Having judged 15 reality shows so far, Singer- composer Shekhar Ravjiani is all geared up for judging the latest season of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. This is the third time that he is judging this show and is very excited for the new season. He is looking forward to guiding and mentoring the talent of his Gharana! Shekhar shares his experiences in a light-hearted conversation:
1- You started your career as a contestant of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and made quite a remarkable journey and now you are back on the show as judge. Your thoughts.
A- I started my career before Sa Re Ga Ma Pa happened to me. I was scoring and singing for ads. After three years of a successful stint in the field of advertising, a friend of mine gave me a call saying that he’s going for the auditions of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and asked if I’d like to join him. Without a second thought, I agreed. My dear friend forced me to audition as well, but, I, instantly refused thinking that people who audition for such giant platforms are par excellence and I’m nowhere even close to them! But eventually, I did audition and fortunately was selected for the next round and that’s how my musical journey began with Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in the year 1997. As the season drew to a close, I lost by five marks and couldn’t win the trophy, but I definitely gave my opposition a tough fight. It was that day that I made up my mind that it doesn’t matter if I win the show or not but, I will come back as a judge on the show. I am extremely excited to be judging a show of this stature and not just once but thrice.
2- Today’s generation of musicians are getting big breaks quite easily. How do you compare this with your time?
A- When I started my musical career, there were limited platforms and very few opportunities. But, in today’s time, there are immense opportunities and some great talent shows running across channels. This is indeed a boon to countless aspiring singers. However, I still feel these talent hunt singing reality shows aren’t enough and there should me more such platforms for singers to showcase their talent, as the talent in our country is humongous, incredible and amazing. Countless struggling singers from small towns and villages are still waiting for that one golden opportunity to showcase their talent to the world, but, unfortunately haven’t had the privilege of one.
3- Tell us about your experience during the auditions and the kind of talent you witnessed?
A- The creative team of the show has an eye for short-listing the most deserving talent. Auditions were conducted in around 23 cities of India and we have seen some phenomenal talent, spanning various genres of singing and styles.
4- What are the changes you’ve seen over the years in the contestants participating?
A- The contestants today are extremely confident and come fully prepared. They not only sing in sur and taal, but emote and articulate the spirit of the song. The seriousness of the craft is visible in every performance they give on stage. I also believe with the advent of social media, people today are more comfortable in front of the camera and that helps them boost their confidence a lot. The digital age is proving to be a boon for them. I must say that the talent is phenomenal and there are opportunities galore. The future is truly bright.
5- Was there any disagreement between you, Sona Mohapatra and Wajid Khan during the selection process of the contestants?
A- All three of us have known each other for years now and everyone has a different taste for the craft. It instantly shows on our faces whether a candidate is suitable for a show like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. So we exchange looks and instinctively know each other’s points of view.
6- How do you handle a contestant when they get eliminated?
A- I always make sure that they don’t feel let down and one thing I always tell them is to never lose hope and to work hard. I also advise them to learn more and be a student all their life. There’s no age for learning and one should just keep working hard and learn for their own betterment.
8- Gujarati songs are becoming a rage in Bollywood today. What do you have to say about that?
A- I have sung a lot of Gujarati songs and I enjoy singing in Gujarati. Over the years the Gujarati film industry has seen some stellar movies being produced and equally, great music compositions being released. I definitely wish to compose music for a good Gujarati film in the near future.
9- Tell us something about your upcoming projects.
A- Student Of The Year –2, Bharat and working title film Hrithik vs Tiger are the films in the pipeline for the year 2019