By AnnieJ on Tuesday June 22, 2010
Debojit Saha. Salman Khan. Qazi Touqeer. Sound familiar? These were all reality show winners who were at the peak of their stardom during the show finales. But what are they doing now? What happens behind the scenes out in the real world? Do they make it as stars, supported by the janta, or does their stardom end with the season finale?
Let’s start with winner of Dance India Dance Season 1, Salman Khan. In his opinion, the real struggle begins after the show, not during it. He says, “The contestants are nobody when they are picked up by these shows, and on the show we get lot of love and support from the people for our talent. But once the show is over, you are left alone and have to move on your own. Without godfather and guidance, the journey is quite tough. Today, I have only Remo Sir to look up to from the entire show.”
Salman Khan is presently assisting Vasu Bhagnani in direction of the film ‘Faltu,’ starring Akshay Kumar, Jackie Bhagnani and Pooja Gupta. After that, he intends to be acting in a dance-based film produced by none other than his mentor Remo D’souza, and he may also do a Tamil film later. In spite of the hardships, he is grateful for having been on DID 1: “I owe everything to the show, as I always wanted to be an actor. Since I do not come from a film-family, for me it was next to impossible to even dream of something like this. I was pursuing mechanical engineering and would have continued the same had the show did not happened to me. I would have never come to Mumbai to particularly try in films.”
Unfortunately, Salman Khan is one of the lucky ones. Debojit Saha reveals a dirty truth about reality shows: “I don’t understand why when we sing in the reality shows, these music-directors would say waah waah, and when it comes to taking our voice for a playback for films, they would be reluctant. May be if they have to try new voice they go for a newcomer than taking a reality show singers, as they believe we anyway are earning from shows. Recently I had sung a song for 3 Idiots which Vidhu Vinod Chopra also liked, but at the last minute, Shaan was made to sing the song and it released in his voice. As of now, my full concentration is on playback singing.”
Debojit was also seen in another reality show, Big Boss, a show that has nothing to do with singing. When asked why he decided to appear on Big Boss, he replied, “I did not want to participate in the show but my wife persuaded me to go. I told them I will be there in the show only if I get to do my riyaaz. They allowed me so I went there with the intention of staying for not more than a couple of weeks. About money, my shows are doing well. There is no second opinion about this that I am surviving on my shows. It really helps you to go on as a singer. I have earned good name as a stage performer.” Recently, Debojit has been working on remaking a regional album by Bhupen Hazarika with the help of Hazarika’s newphew. He is also preparing to host a singing reality show for a Bengali channel, “Mahua Bangala.”
Another fantastic singer that resulted from a reality show is Amit Sana, runner-up of Indian Idol Season 1. Though he is a great singer, he has given up his dream to become a singer and instead wants to become a music director. He says, “Although my songs are ready now, I am in no hurry. I want them to be a part of a good film.” Anu Ji, who endlessly applauded Amit, apparently has not had any discussion with Amit on the matter. “No, apart from Indian idol, he himself is not composing much these days. So I know if I discuss anything with him, he may not be able to help me. He has struggled in his time, so even I want to go through the same process which will make me stronger.”
Why don’t reality show winners do well in the real world? Says Amit: “In a reality show, it is easy to come and sing some other singer’s old song, but when you are given a new song and made to sing in a studio, it’s a real testing time. Reality shows only make you popular, but soon after that, you cannot become a playback singer. Even if the show has as many as music directors in the judges panel, unless you are talented and in good terms with them, it will not help you. It is anyway not their responsibility to give us a chance. I will appreciate that I get a chance on my own capabilities, as then I will not have to share the credit of my achievement with anyone else or be thankful to them.”
Sometimes, people who appear on reality shows end up moving into other fields. Indian Idol’s first winner, Abhijeet Sawant, is now an actor and a TV host. Likewise, Meiyang Chang, another singer from Indian Idol, made his acting debut in the film Badmaash Company. Many others who dreamed of making it big in Bollywood have resigned themselves to do daily soaps instead. Struggle after the completion of a reality show seems to be common – so where does the heroism of the reality shows come into play? How have we been duped into thinking that the ordinary man is catapulted to fame and sits in the clouds thereafter?
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