Zee Marathi Saregamapa is degrading itself

I am not sure if it is just my sentiments and personal views or is it really a general public opinion and I will be depending on readers’ comments to understand the ground level situation. This week, Apoorva Gajjala was eliminated from the current season of Zee Marathi Saregamapa and it hurt. I should so much be used to this now that in this country quality is not appreciated above the clan, cast dynamics. However, I am not getting that thick skinned. During the Little Champs season, when I was not happy about Kartiki getting mileage over Arya & Prathamesh I got lot of bashing and some of it was full of hatred. I did not take it much to heart and thought this was going to happen.

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Zee Marathi Saregamapa – Apoorva Gajjala goes Shalmali Sukhtankar way

Zee Marathi Saregamapa team has done it again and again and again. So I was not surprised when out of Rutuja Lad, Swarada Gokhale and Apoorva Gajjala, Swarada did not go out.

Swarada was not at all a finalist still she came to the top 10 without anyone blinking an eye at ZM-SRGMP. Apoorva had to fight. Ashwini Deshpande went before Swarada and now Apoorva has also been thrown out. She will get a chance in the next week alright. But look at the morale of the participant.

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Zee Saregamapa – Finally Rutuja Lad is appreciated

This week we finally saw Rutuja’s talent being appreciated. I was wondering how she did not directly reach the finals despite getting good marks. Looks like that has a good effect on her and she has bounced back. When all the hyped toppers showed complacency and some made really unforced errors as they say in tennis, Rutuja maintained her progress and sang really well. Not sure if she will win the finals as the competition is tough. But I certainly think she will and should be one of the top 3-4.

Rutuja Lad – Ghei Chhand Makarand

Pause & Shift + Delete

There has been a long pause from my side after the finals of Zee Marathi SRGMP Little Champs final. I am not really in state of shock but nothing really happened to write on. I was planning to write on the new SRGMP show aani आजचा आवाज वगैरे पण …
From the first episode itself, this show did not excited me. Most of my family members reacted that after the Little Champs, it looks like that this today’s voice needs training. Little champs were far better at presenting old songs. I could not agree more. I am wondering will this be the future of little champs as well?
Also what Pt. Hridaynathji said about having a nice mehfil and bringing out a CD etc. seems to be a far fetched idea as of now. There are hardly any new songs and although Pallavi keeps saying what a great performance to everyone, my mind does not agree.
One of the good parts is to hear Pt. Hridaynathji. His comments are really excellent feedback. He is honest and does not favour anyone. Suresh Wadkar… I feel that when you have someone like Panditji sitting next to you, you can only say “मम”.
Life has taken an unexpected turn and after the first episode, I am in US for company work. I will not be watching the show live as earlier. May be I will get to see repeat telecasts, but unless I hear something out of the world, my fingers will not let me blog about this show.
That’s pause for the time being….
You tube once again has shown its magic and our beloved friend ahonkan‘s account seems to have been suspended once again. Should be thank or curse someone for this? Did Zee Marathi complained to You Tube now that they are marketing Little Champs songs and videos? I thinks there is a huge community out of Maharashtra and India who are dying to get this treat for their ears. Zee Marathi will not feel any impact on their sells if they allow these videos to be online. It in fact is adding to their TRP. I am hopeful that they have not taken any such step and ahonkan will be back soon with all his videos intact. Let it be just a Delete and not Shift+Delete… you know what I mean.

Zee Marathi – Kartiki Gaikwad wins and that was easy guess

Nothing beyond obvious. Kartiki wins the Saregamapa Little Champs and I never had doubt that she wont. This is democracy guys. My congratulations to Kartiki. She is a good singer and has great potential. This win will help her reach excellence. I had given some words of advise earlier and I am sure they have not gone well with some fans. Some people have also replied I don’t understand music and so on. One of the harsh realities of life are coming out with this competition. I was moved by the purity of  heart shown by these children and may God keep their hearts as pure as they are. That said still one has to be assertive in life and make judgments and give opinions. As much as we must respect the opinions of the people who made Kartiki win, I believe the opposite opinions should also get respect and the fair comments should be accepted without bias to go forward in life.

