They are celebrities. People want to click photos with them wherever they go. Passers-by stop to congratulate them on their performance in the latest episode. Life is not what it used to be for Dhivagar, Sonia, Sayed Subahan, Sarath Santosh, and Parvathy, the finalists of Vijay TV’s reality show Super Singer. And they are enjoying every bit of it. They competed against thousands of contestants to win the top spot — they will battle it out on a live stage in Campa Cola Grounds, Guindy on February 1 to win the title.
While Sonia and Parvathy auditioned for the show in Coimbatore, Sarath sent his voice in a CD for the auditions. Dhivagar and Sayed tried their luck at video booths in shopping malls in Chennai and Coimbatore. They are from diverse backgrounds, speak different languages, lead different lives — but thanks to music, these five complete strangers turned friends during the course of a year in which they participated in the television show.
For the finalists, the best thing about the Super Singer experience is the confidence they gained. “I’m planning to learn Blues,” says Sayed. Sarath is brushing up on more Tamil songs and Parvathy is learning Hindustani as an offshoot to her participation in the reality show. “I knew there was something special in my voice, but now, I’m taking it seriously,” she says.
Each of them has their unforgettable moments at the show. Best friends Sarath and Sayed fought head-on in one round. “When I lost, Sayed felt bad for me than I did,” recalls Sarath. Then there was the time when A.R. Rahman listened with his eyes closed when Dhivagar sang for him. Has he got a call from the music composer? “Not yet,” smiles Dhivagar. “I’m sure I will get it someday.”
There are times when they have been surprised at the reach of their music. “We were once at a restaurant when some people walked up to congratulate and take photos with us. All this when an established singer whom we look up to, was there in the same restaurant,” recalls Dhivagar. While each of them dreams of making it big in the industry, their aim right now is to sing well on the big day. They know there will only be one winner — and will give their best shot at emerging as the one.
Dhivagar is a Chennai boy. A resident of Red Hills, his interest in music springs from his love for Ilaiyaraaja songs. Ever the soul of the party, the 23-year-old is known for his fast, folk-based songs. He is not classically trained.
Parvathy, the youngest of the lot is a college student. The 19-year-old is also not classically trained but is at her best when she sings melodies. Her happiest moment was when A.R. Rahman, a special guest at an episode, said she was ‘amazing’.
Sayed, who finished his engineering degree in Coimbatore a year ago, dreams of becoming an individual performer like Michael Jackson one day. A die-heard fan of A.R. Rahman, his interest lies in western music. Sayed’s is the story of a boy from a college band on his way to fame. People took notice of him after his performance of Rahman’s Adiyae from the movie Kadal.
For someone with little knowledge in Tamil, Sarath has come a long way. The 20-year-old from Hyderabad practises songs with its lyrics written in Telugu. He won over two lakh votes from the viewers to secure a place in the finals. Classically trained, Sarath is a Statistics student.
The stage is not new to Sonia. A well-known face in television reality shows in Kerala, she won her first music competition when she was in class IV. She started performing in stage shows when she was 11. Music runs in her family — her musician-grandfather has performed with M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar. S. Janaki and Chithra’s songs are Sonia’s favourites.