Seven non-musical notes from a musical reality show

For more than eight months now, he has held a nation in the grip, topping the TRP rankings among NRIs around the world. And after the 12 hour Marathon of the Independence Day Grand Final, there will be a lot of people like me looking for something else to do on weekend nights. Indian Idol Season 12, which ended last Sunday with Pawandeep Rajan, a musical genius from Champawat village in remote Uttarakhand, was crowned the winner, was a resounding success across the board. seen.
Six new musical talents discovered, a high number of audiences, radiant sponsors distributing cash prizes and car keys, Covid infections, a controversy, a romance, judges who disappear … Indian Idol had all the necessary drama to make a reality TV show a success.
What made him special to me was the mirror he held to young people in small Indian towns – an India that I don’t pretend to know, but admire and respect through the program.
Note 1: There is an abundance of talent in India. The contestants were dubbed the greatest talents of all time and honestly it was difficult to choose between them: each with a unique musical ability, honed by hours of practice and riyaz. But Indian Idol has done this year after year, unearthing singers from remote parts of India – made household names out of them and fed Bollywood’s insatiable appetite for songstars. Salman Ali, Sunny Hindustani and Sreerama Chandra now all have recording contracts under their belt thanks to the title Indian Idol.
A quick thought: I’m pretty sure talent isn’t limited to music. It might be worth considering a reality show to find future Olympians. Dangal Mein Mangal and Bhaag Alka Bhaag might be reality TV shows to consider!
Note 2: Parents are attentive and supportive. Pawandeep’s father taught him to play the tabla at the age of three. Shanmukha Priya’s mother silently spoke the words to each of her songs as she sat in the audience. Many middle-class parents have had to make sacrifices to make their children’s dreams come true and are doing so happily. Sayali’s mother didn’t flinch when she told the audience her husband was given a costume to be worn for the finale by his boss. Sacrifices are appreciated by children who are grateful and want to thank their parents for becoming rich and famous. This new India is a world where the family bond is strong, and love is unconditional on both sides. A model that risks disappearing in the big metros as Westernization sets in, but it is certainly joyful to see it alive and well and worthy of hanging onto it. A family that sings together stays together.
Note 3: Indian traditions like marriage within her caste and community have reinforced genetic advantages and predispositions. One of the candidates, Sawai Bhatt, came from a community of singers and puppeteers in Rajasthan. They take to the streets to entertain the crowds and collect small change after each performance. Her story touched hearts just like her song. If he didn’t make the last six, he left an indelible mark on the program. Even the winner Pawandeep comes from the Badgi community of Uttarakhand who traditionally entertain owners in return for protection. Anjali Gaikwad’s classical singing guru was her singer father who was so strict that he wouldn’t let her eat foods that might affect her voice.
No matter where they came from, many contestants came from families with a musical tradition. As community marriage is again called into question in urban areas, some inherent genetic advantages must be preserved if even one of the parents is from a musical background. This is also true in the West – many Jewish families have a musical tradition and tend to spread it by training their children in music.
Note 4: Most young applicants, despite being in their twenties, put their careers ahead of romance and marriage. Maybe the hardships they faced along the way or the family made sacrifices for them made them take responsibility. The rumor that Pawandeep and the attractive contestant Arunita are involved in a romantic relationship has always been quashed by saying that we are just good friends. Romance seemed like a luxury they couldn’t afford. Common sense seemed to reign over these sane young people. Again, I couldn’t help but compare this behavior with what is seen in elite high schools and colleges in Delhi and Mumbai where they are starting to have young romantic partners – often at price of grades and admissions to the next educational level.
Note 5: As with political elections, the Indian voter is very demanding. Pawandeep Rajan won the popular vote and the crown because his musical talent is unmatched. He can play tabla, dholak, guitar, keyboard and drums. And this despite living in a remote town in Uttarakhand without a music school! After winning the trophy, he said he would like to open a music school in his hometown. Stories of bad luck arouse sympathy among Indian voters. Pawandeep contracted Covid while filming the show, missed a few episodes, and returned with a hoarse voice. The general Indian public sympathized and sent him straight to the top of the charts. He never looked back.
Note 6: Secularism was on display throughout the show and greatly appreciated by the public. There was an Eid special where all the contestants sang qawwalis regardless of their faith and the only Muslim contestant sang a Ganesh Vandana song in another episode that brought down the house. In 2018, a Muslim candidate won the trophy by popular vote. Deeply rooted in Indian tradition, secularism is the natural result of centuries when India was a melting pot. The Indian Idol episodes gave more than a nod to secularism – it truly is a spectacle for every Amar, Akbar, and Anthony.
Note 7: Adherence to the Indian way of life is part of the DNA of the show and its competitors. Whether it’s the guru-shishya music tradition where the teacher is always obeyed or the reverence shown to movie and music star guests by touching their feet, Indian Idol is unmistakably desi. Then there is the food – the contestants prepare dishes and bring them to share, famous guests bring home cooked meals for the contestants. How can something be Indian without food being part of it? And finally, the emotion: cry (a lot), clap (while standing on the table) and spontaneously dance to catchy songs. Undeniably desi and flaunting it. Again, so different from the young people of cosmopolitan India who aspire to be the people they watch in American movies and series, regularly fail Hindi exams, prefer pani puri pizza and malpua mousse. I guess they are welcome in their choices, but it was refreshing to see young people who seem happy to wear Indian clothes and perfect their Urdu accents because they have to understand every inflection well.

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