The old battle of casts seems to be engulfing us over the internet as well. As soon as the contest is over and news papers are making their pages open for comments, some real nasty comments are visible on the net already. See this link on eSakal giving news of Kartiki’s win. Some people have gone ahead and said that the losers (Is that the right word? No. Runner ups) did not get the trophy because of their surnames and the others have replied in the spirit of तुमचं ते प्रेम आणि आमचं ते लफडं? Now this kind of discussion is not going to lead us anywhere. It is going to bring back the issue of reservation back on the discussion boards of internet and it’s going to turn really ugly fight.

See the system we have here and the kind of arguments we hear. If you are from so called upper class and give comment about someone who is a little less performer but from so called lower class, then you are criticizing just because he/she is from lower cast. If you are from SCUC (so called upper class) and you promote the good performer from SCUC, you are still racists. There is a deductive conclusion drawn here.When you praise SCUC performer, the SCLC performer is bad hence you are racist. Now if you are from SCUC and you praise someone from SCLC, then the SCUC people think this guy is paid to promote. Where the fact could be both – you are trying to promote the candidate and say some good words to encourage OR you are really paid (not directly always… but may be instructed to do so by those who pay you) In today’s world most of the minds pick up the negative option. So whichever way you go you are killed.

Fortunately Zee Marathi has one advantage. The judges in Marathi give detailed comments compared to its Hindi counterpart. Also they don’t give 100% marks to everyone every time. They do grade the performers. My request would be to consider the total marks of each candidate in this show. Whatever anyone may call me, I still believe, Arya is best because of her versatility and Prathamesh second because he is reaching for excellence in his chosen path and has got best scores so far. I would rate Kartiki as third on merit. She definitely has great voice quality. It is clean and her throw is very powerful and the rustic feel is suitable for the songs she likes, but one must remember she was thrown out of the competition once because of poor marks as well as SMSes. The call back episode did the magic for her. Luck by chance? I am clearing all my doubts about Zee Marathi’s intention purely because of the fact that they announced equal scholarship for all these top five candidates.

That said the system for final results was itself faulty. Come what may it was going to chose the popular candidate. Correction… the candidate with most SMSes/ votes. That is the reason why I said it was predictable result. I tried my level best to promote the candidate who was not strong in that area at all. Arya always had some of the lowest scores in SMS/ votes. Consider this… All the judges were going to give marks to the champs out of say 100. So Arya’s gain did not mean anyone else’s loss. So when you compare the marks, the band in which these five champs would have fallen was going to be  narrow in any case. Whereas in the vote side, someone’s gain is other candidate’s loss. This is because it is based on the fact that the pie is limited. Total size of the pie was always going to be 100% and it was going to be eaten completely. So every vote popular candidate got made others go down faster. Now you know how India votes. Don’t you. Most of the SCUC people will vote few times at the most and they will feel that this is fair enough. How much you can bend your principles? (I am not claiming that these are the only people with principles. That would be deductive conclusion.)  Where as the fans of popular candidates use the system and express their emotions full heartedly. For them it is love for their own people. This is what majority of the India is. So the results are not shocking at all. I was shocked only once. Not this time.

Coming back to the ugly discussion on the cast of the champs, the entire system in India is not a self correcting system. It is by default a self degrading system if not maintaining status quo. Just a few days back the leader of a cast group demanding reservations for them was saying that the people of his cast were landlords and rich earlier but now they have gone down from that state and hence need reservation. What an argument. The system which you have is bringing you down and still you want to find a solution within the same system? I had written about this sometime back and I am giving link to that article here. My short solution is that from now on do not ask anyone his cast and abolish the entire reservation system immediately.  All deserving candidates must be given scholarships based on their economic situation and not on their cast. Jobs should go only to the merit where skill is required for low or unskilled jobs once again lower income people should be given preference.

If there is no record of your cast, you don’t have it. Let a person choose his last name whatever he likes. One thing is sure that within few years there is no alternative to merit. If we manage to abolish the cast system or in any case when this system continues,  in few years India will see 97% reservation, the competition will be worse than today and only merit will win. Till date no where in the world a system has emerged which is purely based on merit. So I know it is a mirage but then who stops you from dreaming. The world around me is getting better than tomorrow but I need to keep up hope that in India somewhere something positive is happening. I hope again that Kartiki’s of this world are not surrounded by the “Contractor” kind of characters portrayed by Atul Parchure. She strives for excellence in whatever she does. Maharashtra will get a great singer for folk, semi classical, devotional and gazal music. I also hope that the others do not get frustrated by this result. Kartiki is their friend and she did not consider her to be separate from them. She did not send all those SMSes to separate her from others and all of them strive for excellence and nothing less in their career. All the best to all of them. I don’t want anyone of them to be the lost talent of reality.

Zee Marathi Saregamapa Final – Last Chance to vote for Arya Ambekar

Once again here is the link to vote Arya for free. You will find it in my link list in sidebar as well.

I purposefully did not write about the performances of the Saregamapa Little Champs last week. The republic day episode was not part of competition was first reason and secondly I was waiting for YouTube  users  to post the videos of the program. While he posted the episodes few days back, I did not get chance to write a post. So finally here I am writing about this great season of Little Champs.

While this weeks episode were reminding us about the fabulous time we had with the champs and we really never realized that it was a full six months period since first episode.It was quite amazing yesterday to see the champs in selection rounds and now. I noticed one thing that since the first episode, there is not much change in Kartiki and Rohit in their appearance Both were quite confident, free and with same characteristics as today. Rohit seems to be maturing and Kartiki seems to be becoming performer. Prathamesh was really a konkani bhat with his trademark टिळा from this he has changed to quite a bit. He is more urbanized now and did you listen to him yesterday … He sang गालावर खऴी…  and also managed to say “I Love You”. 🙂 Mugdha was really really young to take part in this competition. I mocked earlier that she is not telling her real age and some readers took it literally. They were angry with me. All Mugdha fans you know… They are of her age only 😉 But she is short to make her look younger.She has changed a lot. These six months have made her more mature and I personally feel that the little girl is stressed too much for her age. Finally my favorite Arya… She was sweet when she came now she is not just that, she is looking beautiful everyday. What has not changed is her simplicity. Despite all the praise she gets, she is still on ground open to criticism and willing to learn. I must say her parents have raised her well. खरोखर सुसंस्कृत मुलगी कशी असावी त्याचे उदाहरण आहे.

One of the readers, fanfare, is claiming that she is pure blue blooded Punekar and she is appealing all to vote for merit. She is favoring Kartiki and repeatedly commenting that I should not support  Puneri girl Arya just because she is from Pune. Well if the judges are getting paid for promoting Kartiki, what is wrong in me supporting Arya for free and if someone feels that I am doing this because she is also a Puneri girl… please excuse me. I am definitely proud about her being from Pune but that is not the only reason why I support her. She is a truly versatile singer and our judges have said so. Had this not been a competition which Zee Marathi is still maintaining and has different prizes for winner and runner up, I would have really chosen these five + Shalmali. But that is not the case. So I am all for Arya as Little Champs winner. I am sure she will be winner by jury votes. Now all viewers need to vote for her. Go online and do it for free or spend money and send SMSes.

One thing I am not sure if you have noticed yesterday… Same Avadhoot who tells Prathmesh about the missing tanpura is not able to make out the faults in pathetic natyasangeet by Kartiki?  Same was the case with Rohit but then no body even slightly hinted at this… why? One more thing I noticed yesterday… Prathamesh was going to sing Swapneel’s song and I am sure Vaishali Samant knew it and still she expressed surprise on how Prathamesh picked up that song just after her comment on Avadhoot and Swapneel’s friendship. Is this an indication of a  scripted episode?

Finally here is something for the supporters of Arya.

1. She is one of the first candidates to have a Wiki page. Click here

2. Mandar Deodhar has created a blogspot post to list all (well… almost) videos of Arya Ambekar here

3. To see all videos of Saregamapa on you tube, visit the user page of ahonkan or search for  Arya Ambekar.

4. There is already some con blogger trying to make money by using Arya’s name. Check this fake blog here.To this blogger I can only say …  Man you should be ashamed of using her name like this. You can be a fan but you should not use her name like this to pretend it is a blog by her. Shame on you.

