From being a contestant of a music reality show (Meri Awaaz Suno) to a judge of another (Indian Idol 5), how do you define this journey?
The journey has been pretty exciting. In 1996, Meri Awaaz Suno was the greatest musical talent hunt show. I was a part of it. In fact, I won the show.
Getting the trophy from Lata Mangeshkar's hands is still the most memorable day of my life. And now, in 2010, I am part of Indian Idol, which is a first-of-its-kind music reality show.
What are the differences you can see between Meri Awaaz Suno and today's music hunts?
Meri Awaaz Suno was a musical show that was pure. There wasn't any voting system or elimination round. It was the panel of judges who would decide who is a better singer. So, I would say that it was a rather tough and a proper competition.
Now, a lot depends on voting. As a result, at times, good singers get eliminated, while average singers win the show.
What took you so long to debut as a reality show judge?
No special reason. I got many, many offers to judge reality shows till date. But I didn't want to do it them, so I stayed away.
Now I felt up to judging Indian Idol 5, so I am doing it.
Do you think musical talent hunt shows help contestants get a foothold in Bollywood playback singing?
I don't think so. Musical reality shows give you a platform to showcase your talent to the world. But that doesn't mean that success will come easy to you.
Only if you are genuinely talented, you can make it to the top. There are no shortcuts. But then, I hope we will keep on providing platforms to people so that the real talents can come to the limelight.
Text: Sreya Basu/ Trans World Features
Images: Avishek Mitra/ Trans World Features. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited