This festival season brings hope to Indian girls who want a career in pop. A big search is on for Spice Girls with an Indian tang.
Channel V, part of the Star TV stable, and Times Music, Times of India's music label, are on a nationwide talent hunt. On December 25, they will launch the promos for V Popstars, which they call "the biggest reality show on music television".
The jury boasts Shubha Mudgal, the classical diva with an interest in pop, and Sandeep Chowta, music composer for big names in the Hindi film industry. Since the world of the music video calls for singing talent plus presence, the organisers have roped into the jury Manish Malhotra, who designs costumes for the pretty faces of the Mumbai film industry. Devika Sharma and Sushma Reddy represent the channel, and these judges will together start looking for Indian spice in mid-January. Towards the end of the contest, Shobhaa De, society columnist and novelist, and Seymour Steines, who launched the careers of Madonna, Talking Heads and Sex Pistols, will join the panel to decide who wins.
A Channel V team spoke to reporters in Bangalore the week preceding Christmas. The show gets the "reality" tag because the various levels of audition will be telecast over 14 episodes. Clearly, this is going to be the Kaun Banega Crorepati of music television.
The first episode will be telecast across five channels of the Star TV network: Star World, Star News, Star Plus, Star Gold and Channel V.
Indiatimes.com is hosting a special page for the contest, and the publication group also plans to promote the album at its Planet M music outlets.
"The winners will be groomed by music directors like Sandeep Chowta, Jatin-Lalit, Rajesh Roshan and Shankar Ehsaan Loy," says Devika Sharma, "and they will be ready to take on the whole of India and go international too."
Just as Kaun Banega Crorepati is based on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, V Popstars is a based on a format developed by Zeal Television, which was launched earlier this year by Sportsworld. The show has led to the formation of bands like Bardot in Australia, HearSay in the UK and Sugar Jones in Canada.
Sameer Nair, executive vice-president (content and communication, Star India Pvt Ltd, says, "Kaun Banega Crorepati kept the nation spellbound by showing that anyone can be the next crorepati. V Popstars intends to throw open the doors of fame".
The jury will travel to several cities and shortlist 24 girls. The "docusoap" will capture the "tears, smiles, tensions, trials and tribulations" of the girls who would be stars.
on 25 December 2001
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