UPDATE: [9th February] Now we all know that this all effort is gone in vain, please let me know your opinion in single option

Hridaynath Mageshkar’s Mesmerizing Shoora Mee Vandile (शूरा मी वंदिले)

Past two evenings have been really mesmerizing. Thanks to the excellent program by Zee Marathi on their Saregamapa Little Champs special for sixtieth Republic Day of India. Zee TV on this occasion of Republic day took all the little champs to NDA in my home town Pune. They also invited parents and siblings of the Martyrs from Indian armed forces.When the champs started singing, each song was followed by some really touching experiences from these parents and an appeal to all Indian parents to send their children to join the armed forces and to the young generation to join.

I was particularly touched by two incidents about the way our army men are fighting war in Siachen glacier and the mishaps of MIG 21 fighter planes. I am sure these must have brought tears to millions of viewers watching the show. Finally Hridaynath had to wake us up to the reality that the theme of the show is bravery and we should not shed tears but celebrate our freedom and the martyrdom of those who died for our country like they did. From there the program really took a different turn and we were all charged up listening to songs and then stories of Shivaji Raje and Veer Savarkar.

This was followed by second episode of the same theme today. While watching the program I was in the same era of Shivaji, 17th century and the Adilshahi, Mughals and the wisdom of Shivaji, his justice, his vision and what not. But then I made a mistake of switching to the news channel after the program and I was awaken by harsh reality of today.

On one hand we have a media channel, which was telling us about the glorious past and trying to bring spark of nationalism in us and on the other hand we had the news channel reporters shooting the heinous incident of few goons beating up the girls and women in a pub calling them prostitutes. The media it seems knew about the incident but did not inform the police and did not even try to stop those goons from attacking the women. Two exactly opposite characters in the same business.

For most of the time we see the name of Shivaji being used by the political leadership in Maharashtra. No doubt Shivaji was the greatest king in India, but all those stories of winning the wars and all get much too attention than the ruling system Shivaji implemented in Maharashtra. So we know the Shivaji at war with the then Yavani, Mlenchh rulers of Maharastra but we don’t know much about the Shivaji during the peace time. We have war going on at the borders almost on daily basis but what about the war inside? The Marathi leaders are waging war against each other. Hardly few think about the welfare of the state. So how does Shivaji in peace time should affect them? Do let us know if you want those principals to be followed.

Finally, about the quote of Winston Churchill, Hridaynath was siting – Don’t you think that despite all the efforts taken by the revolutionaries and freedom fighters, India has become a land where humans live like animal herds? We get angry at his remarks, but eventually they are becoming true. So we have still not won the war against this British man. Like one of the mother of a martyr pilot said: Not everyone needs to take sword in his hand, but if he does his job well and feels his responsibility towards the country, it is more than enough. Going forward, I would say, we also now need to unite and make others perform their duty. The good human beings do not tolerate injustice.

Zee Marathi – Finally some sense prevailed

Finally yesterday some sanity prevailed in Zee Marathi Saregamapa Little Champs with the declaration of all 5 little champs going to the mega finals. I was getting nervous and so was everyone in the family when we saw Arya going to number 2. Considering the percentage of SMSes she gets generally. I have been inactive for last quite a number of days primarily due to some personal problems. But I was getting lot of comments on both blogs (blogspot & wordpress). Now for all those Arya fans who are not voting using SMS as they do not want to pay the cellphone companies… here is the link to vote online. Go ahead and vote for free. Don’t just sit and wonder why she is not getting enough votes. I have enough comments on the blog to have a feeling that she is everyone’s favourite but then she needs votes as a proof.  पोरगी कितीही हुशार असली तरी परिक्षा पास व्हायला मार्क हवेतच का नाही? आर्यानी पेपर उत्तम लिहीलाय पण तपासल्यावर आपण गुण द्यायला विसरतोय.

To summarize my comments on last few weeks,

1. Arya is already our superstar. Reasons – sheer quality of singing, choice of songs, versatility, attitude to learn and excel. In fact the lesser number of votes was helping her excel. For her there is no scope for complacency as there was not much backing from judges till last few episodes, the vote count put her on edge making great singing as the only option and she stood up to that challenge. Bravo Arya! keep it going.

