That would be the next song. I have sung this song along with Sadhna Sargam and Sowmya Raoh and Nikhil Mathew, the Super Singer winner last year. He has had to wait for a year after the announcement of the results to get a break in the movies and I know for a fact that it has not been very easy even though an opportunity was promised with Harris Jeyaraj sir.
Only as long as talent hunts last, is it easy for the participants. And probably if you are a winner, a short time thereafter. Once the novelty fades, winner or not, everyone has to pave their own hard way through for opportunities. One thing, Nikhil has had his head on his shoulders, unlike, surprisingly, some contestants in the Super Singer Junior.
Nowadays the Airtel Super Singer Junior claims that professional singers have a few go-s at recording the song. He also claims that songs like Balleilaka have been achieved not by singers but only due to machines. I wonder what the parents are doing. Rather, the problem here is that the parents themselves claim that their children are way better than all the musicians in the industry put together. I am guessing he is surrounded by wrong advisers. Its surprising to see how quickly fame gets to the heads of children, and unfortunately their families as well, and they suddenly lose sight of the ground they stand on. As the SSJ progressed, I saw several kids develop audacity and attitude problems, not behaving properly with the crew, demanding to be treated as celebrities, and treating media like pith, when legends like Dr Balamuralikrishna, came and went unobtrusively. Today the demands of some of the children are sky-high. Also demanding to be paid in concerts as much as the top professional singers would be paid.
Talent is available aplently today, but talent is the raw material. Without studentship and intense learning on several stages sustenance of the art will not be there. Too much emphasis on concerts and making money and earning turns them to be child labourers. It may be an artistic area, but even then, a child worker is a child worker.
I feel like bringing in the parallel of diamonds here. Unless they are cut properly no brilliance can be achieved. And the cut is what makes the difference between a mere stone, an inferior diamond and a superior one. And somewhere down the line, the kids lose focus on learning and achieving more. And stagnate. Mom has seen several children with great talent, who showed great promise not come up as brilliant musicians as they were touted to become.
Talent hunts are great, to build confidence to be able to interact with stalwarts with whom we might otherwise interact as beginners, a teaser as to how to conduct yourself in front of popular media, to learn from our own flaws, because these give us the rare opportunities to watch ourselves in action, and with shows like SSJ, its like a music camp of learning as well.
Three days back, a senior journalist from the Indian Express wanted to me talk about life after Talent Hunts. Of course I could not speak to her at the time she called to give her my opinion, because I could not even make up my mind about whether I wanted to speak out about these children in particular to the popular media. I also had to consult mom on whether it was OK to talk about it. Of course by the time I called her back, two hours later, she was angry and I could not speak to her. This question is probably going to come back sooner or later.
There were times when it was hard for me to interact with the judges while the children were there on the same stage as I, because they would be constantly muttering under their breaths and commenting, rudely a lot of times as well. And I would lose track, stare at the children and go back to take once again. SSJ was more stressful than I thought it would be. The crew of course had a tougher time. A lot of people spoke about the 'drama' but probably the greatest was played by the children, and sometimes their parents. All that the crew, the judges and I could do was watch and be silent spectators. As they say, the show had to go on. And the children behaved well as soon as the cameras rolled. Of course some passed comments even while the cameras were on. Chitra amma gave a parting shot, that it is very important to continuously learn, respect the parents and elders and other musicians however small they are and to be humble more than anything else. Looks like it has fallen on deaf ears. And yes, in SSJ there are children who are well brought up. But only 3 or 4.
After seeing these talent hunts, I believe that bringing back the Gurukula system and home-schooling would probably be a better way to bring up children, instead of sending them to school, and them learning all the beeped out words before they are 10.