And the hunt goes on…

Talent HuntToday the country is overflowing with young talent not only in the big cities but even small towns and villages. Rich or poor, literate or illiterate, handsome or ugly…..they have it all…after all The Almighty does not discriminate between his children on these parameters while adding a pinch of sweetness to the voice of one or gifting a magical pair of dancing shoes to another. There is indeed no doubt that in this age the birth of the talent hunt shows have been a real boon to the “Gifted” ones. These shows provide a platform to the youth for display of talent in various fields, be it music dance drama or even mental skills. Whether this idea, or rather this phenomenon of talent hunt has dropped straight from heaven or was borrowed from Hollywood, it certainly has been a super hit. These shows spell fame and recognition, produce overnight superstars but most importantly they SELL DREAMS…. which also happens to be the primary reason why these shows have gained immense popularity throughout the nation cutting across boundaries of religion, language, class and caste.

Till now, having a godfather in the film industry was considered as an essential formula for success and instant fame. However, an outsider who entered the industry had to be prepared for a long battle ahead and where success was only a dubious end result of a never-ending struggle. But with the advent of a plethora of talent hunt shows on TV today, many have climbed the ladder to success and have made their mark on the big screen.

Boogie Woogie, a dance program aired on Sony TV, not only happens to be one of the first and the longest running talent shows in the country but it also provides a full hour of entertainment for old and young alike. People from of all age groups, toddlers to teenagers and mothers to grandmothers take the stage to display their dancing prowess or simply to shake a leg. Such shows also give boost to young dancers as well as regional dance troupes and encourage them to live their dreams and continue to walk on the path they have chosen for themselves however unconventional it may be.

Recently a number of shows have propped up that focus on providing a platform to young budding singers of the country. Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Star voice of India are some of the biggies through which some of the greatest singers have found their voice and embarked on the journey to a long lived success.

But at the same time let us not forget how these very channels in the name of “finding and nurturing the best talent of the country” use these shows to suit their bank balances. They consciously create controversies and issues in order to increase their TRPs or gain greater viewership than another talent show being aired on a rival channel. Opinions clash and judges walk out (only to return within two minutes “right after the break”!!). Mobs gather outside the studio ready to assault the jury for their “unjust verdict”. The judges’ harsh comments as well as the result rounds are a green signal for the contestants to turn on the taps and weep inconsolably. Emotions are faked and tears are measured in terms of TRPs earned. Moreover the system of choosing the winner on basis of public vote leaves the poor contestants to the mercy of the public The voting pads are handed over to the TV viewers who are convinced into emptying their pockets by sending their votes via SMS “to save their favourite contestants” (which happens to be just another money minting strategy!!). Viewers are biased towards participants hailing from their hometown and thus caste votes on regional basis rather than on basis of their singing ability. As a result, often the deserving candidates lose out in this struggle and are once again lost in the crowd. The public may display extreme love and affection for some of the contestants, but its memory being short lived….no sooner are they out of sight they are out of mind. Where are the Qazi Tauqueer (fame gurukul), Sandeep Acharya (Indian idol), (Sa Re Ga Ma) and the like….today they are just names and faces long forgotten! After releasing their respective bumper music albums that were a part of a “1 crore contract” these “winners” too have lost out in the race, been unable to sustain their identity barely a few months after their images had begun to fade away from the small screen. Had they not been “promised a flourishing career” for which many sacrificed an entire year of studies….. whereas the “bright future” they had all been talking about in the promos…has it after all, been shadowed by the clouds of reality?

It is evident that even though these shows may have brought a fresh hope for the young singing dancing or even literary prodigies of our country, yet these talented individuals have been unable to find a footing in this industry of godfathers, alas! They have been unable to carve a niche for themselves in their area of expertise. Were they found only to be lost again? Is there nothing at all for such gifted persons beyond those 100 days of glamour? Had these much talked about talent hunt shows been introduced only to fill the bellies of the channel owners? We fear to ask ourselves these questions perhaps because we don’t like to believe the answer that we all know, or maybe because we really don’t care as long as the channels are airing our favourite talent hunt shows and providing an hour full of sugar and spice.

Tripti Bhatia