2. Prathamesh is not at his best. As AG pointed out, he is passing through the transition phase. He is becoming monotonous and suddenly sings shockingly exceptional songs like the koli song of yesterday. For me he is at number two purely because he has not shown much versatility and we are longing for more. Singing quality is of course top quality.

3. Two statements got my immediate agreement – first one coming from Avanti Patel. She said she would not have done same level of preparation in ten years had it not been for this competition. Very true and same would be case for all participants and it will definitely take them further in life. Second one from Vaishali which seems to be the root cause for yesterday’s decision. All the children are now friends with each other and singing together for so many days but everyone has kept his/her identity. That is simply unbelievable. Think about it. At such a small age when we are imitating everyone we like or find good, how do these children learn as well as not imitate? Off course they have great singers to follow the footsteps but still… I think this is a great attribute to gain and these children are really lucky.

4. I am still surprised how Rohit is getting so high marks. He is singing all sorts of songs and proving that he is jack of all trades but then he is master of none really. He has to focus on getting correct “sur” than focusing on expressions, and emotions. He made a good attempt at “ek chatur naar” but if you listen to the original song after or before his, you will notice that he was out of control in many places and just on sheer energy he pulled it. But that is not good enough at this stage. I hope he takes note of this and improves his singing. Yesterday Avadhoot showed him the real difference and after long time I heard a right comment from Avadhoot. Now that no one is getting eliminated, the pressure on judges to give prescribed comments will go away and we will get more true comments and suggestions.

5. Kartiki is getting unnecessary popularity. She is one-dimensional. She has the folk music in her blood but then she is not working on other aspects of singing. I wonder if she would be trying all Hridaynath and Khaleji’s songs in the finals. All this praise and popularity will make her a folk singer whereas the ease with which she sings she is capable of doing much much more.

6. Mugdha is the little baby and at her age, she is doing great. But this is a competition and she has many years to go in her childhood itself. From absolute singing view point, she has lot more to learn and I believe she is not a candidate to win this competition just yet. She will probably win in another 4-5 years eventually. Let her be the small child she is.

7. The comments I am seeing on the blog… I am unable to read the new lingo. What spellings man…. come on folks… spend some time on typing few more key strokes… better yet type in Marathi if possible but don’t convert the Latin script as phonetic. The script itself is too limited. Devnagari is much better.

Zee Marathi – One week of little champs wasted

We all knew that Radhika Nande was definitely not the candidate to be selected in the final 4-5. Last time I wrote about the mockery of call back episode on Zee Marathi Saregamapa Little Champs. It is really proved beyond doubt that earlier decision to move Radhika out of competition was right. In this whole process now we have lost one more week and the telecom companies have gained additional revenue.

What has surprised me even more is the % of SMS messages Avanti Patel has got in last few weeks. She is getting almost 2.5 to 3 times of Mugdha who was supposedly SMS champ. This is mind boggling. This is once again proving that SMS is a fraudulent mechanism to prove merit.

One of the quickest suggestion I can give is to enforce one vote per telephone number. Now someone can say that we want one vote per family member but in today’s time almost every senior family member has a cell phone and 1-1 ratio can be moved up to let’s say 2-1. But there has to be some limit. This will ensure that there is no rigging and the wealthy or unnecessarily passionate people wont be able to chose less talented contestant.

I am also surprised that Arya & Prathamesh, despite singing extremely well and consistently all along are not getting enough share of SMS messages. I am their fan but I wont go overboard and pay the telecom companies. I will generally vote only 2-3 times once in two weeks and I am sure there will be many like me who will talk, write and support these children but will not rig the competition. Hopefully my above suggestion will bring some fairness to the entire system. If that happens I will feel positive about voting every week.

Reality TV hates creamy layer

If you are fan of reality TV or not, you can not escape it these days. Almost all television channels depend completely on reality TV. Despite all of these shows people are taken far away from reality but that is another point. May be some other day.

