, the unique 9X
reality show which blended entertainment with information and
awareness, reached its culmination on Saturday night. The show had four
pairs from the music industry – Sunali and Roopkumar Rathod, Mahalaxmi
Iyer and Kailash Kher
, Vasundhara Das
and Mohit Chauhan
Pandit and Naresh Iyer
composing their own songs for a cause. A UN
initiative, the songs had to have a message around a social cause which
could be unemployment, education, female infanticide, poverty and so
on. It was about reminding India about the Millennium Development Goals
the UN had set up, and the pledge our country had signed to realize
We caught up with Javed Akhtar
, one of the judges on the show which had A R Rahman
and UN South East Asia ambassador Lara Dutta
too on the jury seats.
What are your thoughts as the competition draws to a close?
It was a different kind of a concept and obviously the experience of
having judged it is different. Normally, entertainment is perceived to
be mindless and informative, but Mission Ustaad was a mix of both and I
feel we achieved a fair balance of the two. Since it was just not
another music reality show, and had a definite agenda, a cause behind
it, it gave me an opportunity to voice my thoughts, my views about the
various issues plaguing our country. At least, an effort was made to
reach out to the audience.
But the show doesn't seem to have got high TRPs..
Well, you have to understand that our show was on a new channel. But it
has managed to give 9X a niche, an identity. It has given the channel a
face. Besides, even if we managed to convey our message to a small
percent of audience, we have succeeded.
What do you have to say about your co-judges?
(Smiles). Well, I have worked with A R Rahman
. He's a genius. Lara was
a pleasant surprise. I came to know that she is the youngest ambassador
of South East Asia, UN. She was very well informed, clear-headed and
made her comments with tremendous precision. She always made a valid
Who were you most impressed by among the contestants?
They all were good at some point or the other. They composed some great
songs with some great messages. I was particularly impressed by Roop
Kumar's range. I always knew he was a good singer, but Mission Ustaad
brought across a completely different Roop. I was very impressed. And
of course, Kailash is Kailash. Vasundhara is a great performer.
Mahalaxmi is a fine singer. After Alka Yagnik
and Kavita Krishnamurthy
she and Sunidhi Chauhan
are the new generation of singers. Naresh and
Shweta are the young blood, plucky and talented.
You have judged a populist reality
show like Indian Idol and now something like Mission Ustaad. How would
you compare the creative satisfaction you may have got from judging
these two shows?
Well, Idol was totally different. Mission Ustaad was more about
content, composition and who could bring across the message more
effectively. Idol was about who could sing a song more magically. I
enjoyed both. Yes, I will do more reality shows because I am all for
encouraging new talent. Since 1972, the year I got into the film
industry, I have always supported new composers, new singers, and newer
kids. It makes me proud to be of some help to these younger talents.
For instance, Amit Paul
who I clearly thought should have been the Idol
3 winner but couldn't, is singing my songs for my forthcoming films.
Finally have you seen Farah's children? (Farah Khan is his niece)
Of course I have. They are beautiful babies. It was a joy to see them.
Author: Suhaani Rai