Aspiring singers thronged the Zee Thamizh’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2012 auditions

Engineering student Ashwin J.R. of Pongalur was at the venue from 11 the previous night, waiting to see if his voice would take him to Chennai. It did. He was the first contestant in the well-organised Coimbatore auditions of Zee Thamizh’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2012. He sang ‘Aaariraro’ well enough to impress the deciding judges Mohan Vaidya and singer Prashanthini, who gave this singer a ticket to the Chennai round.

Ashwin was among the 470 contestants who turned up at Dr. GRD College of Science on Sunday morning. Of these, 102 were shortlisted by judges from the Coimbatore Music College and 36 were chosen for the Chennai round. Once in Chennai, they will work with voice trainers and be groomed by singers who will prepare them for the big contest.

The best part about reality shows is that it throws up the unlikeliest of heroes such as M. Karthikeyan, 24, of Tirupur who sang ‘Mandram Vandha Thendralukku’. It was mesmerising. This tailor in a Tirupur factory practises his singing as he stitches.

He also doubles up as a singer in an orchestra.

T. Kumar, 27, who works in the construction business, had come all the way from Chittoor to take part in the show. He sang the haunting ‘Kaalai Nera Poonguyil’ to win his Chennai ticket.

Fair chance

Mohan Vaidya and Prashanthini were shining examples of how judges should be. When they identified talent, and if the singers were nervous, they gave them two, even three chances. Vidya T., 24, is grateful about that. Mohan Vaidya also asked her to work on her pronunciation. “I’m getting ready to work on that and learn to control my nerves before I leave for Chennai,” promises Vidya.

Soon, college student Fabian Netto, 23, came on stage and offered to sing a Tamil and an English song. The minute he broke into ‘Aayiye Aayiye’ from Ayan, the judges had little to say except hand him the ticket. But, he sang an English song too, for “all lovers”, and won himself a hug from Mohan.

Next to follow was Darshan R.P., 20, another student of engineering. He wowed Mohan with his Carnatic number and followed it up with a lilting melody. He got a ticket, a hug, lots of blessings from Mohan, who advised him to never give up classical singing. Fabian and Darshan know each other from before, and enjoy each other’s singing.

When his name was announced, Fabian ran down the red carpet singing ‘Chennai-a suththi paaka poraen’.

It seemed to echo everyone’s hopes.

(The first-level auditions have already been held in Madurai, Tiruchi and Coimbatore. Chennai is next and the final auditions will take place in the third week of August in Chennai. The programme will be telecast from September 1.)