I have been keenly following some of the music competitions for quite some time now. Earlier it was Hindi Saregama which then turned into Saregamapa. I lost interest the day my dear Sonu Nigam left that show. Shaan did a decent job after couple of other hosts but it really did not get my eye balls like earlier. I followed Indian Idol for few episodes and I am sure you all must be following some such show or other. My top favorite these days is Zee Marathi Saregamapa Little Champs and it is but obvious from all my previous posts. What I have observed in the last so many seasons of this program and like wise other programs is that now the times have changed so much that if you are from a well to do family, have got good upbringing, you are well natured, well cultured in short you have the best one can ask for in life, you should not participate in reality television. They will not only hate you, they will hide that hate, they will praise you to begin with because they cannot ignore you but finally they will dump you like trash. Also remember, if you are not one of these and you win, you become part of the creamy layer and then they will dump you.

Now to support my arguments just have a look at these examples: 1. Zee Marathi Saregamapa season 1 – Anagha Dhomse had a personal tragedy. She show courage to stand up to that and I really appreciate it. But was she really the best of the lot? I still feel that Anandi Joshi was really good. But she was consistently hammered by the judges. Same may be case with Mangesh Borgaonkar 2. Saregamapa’s last season – Sayali Panse and Sayali Oak both got lower numbers to some extent due to their good background. 3. In current Little champs, Shalmali, Arya, Prathamesh are getting hit because of their background. Prathamesh is not really hit that hard but Arya is definitely. Kartiki is getting promoted to some extent because of her background. Same is case with Rohit Raut.

I definitely *do not* want to say that the fault lies with the contestants. They are really great talent and they are putting their best foot forward. I have not seen any of the contestants in Zee Marathi taking advantage of their background yet. May be there are some persons spending on the SMSes to promote the non deserving but then that is what is the point. The situation in Hindi is far worse. I have recently started following Hindi Saregamapa once again primarily because of Vaishali and Shankar Mahadevan. To my surprise, I found the story of Vaishali, her husbands illness and her tearful eyes all being used to promote the serial. In earlier days these were part of the media news and gossip but today it has become part of the mainstream event. I am not sure if all this was done purposefully or is it real. But how come every show has such story? It is no longer just the music competition. You have to compete on your background, your family, your emotions. In short it has to be a complete competition. What is the reason for Asma Mohd. Rafi to be in Hindi Saregamapa? She is a complete package of entertainment. Who cares about how well she sings? She is from a gulf country, she is from minority community in India, she makes you laugh, she has fought with her mother to participate in this competition, she can also sing without being ashamed of her bad sur and still has will to be in the competition. What more masala you want for a reality TV?

I don’t have to really write about how SMS and the commerce around it has changed the television industry. Ample has been written and will be written and nothing will change till people get sick of sending SMS and stop sending them. What hurts me more is that there is no place for a person with smooth life who has equal will power, has taken equal effort and has equal talent to survive in this situation. I am not able to forget the expression on Arya Ambekar’s face when one after the other, Suresh Wadkar, Vaishali and Avadhoot started dissection of her beautifully sung “Jahalya kahi chuka” May be she was half note high, may be she was little fast but she did not lose control of that song even a bit. I never felt what Suresh Wadkar felt while I was listening. For her age she is just too good. I have been to my daughter’s annual social and I just could not stop appreciating these little champs (All of them and not just Arya) after I heard the school’s best talent singing. Not that the school children were bad but these little champs are ALL OF THEM are well ahead of the crowd. When you have gone miles ahead and only one of you gets beating for not doing that last one centimeter of the 100 meter race, I feel that it is unjust to do it in public. They could have done it after the show. I also feel same was the case with Prathamesh as well but not as serious as Arya.

Now the question is should I vote for Arya or not? If I will, I am paying the telcom company and not sure if the channel really cares about it. If I don’t I am not supporting my favorite little princess sent by God. What are you doing? Do we have enough evidence to trust Zee Marathi? I don’t have it for any other Hindi channel at all but being from my Marathi culture, I would like all Marathi channels to build that trust that they are driven by principles and not by money. If they care about our votes, they should care about our emotions too isn’t it. They are not like politicians… or are they??? I am confused…