga Ma. My mother is also a professional singer and she's proud of me.

My idols are SP Balasubramaniam and Hariharan. In Mumbai I like KK the best. I love the way he has sung Tadap Tadap in Hum Dil De ChukeSanam. One of my proudest moments was when I sang Tere Mere BeechMein (from Ek Duuje Ke Liye) in front of Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 14:35 IST