By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Ten-year old Anjana Padmanabhan won the Junior Indian Idol trophy on Sunday night. On Monday morning she is more calm, controlled and coherent in her excitement than Aishwarya Rai after her Miss World crown.
“Of course it means the world to me. Becoming the Junior Indian Idol was something I dreamt about for months and then when it finally happened I was numbed. I actually pinched myself when the announcement was made.When Amit Uncle handed me the trophy and the prize money I felt I was in a dream,” chuckles the smart little winner.
So what’s a 10-year old girl going to do with 25 lakh rupees and a brand new car?
Anjana sighs dismissively. “I really don’t know! I am still numb. My parents would be better able to tell you what is to be done with the prize money. Right now, I am only missing my friends from Indian Idol. They had become close to me. Sugandha Date became a special friend. She had made a wild-card entry. And when she left the show I was very sad. When she returned I was happy. All the contestants are my friends for life. For now they’ve all gone away one by one. Now I am left all alone.”
Sounding as dramatic as Guru Dutt in Pyaasa, the 10-year old singing prodigy says, “We had all become like one family. And now we have to move on. It’s very painful. But we all have our schools and studies. Career comes later. I am now with my parents only. So although it’s a big moment it’s a bit lonely.”
Ask her if she wanted to be a playback singer and out pops the retort, “Of course. Why else would I be singing and winning on Indian Idol? But guess what? I also want to be a pilot! I love flying. In fact singing gives me the same feeling of flying. So right now I want to be both a pilot and a singer. Let’s see what finally happens.”
Curiously, Anjana cannot speak Hindi fluently though that’s now being taken care of.
Says the impish prodigy, “Being with all my Indian Idol friends I’ve picked up quite a lot of Hindi. Now that I have won, my parents will get me a proper Hindi tutor and I will be learning music so that I am fully trained to be a playback singer.”
Fame at such an early phase of her life is not easy to handle.
Says Anjana, “Most of time all of us Indian Idol contestants handled the attention well. But sometimes it became too much with people wanting pictures or making small-talk at a time when we were working.”
At the moment Anjana just wants to focus on getting back to her normal life of school and friends in Bangalore.
“Winning Indian Idol Junior is a big thing. I know that. But I also know it’s just the beginning. I’ve a long way to go.I’ve a lot to learn.I am just starting out as a singer,” observes the 10-year old sagely adding that her favourite singers are Lataji, Ashaji and Shreya Ghosal.