She is the product of a talent hunt show herself, but national award-winning singer Shreya Ghoshal says the ethos of reality shows in India has undergone a huge commercial twist and the visual appeal of a show matters much more now.
The singer was first recognised when she won the 75th Children’s Day special episode of “TVS Sa Re Ga Ma”. But she shot to fame after she lent her voice in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Devdas” in 2002 and bagged her first national award for the song “Bairi Piya” in the magnum opus.
Now she is one of the judges on Sony Entertainment Television’s “X-Factor”.
“When I participated in ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’, I was a kid and it was not a reality show frankly. There was no system of SMS voting and stuff,” Shreya told IANS in an interview.
“There were judges like Ustad Vilayat Khan sab and Anil Biswas, who had made the institution of Indian music. It was a big thing to sing in front of them. Where would I know what to wear and all? That concept came when television became so big. Today it’s a big commercial ball game. Many people are involved and they have to see how attractive it should be visually as well,” she added.
Shreya, who has earlier judged “Star Voice Of India-Chhote Ustaad”, feels “X-Factor” will set new standards for reality shows. It went on air May 29.
“The scale on which this programme is mounted, is really big. The money, challenge, promotion and the care that has been put in this programme is unbelievable. It’s surely going to set a new standard as far as television shows are concerned,” she said.
“X-Factor” is a talent show franchise that originated in Britain and after being a runaway hit in 24 countries, it has now come to India.
The 27-year-old is sharing the judges’ panel with Bhansali and singer Sonu Niigam, and she is quite kicked about it.
“To judge with Sanjayji and Sonuji make the experience more credible because the musical excellence that is associated with them is unbelievable. For me Sanjayji is like encyclopedia of good music. So to judge along with them is a real high for me,” said Shreya.
However, the real challenge is to find the right talent.
“The singers are giving us a tough time to figure out which jewel to pick and polish to make them sparkle,” said Shreya, who believes that people’s voice can be groomed over time, but X factor is something innate.
“You are born with it (X factor). It’s feigned that to prove your X factor, you need to jump around the stage and do what not to entertain people along with singing. I have never done that and most of our Indian singers never did that,” she added.
The singer also took the example of the nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar, to prove her point.
“See Lataji. I remember seeing her singing at the Royal Hall, standing in one place, opening her diary. But when she sings the time stops. That’s her X-factor. It’s within one’s own self, and it just has to be captivated,” said the multilingual singer, who has also sung numbers in Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.