Feature: Where is Sa re ga ma pa challenge?

March 19th, 2010 - 9:22 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

March 19, 2010 (Sampurn Wire):Indian Idol exposed us to the word “reality show’ but the title of India’s first reality show firmly belongs to Zee TV’s Sa re ga ma pa. The journey began in 1995 when Sonu Niigaam took to anchoring and the show boasted of legendary names as judges. In a matter of few years, Sa re ga ma became a phenomenon, one that kept Zee TV out of any competitor’s reach. It provided the perfect opportunity for budding talent both in India and across the border.

15 years later, the show goes on but the ardent fan is surprised by the conspicuous absence of Sa re ga ma pa Challenge for well over a year. The last series “Challenge 2009 concluded in the first month of 2009.

Post “Challenge 2009, Zee TV launched their first dance reality show Dance India Dance, which became a huge it and in less than seven months, the channel launched its second season. Sa re ga pa L’il Champs and Mega Challenge separated the two seasons of Dance India Dance.

Just when one thought that Sa re ga ma pa Challenge is next in line, the channel threw a surprise by announcing Dance India Dance – Little Masters. ‘Challenge 2009 didn’t do all that well whereas DID recorded great numbers in its first season. That has left one wondering whether Dance India Dance has taken precedence over Sa re ga ma pa challenge?

It must be noted that Sa re ga ma pa Challenge’s resident judge Himesh Reshammaiya, who adjudicated three seasons, stunned all by taking up a rival show (Music ka maha muqabla). Shankar Mahadevan, who was part of Challenge 2009, followed Himesh. Besides, most Bollywood singers and music directors have had their fair share of reality shows. Did the departure of these men and paucity of new judges put paid to Zee TV’s plan for a new season of Challenge?

Zee TV head (non-fiction) Ashish Golwarkar disagrees, “Sa re ga ma has always been known for its quality of participants. The judges never make a show. Having a Himesh or Shankar has absolutely no bearing on the show’s success. Before Sa re ga ma pa challenge 2005, people didn’t even know how Himesh Reshammiya looked?”

Meanwhile, a source from the show gave us the following reason for Sa re ga ma pa Challenge being delayed. Says the source, “Ideally, Sa re ga ma pa challenge was to follow DID 2, but once Colors announced a dance show for children (Chak Boom Boom), Zee TV felt the need to have Dance India Dance for children.”

Is there truth to this point?

“I’d like to know the record of that channel with regards to dance reality shows. People were tired of seeing the usual dance reality shows, that’s where DID has come as a breath of fresh air. People know what to watch, so there’s absolutely no competition here,” Golwarkar explained.

Sources say that the Sa re ga ma pa challenge could commence at the year end that would see the show returning in nearly two year’s time. Golwarkar though has an explanation for this. He says, “If you look at the history of the challenge series, there’s always been a two year break. The first challenge series started in 2005, the second in 2007 and the third in 2009.”

If one looked into the actual facts, 12 months separated Challenge 2005 and 2007 while the gap between 2009 and 2007 was just nine months. It must be recalled that that Challenge 2009 actually commenced in 2008 but on an advice from a numerologist, the channel supposedly coined it Challenge 2009. Now compare this to DID, which saw its second season commencing six months after the culmination of the inaugural one and it’s now being followed by DID – Little Masters.

Going by this count, hasn’t DID taken precedence over Sa re ga ma pa Challenge?

“Not at all. Sa re ga ma pa will remain our number one brand followed by DID. We’re trying to come up with a new concept for Sa re ga ma. This process will take some time. However, Sa re ga ma pa challenge will definitely come post DID - Little Masters,” Golwarkar concludes.

While we’ll continue to watch Dance India Dance, let’s hope that we don’t have to wait much longer for Sa re ga ma pa Challenge.

-Mayur Lookhar/ Sampurn Wire

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