It's a balmy evening in Anna Nagar, and the house is filled with a sense of urgency and anticipation. The entire family, including Reshmi, the daughter of the household, is dressed in their best, eagerly awaiting the guest of honour. And when he finally arrives, there's a chorus of welcomes, delighted faces and happy smiles.
For, Reshmi has just won a contest, part of the Bring Home the Captain Campaign done by Saibaba Telefilms for their Tamil show, Sangeetha Mahayuddham, on Sun TV.
On August 6, the campaign began by traveling across all prominent malls, colleges, schools and residential areas in Chennai, in search of lucky winners. The prize is a visit from one of the judges on the show: Vijay Yesudas, Mathangi, Srilekha, Anupama, Devan or Madhu Balakrishnan.
This evening, it happens to be Devan Ekambaram, singer and music director who's begun making waves with his projects. He's been singing under various composers such as A R Rahman, and has the music of the upcoming Bale Pandiya, produced by AGS Entertainment, to his credit.
The gift for winning the campaign happens to be a gold-wrapped goody box, which Reshmi accepts with pleasure. Straightaway, guest and winner launch into an impromptu discussion about the contest, the show, and the process of winning.
"I've always wanted to be a part of the show," gushes Reshmi, a 12 std student in Good Shepherd School, Nungambakkam.
"So how exactly did you win the contest?" asks a visibly interested Devan.
"The show's organisers came to a location nearby to conduct the contest and I entered almost as a joke," reveals Reshmi. She had bunked school that day, she laughs. "I wanted to do some studying. I guess I just wanted a day off. I sent a recording of a song. They heard it, and then they came around asking for details about me."
Devan interrupts at this point. "What did you sing? Can you sing it here, for us?"
Reshmi obliges with a smile; she chooses to sing En Vaanile, a popular Tamizh number from Johnny. "I'm not a trained singer," she explains, blushing. But music certainly is one of her interests and if things go right, she would consider pursuing it. "But my aim is to become a doctor. I haven't decided on a specialty, still, it's my ambition."
Devan's work as a guest is done, and after a few moments of brilliant flashbulbs that make everyone blink, we usher him aside for a quick chat with rediff.com.
"It's a wonderful opportunity; an excellent chance to showcase talent," Devan affirms with enthusiasm, about the show. "And it's a great chance to meet my peers. I mean, we're all in the same field and do meet one another one in a while but this, this is different. Six of us in one place, doing a show and spotting talent are cool experiences. This is a very healthy way of forming a rapport with each other. We also get to meet a variety of singers and interact with them. It's an overwhelming feeling," he enthuses. "Each of us has our own strengths, we each sing differently. One sings western, Srilekha does kuthu songs well and it goes on."
What kind of response does he think the show has?
"So far, it's been great," he smiles. "We've all been getting feedback from all over; even New Zealand, LA, Europe. People watch and enjoy it. I've no doubt that it'll be very successful."
The Captain smiles and obliges; flashbulbs pop again, and it's back to the limelight.
Catch Sangeetha Mahayuddham on Saturdays and Sundays between 9.30pm and 10.30pm, on Sun TV.
Photograph: Sreeram Selvaraj