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Reality TV Twist: Younger Music Artistes Move In As Judges, Mentors

New Delhi: For long, artistes like Anu Malik, Alka Yagnik, Shaan, Sonu Nigam and Himesh Reshammiya have either served as hosts or mentors or judges on music-based reality shows. Now, there is a shift noticeable. The job is being taken up by a younger lot of musical stars like Guru Randhawa, Jonita Gandhi and Armaan Malik. The veterans see this as a good change.

Shankar Mahadevan is currently seen as a mentor for children participating on the reality show “Taare Zameen Par”, along with Tony Kakkar and Jonita Gandhi.

“We have to move forward with change. We learn a lot from them (young singers) because they are today’s performers. They know the pulse of the nation. They also learn a lot from me. It’s a two-way street. Gulzar sahab always says ‘you have to hold the hands of the youngsters and move ahead with them’. What you can learn from youngsters is that you can update your own energy. It’s about maintaining a certain energy,” Shankar, who had earlier co-judged a reality show with younger artistes like Monali Thakur and Diljit Dosanjh, told IANS.

“Many artistes tend to live in the glory that they had achieved in the past. We should remember that we don’t only learn from the elders, but also youngsters. For examples, Jonita Gandhi is a fabulous singer. It is so lovely to see that energy come next to you. Needless to say, they also learn from my experience, my classical knowledge and body of work. It’s a great combination of somebody who is experienced and somebody who is a current sensation,” he added.

Himesh had been on the judging panel of popular shows like “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs” and “Indian Idol”.

“After judging about 15 to 16 seasons of reality shows, for me the journey has just begun because every season is a different experience. Every time, it gives me a fresh perspective towards the world of music and that is why I have been able to reinvent myself,” he said.

He not only looks forward to meeting new contestants, but also fellow judges.

“Experienced judges — you get to know their perspective towards music. All of them have been achievers whereas the relatively new ones like Neha Kakkar and Guru Randhawa, their perspective is very fresh. I am happy judging these shows,” said Himesh.

Singer Javed Ali is also a known face in the world of music shows apart from Bollywood.

The judge of shows like “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs”, “Superstar Singer” and “Indian Idol”, feels that a combination of old and new judges is always ideal.

“It’s good. This way, everyone gets a chance to mentor or judge a show. I am happy to see the new lot coming in,” he told IANS.

But he feels that an experienced judge is able to point out and explain the strengths and weaknesses of a contestant better.

“Anyone can say ‘you have sung beautifully’. But what specifically? Point out what is good, what can be improved and show it practically. Youngsters do that less,” said Javed, who isn’t a fan of judges yelling at contestants and the “fake unnecessary drama”.

Such shows generally connect with the youth, so do the new-gen judges help to get high TRPs?

“Popularity of a show grows because of the contestants, not the judges. The panel is important, but most important is the contestant. They need to perform well. Ultimately, a show runs on contestants,” he said.

“No one will say ‘wow what judgement!’ That’s secondary. It’s a about ‘wow kya gaaya hai (how well he or she has sung),” he shared.

Moving on to the younger lot. Today’s, pop sensation Guru Randhawa had once judged a show titled “Love Me India”.

“With the reach that television enjoys, I have always believed that it has great scope to transform lives, give direction and change perception of mentors and participants both. Some of the biggest names in our industry have come from reality shows,” he said.

Talking about his experience as a judge, he said: “I wasn’t judging the kids, but in fact learning from those talented kids. They had great theory knowlege and we as judges came with experience, so it was a great match. I really liked to witness talent that share the same passion, love for music like I do. All I could do was guide them on stage, help them pick the right number that do justice to their vocal chords.”

Singer-composer Ankit Tiwari has been in the music industry for long, but it’s only now that he has decided to be a part of a reality show. He will be seen as a captain in the upcoming show “Indian Pro Music League”.

“I will be the captain of a team in the show. It’s very different from what the audience has seen so far. It’s like a sports league. As a kid, I used to watch reality shows, especially ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ when Sonu Nigam used to be the host. There were lots of gurus. So I used to get to learn a lot and get inspired,” said Ankit.

As for show makers roping in younger generation music artistes as judges and mentors on reality shows, he said: “Such changes have taken place in the past also. We had seen and are seeing it now too. Not just the judges, but formats have also changed. Nothing can’t stay forever, so a change is good for growth and new thoughts.”

(NATALIA NINGTHOUJAM/IANS)

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