Eighteen till I die
Bangalore's been busy hunting heads of a different sort - 18-somethings looking to charm their way to overnight fame for our very own Channel V, MTV, and Lee.
Looking for those 15 minutes of fame.
CALLING OUT to anyone who is 18 and a bit more to participate in the country's most well-known, popular, opportunity-rich, indiscriminating, unbelievable, talent hunt. It does not matter if you don't fit the bill, because that's what it's all about, the makeover of the century! Hoardings, posters, road shows, floats, TV commercials, print ads all screaming out to people to shed their inhibitions and try their hand at becoming celebrities overnight. Apart from the usual rounds of locality and city hunts for singers, dancers and models that are only increasing in number, the big names to hit the country in the recent past are the Channel V Popstars, MTV VJ Hunt and the Lee Model Hunt. Each one quite fascinating if studied carefully.
The MTV VJ Hunt on earlier this at The Club had hoards of pre-event publicity bashes, resulting in an astounding 192 kids bounding into the audition venue. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., VJs Nafisa and Cyrus Sahukar watched as enthusiastic participants tried their hand at skits, stage presentations, and short on-camera stints, and of course, to desperately please the public.
After 10 p.m., the dance floors were thrown open and three participants were brought on to the stage as a sample to showcase the morning's auditions. The threesome, in a given mock situation, tried, with laboured humour, to introduce themselves as possible MTV VJs. The evening luckily was saved by Kashti's refreshing performance.
The talent hunt attracted people from all walks of life - IT consultants, actors, models, teachers, and engineering students - each one ready to give up their precious careers for a stint with fame.
The 10 finalists from across the country will get to host all the shows for a week and proceed to a grand finale around mid-June. For the week they will be seen on television, and viewers will get to send their feedback on the ones they think are the best.
What exactly is MTV looking for? Natasha Malhotra, Vice-President Programming, MTV India, says: "Any individual who loves music, speaks well, and adds a unique spin to our VJ brigade is a welcome contender." She believes Bangalore has a great pool of talent with some of them sure to make it to the final line-up. In short, anyone "with it" and "in", and with a sense of music and diction. Not to mention the right looks and attitude too.
Come 8 p.m. Thursday and television sets across the country keep viewers up to date with India's first reality TV show.
This is a hunt that has a 16-episode structure to showcase the makeover process which kicked off on January 7 with auditions across the country. In Bangalore, the auditions, held in Mount Carmel college, saw hundreds of girls queuing up, who didn't mean to block traffic on the entire road!
Every aspirant clutched on to her lyrics and practised over and over again to sing before bigwigs like Sandeep Chowta and Shubha Mudgal, Manish Malhotra and Sushma Reddy. Some performed abysmally, others were lucky to get to the second round.
Lakshmi, one of the participants, famously lied about her age to get in to the auditions.
Asked why she did it, she said: "I wanted so badly to perform in front of Shubha Mudgal and meet the panel of judges that lying was the only option. When the panel praised my voice, I attempted the second round but confessed my true age at that stage." Significantly, Lakshmi was underaged.
Producers Channel V crew and the panel of judges were not impressed by the quality of local talent. Both Shubha Mudgal and Sandeep Chowta said they had heard a lot about the talent in Bangalore but somehow not too much had been seen through the auditions.
One lucky Bangalorean who made it to the shortlisted 24 and the top 15 in Mumbai was Ujjainee, from the local band Aurko.
The other members of Aurko were Lakshmi, who was too young, and Shilpa, who, once selected, opted out to pursue her studies. All excited about being selected, Ujjainee rushed to Bombay but returned with a completely different story about the talent hunt. Watching the popstar process unfold on television, Ujjainee was not at all happy about how it all worked out eventually. She believes the crew was not looking for professional voices, all they wanted was a certain amount of attitude, everything else could be worked on. "While choosing, remarks by stylists about participants' hairstyles and figures showed that they had something else in mind."
As the popstar episode draws to an end, another one that is just about beginning is the hunt for the first ever Indian face to model for Lee - the Lee Model Hunt. Every single customer, in this case, is handed out a form to be returned with a full size photograph.
The last date for entries is May 31, 2002.
With all the glamour and glory that comes along with these package deals, people of all hues are rushing to grab their share of the limelight.
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