Posted: 19 June 2005 at 6:02am | IP Logged
Abhijeet Sawant: Candidspeak
India's Idol bares all!
Abhijeet Sawant is the country's first Indian Idol. This 24-year-
old son of a Bombay Municipal Corporation worker triumphed
over immediate rival Amit Sana in the tightly-contested finale
after some six months of terrific ups and terrible downs.
Since then, Abhijeet's life has been a cyclonic whirlwind of live
performances, tours, 'guest' appearances and recordings. And
his maiden album Aap Ka... Abhijeet Sawant is already out.
How is this simple boy from a lower middle-class
Maharashtrian family taking in the paradigm turnaround in his
life? What does he think of his earning the stupendous prize
money by selling off the time he could spend with his nears,
dears and buddies by being a performing automaton?
Surprisingly the young man emerges articulate, mature beyond
his years - and candid too as he answers these and other
Excerpts from an interview:
Apart from your talent, to what or who else would you attribute
this big victory?
The first credit would go to my chacha (paternal uncle) Sanjay
Sawant, a well-known stage performer, who was the one who
always encouraged me to sing. He told me that since I
possessed a natural gift, I should also have the technical
knowledge, and he motivated me to learn music, which I have
been doing from the famous musician Bhavdeep Jaipurwale for
the last three years. Bhavdeep as my guruji also has a major
share in my success, and so does my family. Then there is Raju
Singh-ji, who was teaching, correcting and guiding me all
through the show, and the judges Anu Malik-ji, Sonu Nigam-ji
and Farah Khan-ji.
But above all, the credit for my victory goes to the people of
India who kept voting for me all through.
What were your emotions at that final moment when Amit's
name could have as easily been announced as yours?
Believe me, I was actually quite relaxed! Amit and I knew that
only one of us could win, and we had decided the result would
not affect our relationship. Dekhiye, my main aim in getting into
the contest was just to get recognition, aur woh mujhe mil
chukaa tha. Over here, this anonymity is a big obstacle in your
struggle as a singer, for you are just one of the hundreds who
approach a music director or company. As one of the top ten
finalists in Indian Idol, the whole nation knew me. So winning
the title was never a goal with me.
With the kind of stuff you are being obliged to do now, do you
feel the rewards are worth it now?
(Smiles) Well, I prefer it this way and it's quite fair too,
considering the amount of rewards I am getting! Yes, life has
become crazy and I am barely able to meet my family and
How completely has life changed? Do you perceive a change
within yourself as well?
I do not think that I have changed, at least not so for the worse. I
have seen so many ups and downs on the show alone, and
have been in the bottom three so often in the finals, that I
realized that winning or losing was all a matter of naseeb. Yes,
there is a burden of responsibility - towards my fans, towards
my family, who now consult me on all decisions, and towards
Will dad keep at his job?
He will, and I too would want it that way - it's all about the
feeling of having your own money, even if we are rich as a
family today. He had already bought a house in the suburbs
before all this, but now we may buy something nearer his
Are your parents intimidated by you today?
No, but today I am consulted on everything, like I said.
How will all this affect a future romance or marriage?
Things are going to be more complicated. We will have to
ensure that it's not the money that attracts girls or their families
Rumours are that there is someone already?
No, there isn't.
You ruffled many in the episode wherein Rahul Vaidya was
eliminated by saying that he deserved to be the Indian Idol?
(Shrugs). Yes, I know I did. I just reacted emotionally, but
people looked at it as an insult to the voters, but it wasn't meant
that way. I also did not intend to pull down Amit.
Very few saw you all along as a serious contender. But there
was a great qualitative leap in the last few episodes. How did
I was analyzing why I was coming so many times in the bottom
three, and paying special heed to what the judges were saying.
I came to the conclusion that I was choosing songs that did not
suit me, or were only fast numbers. I realized that the songs that
connected were those with great lyrics that touched the heart.
And I also thought that I must sing a variety of songs to show
I observed also the fact that as we moved towards the finale,
most of the others got tenser with each episode, because
winning had become vital for them. But I knew that I would win
only if I was destined to, so I progressively became more
relaxed. On TV, people see your face from up close, so my face
would have betrayed all the tension. That would have
distracted people from listening to what I was singing.
Many of the other finalists have already recorded film songs,
but not you. Isn't that strange?
Well, it will happen soon.