Reality show judges across the board are facing the ire of the public and the media after Shinjini Sengupta, a contestant from a regional dance reality show, went into coma unable to digest her loss and the ‘harsh’ comments from the judges. While it must not be discounted that Shinjini’s case has served as fodder to the media to crack down on such reality shows but it has raised certain valid questions. As Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009 gets underway in a few days its judges had to face the music at the show’s launch yesterday.The jury panel of Himesh Reshammiya, Aadesh Srivastav, and Shankar Mahadevan must have expected an easy evening but they were bombarded with uncomfortable questions from the media. The fourth judge Pritam was spared the blushes as he arrived way after the press conference was over.
Citing Shinjini’s example, the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa jury was asked whether those judges are to be blamed for her plight and was it high time that one draws a line when it comes to criticising someone. Shankar Mahadevan quickly said, “I don’t think any one is to be blamed for Shinjini’s plight. What happened to her is very unfortunate. However, I advise all participants that please remember it is just a musical contest.”
Defending their territory, Sa Re..’s resident judge Himesh said, “I can’t comment on other shows but I can assure you that here (Sa Re Ga Ma) we’ve never humiliated any contestant. We’ve always indulged in constructive criticism and it’s never been personal.”
Music is a symbol of harmony then why should this contest be referred to as Vishwa yudh (World War)? To this Himesh replied, “For that you will have to speak to the channel. We (judges) don’t prepare the format nor do we come with such catch lines.”
It has often been seen that judges spar with each other on such shows and the result is a free for all.
Aadesh Srivastav, famous for his run-ins with Abhijeet on Voice of India, said, “The conflict lies in the concept. It’s a contest between four gharanas (groups). Also, we judges get so involved with the show that it’s natural for such conflicts to rise.” Shankar Mahadevan added, “One must also not forget that this is an entertainment show. All such things are part of the entertainment.”
While the judges deftly avoided the salvos, they were humble enough in admitting that the established music directors and singers are thronging to realty shows because they are lucrative in nature.
Before rushing off, Himesh wisely enunciated, “Criticism of reality shows is a matter of the past. They have opened employment opportunities for people from all corners of society. Bollywood is no longer the ultimate destination for budding singers. In fact, musicians from Bollywood are also quitting their jobs for reality shows. Our country itself is going through a good (economic) period. Thus, why should any one cry foul over the success of reality shows?”
Well said Himesh, why should we complain when everyone is raking it in? However, we just hope that there we don’t see another suffering Shinjini.
Report By: Mayur Lookhar