GT&T’s Bollywood competition seems biased in favour of chutney

Dear Editor,

Being a Karaoke singer, singing as much as 170 Indian and over 30 English songs, I decided to have a try at GT&T’s Bollywood competition held at the Little Rock Hotel in New Amsterdam but was skeptical of the fairness of the judging, seeing so many Chutney singers were involved as judges.

To my amazement and shock, there were only a few judges in attendance judging both the Bollywood and English singers as against six for each category as advertised.  Naïve indeed!

Being dejected and startled and my fears somewhat vindicated, I began to sing what I consider my very best  – the title song from the film ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, which many friends and experienced singers compare to the original singer.  It should be noted I sing songs of Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Rafi, Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, Sonu Nigam and several others, some slow and low, others fast and loud, both new and old and increasing after only three years of singing.

I was stopped in a minute, hardly finishing  the chorus and told I sang too low.  Obviously, I could not determine the loudness of my voice and no one indicated I should raise my voice, so I appealed to the panel to start over but was denied.  I then suggested I continue the song and I would sing louder – one is expected to sing an entire song if required – but again I was denied.

Looking at the judges while singing, it became apparent that only the young knew and appreciated my song and for the others, it was alien.  What a farce!

It became apparent that soothing melodious songs were not favoured and Chutney or Bollywood Chutney sounding was preferred.  I should have heeded my suspicions and sang Junglee’s, `Yahoo’ or `Ai Ai Ya Suku Suku’ – make some noise, the in thing – or go for the popular songs  I sing often like ‘Where’s the party tonight,’ ‘It’s time to disco’, Bombay to Goa’s `Dekha Na Re’, ‘Dem a watch me’ or ‘Rum till I die’. These may have passed me but Bollywood songs should not be lumped with Chutney and judged by Chutney exclusive singers and inexperienced persons.

Having gone for a Bollywood song, I was rejected and unceremoniously dumped.  Though shocked, I was not surprised.

While GT&T must be commended for such an initiative, a most welcome and sorely lacking opportunity for singers, care should be taken to have appropriate judges and fair judgement.

I hope the situation is rectified to avoid unpopular judgements that will tarnish the good intent and a true star emerging.

Good luck to the remaining competitors

Yours faithfully,
M. Sookraj

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