By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: Sur-Taal’s presentation of this musical talent contest called ‘Ek Raaz, Ek Awaaz!’, with the inimitable music producer, Anu Malik, of Indian Idol fame presiding over the panel of judges was held recently at Rose Theatre Brampton.
The evening was an absolute delight from start to finish. It was well attended by all prominent Indo Canadians including MPP Vic Dhillon, City Councillor Vicky Dhillon, MP Param Gill and the newly appointed Consul General of India to Toronto, Akhilesh Mishra.
Addressing the audience, Hon Consul General Mishra recited some marvelous shahiri (Urdu poetry) which translated as, “in order to succeed or fly you do not need wings; but what you really need is courage” His message was one of encouragement to the youth “not to give up on your dreams and to strive continuously for success”.
He also added, “If you do not leave home at all you miss everything; enjoyment and success is for those people who dare to venture out and seek life”.
The 10 contestants were all local talented youth who aspire to be successful singers. They all had their chance at success and to be judged by the Master music producer Anu Malik whose critiques are often quoted in shahiri(poetry) made up on the spur of the moment inspired by the contestant’s singing. He had a memorable line for each of the 10 contestants. After the initial round of beautifully rendered songs from Bollywood movies of the 60s,70s, 80s and even as recent as 2012, there were 5 contestants shortlisted. However for contestant Anusha Sharma, it was the surprise of her lifetime when she was given a second chance by Mr. Anu Malik himself. After he heard her sing the first round he said she had chosen “an extremely difficult song of Lata Mangeshkarji to sing at her tender age of 18.
So round two finally consisted of 6 contestants – Pratik, Ferzana, Mohit, Harman, Kanwal and Anusha
For Pratik, Anu said “ I came to Toronto expecting Diet Coke; when I heard you sing I knew you were asli Pepsi, not Diet Coke!”
For Kanwal he had this to say” Kyon kahoon tu acchi gaati ho – kyon kahoon ki tujhe gaana aata hai par yeh to kahoonga ki tujhe Anu Malik ka dil churana aata hai.”(Why should I say that you sing well, why should I say that you can sing, but this I can say, you know how to steal my heart).
After much deliberation, the three best were announced. Second runner –up Mohit Bhatnagar, 1st runner –up Kanwal Qureshi and the best of the best –Ferzana Bohra, who won a two way ticket to Mumbai and a visit to Bollywood music and movie studios where she will get the chance to meet and greet some of India’s finest musicians and composers and get a shot at doing a song for Bollywood.
Exclaimed winner Ferzana:”Honestly I still cannot believe it completely. Its like a dream. I feel so blessed to be selected from the amazing talent pool. And extremely grateful to everyone who has passed on their loves and prayers my way. Am looking forward to this opportunity!
I have grown listening to songs by Rafi Sahab, Lataji, Ashaji, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar and Hemant Kumar. I think they are all my gurus, They are a huge resource of knowledge to learn from. My inspiration comes from them…I hope someday I can be ounce worth of them.”
And so came to a close a thoroughly enjoyable evening to what Anu Malik called “the first presentation of Indian Idol to a live audience abroad”.