Nepal to rock with ‘Indian Idol’ trio

March 8th, 2009 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, March 8 (IANS) Crowds had flocked to two public squares in Kathmandu valley to watch the grand finale of the popular reality show “Indian Idol” on a giant screen and jive to the songs by the three top contenders. Come Saturday, they will be doing an encore, but this time with the finalists in flesh and blood.
After Nepal’s idolatrous response to Sony Television’s singing talent hunt, the newly crowned Idol Sourabhee Debbarma and her closest competitors Kapil Thapa and Torsha Sarkar will be flying here from Mumbai Friday for two back-to-back live concerts.

The first show is at the Jawalakhel Ground near the zoo in Kathmandu valley’s Lalitpur district where last year too “Indian Idol” contestants had staged a show that became a running success. It will be followed by a second one at the Exhibition Ground in Pokhara.

“We’ve had an astounding response to the concerts,” said Raju Singh, whose event management company DMI, which represents Sony in Nepal, is hosting the “Indian Idol” concerts.

“There are 200 free tickets up for grabs on the basis of SMS lotteries. Each day, we are releasing 20 tickets. And each day, there are over 2,000 SMSes for them,” he said.

The Indian reality show has been a cash cow for Nepal’s telecom players especially with direct SMS voting to decide the “Indian Idol” allowed from Nepal this year.

Last year, Nepali supporters formed fan clubs and raised funds to vote for Prashant Tamang, the West Bengal policeman of Nepali origin, who went on to win the show.

Prashant’s victory was celebrated with fireworks and rallies at midnight in Nepal and there were expectations of a repeat act this year with another contestant, Kapil Thapa, too boasting of Nepali ancestry.

However, despite considerable support for Kapil from Nepal, Sourabhee, the 23-year-old from northeastern India’s Tripura state, also managed to win hearts in Nepal because of her versatility, Mongoloid looks and the fact that it was the first time women were frontrunners for the title.

Though bested by Sourabhee, Kapil still has his die-hard fans in Nepal. Last week, after the results were announced, Nepal’s biggest daily Kantipur carried a front-page report saying that for many in Nepal, Kapil would remain the “Indian Idol”.

Prashant’s victory last year thrilled even Nepal’s then prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who made time in his hectic schedule to meet the singer twice.

Will Sourabhee be invited to tea this time by Nepal’s new Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, especially as Tripura has a Communist chief minister?

“It’s too early to say,” said Singh. “The invitation for Prashant Tamang last year had come at the last moment.”

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