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Alka Yagnik is one of the finest voices that most of us have heard in our lifetime. You can pick some of your favourite Bollywood songs from the 90s that you cannot stop crooning even today and chances are high that most of them were recorded in the mellifluous voice of the seven-time winner of Filmfare Awards, Alka Yagnik.

In an illustrious career spanning across three decades, the melodious singer has lent her voice to over 20,000 songs in more than 1000 movies. In 2006, Yagnik made her television debut as a judge on popular singing reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs. After judging three seasons of the show till 2014, monotony set in and she decided to stay away from singing reality shows for some time.

However, when the makers of Sony Entertainment Television’ Superstar Singer approached the singing great to come onboard as a judge, she could not say no to them. “I said yes to the show because its format was different,” she tells Eastern Eye correspondent Mohnish Singh. “I had never worked with Sony Entertainment Television before, so that was also one of the reasons I agreed to take it on. But kids were the main reason for me to choose Superstar Singer,” she adds.

 

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You are returning to judge a singing reality show after a long time. What persuaded you to take on Superstar Singer?

I have judged a lot of reality shows in the past, and most of them were kids singing reality shows. After a point, things became very repetitive, so I took a break. I did not want to do the same thing over and again. So I decided to stay away from such shows for some time. But Superstar Singer is coming for the first time on television and that too after the huge success of dance reality show Super Dancer. This is the first edition of the brand. It is true that it had been a long time since I did not judge any singing reality show, but when I came to know that Superstar Singer is a kids singing reality show, I got interested again.

Superstar Singer is replacing Super Dancer on Sony Entertainment Television. As you rightly mentioned that the latter has been a huge hit among audiences, so do you feel its popularity will rub off on Superstar Singer?

Yeah, Superstar Singer is replacing Super Dancer, which has been a top-rated show on the channel. I assume that the makers are going to put in the same amount of efforts and energy in Superstar Singer.

Another reason I said yes to the show was that its format was different. I had never worked with Sony Entertainment Television before, so that was also one of the reasons I agreed to take it on. But kids were the main reason for me to choose Superstar Singer.

Would you like to tell us something about the concept of the show?

It is a singing reality show, but the format of the show is a little different. There are three layers: contestants, four captains, who are going to groom children, and then there are the judges. It is a combination of all three layers. All children will be divided among the four captains and their responsibility is to groom them. What these kids sing under the guidance of their captains, we judges will judge it. How well contestants sing and how well they progress, depends on the captains. Only not the contestants are responsible for how well they sing but captains are too. So that is how it goes. It is interesting. It is little out of the ordinary.

What are you looking in a Superstar Singer?

I am looking for a complete package. But, most importantly, good singing capacity.

 

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What do you have to say about this new generation of young singers?

They all are extremely talented. More than that, they are very confident. They are brimming with confidence. Their singing capacity is of such level that, at times, it feels that they are born singers. I remember I started singing when I was 3-4 year old. Though I had learnt how to sing, I was so shy back then that I would always sing with my head hung down. But look at these kids, they sing like they are veterans. So, today’s generation is very smart.

Is working with kids difficult?

Not for me. I have always been very comfortable working with kids on such shows. I think I take to them very easily and they take to me very easily. I like their infectious positive energy. I soak in that energy. Had it been a singing show for grown-ups, I might not have accepted it. But since it was a kids singing reality show, I was happy to take it on.

What is your take on the kind of music that is being created today?

It is a different phase now. Different kinds of songs are being made. There is a lot of rap. There is a lot of Punjabi folk in them. Songs with soul and a lot of depth are missing. But I hope that era will come back.

Why should one watch Superstar Singer?

I would just say do watch the show because it is going to be an interesting and very different show. You will get to listen to some amazing songs and soulful melodious music.

Also featuring Himesh Reshammiya and Javed Ali on the judging panel, Superstar Singer premiered on 29 June, 2019, on Sony Entertainment Television.