This was my first trip to India in nearly 10 years!!
The first rounds of the competition were held regionally all over India, but I decided to enter the Bangalore audition.
I arrived at the venue at 8am to find approximately a 1000 people in the queue already, which was quite a daunting experience. After standing outside in the heat for 4 hours, I finally entered the venue. People were divided into batches of 10, and out of us, 2 people were to be selected for Round 2.
I was nervous, but I knew I had to believe in myself, and sing with soul and feeling. The judge made me sing 4 songs, and I made it through to the 2nd round, after an agonising wait. The 2nd round was in front of a large audience, with live instrumentation, and was therefore a different ball-game altogether. I chose the song ‘muskurane ki wajah,’ and sang it well. The 2 judges stopped me after about a minute and gave me a gold medal. I had made it through to the 3rd round as the ‘Top 15’ in Bangalore, which really was a wonderful feeling and a great boost of confidence.
The quarter-final stage was in Ahmedabad 2 weeks later, and I knew that this would be challenging against the best regional singers in India. There were 7 judges this time, and all the participants were given 2 minutes to sing a song of their choice. I sang a very challenging song called ‘Parda hai Parda’ by Mohammed Rafi, and fortunately made it through to the 4th round of the competition, which had well-exceeded the initial expectation I had.
The competition was now fierce, and there were some exceptional singers there, especially from Punjab and Rajasthan. To up my game, I sang the song ‘O Re Piya,’ and made it to the top 50 stage of the competition after a very hard fought round. I knew I was now one round away from the Semi-finals, which would have been a magnificent achievement.
I felt very nervous, although in hindsight there was probably no reason to be, as I had reached this far through merit. However, I unfortunately made a couple of errors in a difficult song called ‘Laal Ishq,’ and was knocked out of the competition. I felt gutted because I knew I could have gone further. Overall, though, it was a wonderful and character-building experience!