For Hyderabad boy Sreeram Chandra, this Independence Day couldn’t have been more special. He realised his dream of winning music reality show Indian Idol 5, and can't wait now for his next dream - of singing for Bollywood and Oscar winning music composer A R Rahman - to come true.
"My next dream is to make it big in Bollywood," Sreeram, who was declared the winner of Indian Idol 5 on Sunday, said.
"I want to sing hit songs, be a well-known playback singer and be a star performer. I want to learn a lot. 'Indian Idol' has given me a concrete base to create a name for myself and I want to improve on it by working with all the music directors, especially A R Rahman sir," he added.
Sreeram, an engineer, is not from a musical family. As a struggling singer back in Hyderabad, he used to audition for regional reality shows, sing for small budget films and lend his voice for chorus, jingles and radio advertisements.
But his consistently melodious performances on Indian Idol struck the right chords with judges - Sunidhi Chauhan, Annu Malek and Salim Merchant as well as various Bollywood celebrities and the audience alike.
He says the feeling of waking up as Indian Idol 5 was "amazing".
"Every morning before the finale, we used to wake up with the conviction of working hard towards the title. When I woke up today [Monday], it was a different feeling. I wasn't just Sreeram anymore. This show has given me a new identity - of being Indian Idol 5," said the 24-year-old.
Along with this new identity, Sreeram has also won Rs 50 lakh cash, a one-year contract with Sony BMG, a Tata Winger car, and a golden chance to sing a song in a Yash Raj Films' project.
It couldn't have been bigger and better, he says.
"I feel blessed that I was a part of Indian Idol 5 where they are giving me a direct entry into Bollywood with the chance to sing for one of India's biggest production houses - YRF. No previous 'Indian Idol' has got this chance, and I hope this boosts my standing as a singer," he said.
He is also excited about the opportunity of creating his own album and says he would like to sing all kinds of songs because he considers himself a "versatile singer".
For now, he is in a party mood and wants to rush back to his hometown Hyderabad to thank and acknowledge all those who supported him.