‘Talent is everything’

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Sunidhi Chauhan talks about judging music reality show Dil Hai Hindustani and how the audience too supports contestants who are good

2018 has been quite special for Sunidhi Chauhan both personally and professionally. The singer gave birth to her son on January 1 and her playback tracks — Lae Dooba (Aiyaary), Manwaa (October) and Ae Watan (Raazi) — have become huge hits. In fact, the singer, who shot for another music reality show during her pregnancy, is back as one of the judges for Star Plus’ upcoming music reality show Dil Hai Hindustani 2. 
The show, going on air from July 7, will also have music composer Pritam and singer-rapper Badshah as judges. 
Sunidhi tells us more about the realities of music reality shows and motherhood as well.  

This is the first time Sunidhi is getting associated with the show. The first season was judged by Karan Johar, Badshah, Shekhar Ravjiani and Shalmali Kholgade. Sunidhi says the fact that people from all over the world, who don’t even know the language, perform and showcase their talent, made her interested in the show. “They are excited about it and so much in love with India and its culture. They are attracted to Bollywood and classical music,” says the award-winning playback singer. 
While judging the show, Sunidhi will just focus on the talent of the participants. “No matter what kind of showmanship they have, ultimately it’s all about talent, how they sing. I hope we get some really good people singing because the audience then can see talent from across the world on their TV set while sitting at home.”

Sunidhi herself is a reality show winner. She won Meri Awaz Suno, where she was awarded the Lata Mangeshkar Trophy for the best female singer of India. Does she truly believe that surviving and winning a reality show is only about talent? There are other aspects too — stage presence, entertainment and so on. “Honestly speaking, the show that I was a part of wasn’t a reality show. There was no voting so it was purely a competition. The reality bit started 10 years ago when we started to know about the talent of the contestants, their life, back stories, families and how important it is for them to win and if they don’t, what would happen. These kind of things got people connected with the contestants,” says Sunidhi. 

She adds that now even if a contestant loses, they are in front of the world. “They are famous enough to start a new life because people have already seen them on TV. Even though not everyone wins but some of them are appreciated and they have their audience and are in a better position than before. Reality shows give them something to keep moving ahead,” she quips. 

As reality shows started reaching to the masses, voting by the public became an integral part of these shows. But has the journey of contestants become more easy because of voting? “You can say that but I like to believe that the audience pushes for contestants who are extraordinarily talented. I do not deny the fact that they go with emotions but they also support those who are good. It works both ways, I feel,” she says. 

Dil Hai Hindustani 2 isn’t the first reality show Sunidhi is judging. Over the years, she has judged contestants in Indian Idol 5, Indian Idol 6, The Voice and recently The Remix. The singer says that participants have become more confident. 
“If they say that they are scared, they are lying (laughs) because in these reality shows all their fears and nervousness are gone as the anchor is already talking to them and making them feel comfortable. They also have enough time to interact with the judges. Some people perform better, which is good and some get over confident, which is wrong.”

But confidence also comes from the fact that today’s youngsters are much more exposed. Many of them have their YouTube channels where they put up their cover songs, many have been performing live on stage etc. “That’s what I mean, they are already exposed to the world. So when they come to such a platform, they are okay about it because they are prepared for the best and worst. If they do not win, they are fine with it. If this platform doesn’t work, they can try some other,” says the singer who has given hits like Kamli, Crazy Kiya Re, Sheila Ki Jawani, Hey Shona, Aaja Nachle, among others. 

Congratulate Sunidhi on her motherhood and she can’t stop smiling. Ask her if life has changed post childbirth and she replies, “It’s not changed a lot. It’s a little busier and I like being busy, so it’s good.” With playback singing, stage shows, judging reality shows — does it become difficult balancing a full-fledged career and motherhood? “Not at all, because everything is on autopilot and I have help. After my son was born, I started working on the 28th day post childbirth because it was kind of easy. As long as he is present with me everywhere, I am absolutely okay with work. Even while working on Dil Hai Hindustani, people at Star Plus and Frame Productions gave me space and time, so I never had to worry about going back and feeding my baby.”    

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