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The fifth season of hit show Indian Idol will soon start. In fact, the auditions are already over! They took place in Mumbai on March 23 and 24, at the Andheri Sports Complex.
Patcy N introduces you to a few of the participants who either made it or were eliminated in the first few rounds of the auditions.
Zaheer Ali (27), Bangalore
I have given the first round of auditions and was selected. Now I am waiting for other rounds.
This is the first time I am participating in Indian Idol. Last year there were auditions in Bangalore, but I could not participate as I had my exams.
This year there were no auditions in Bangalore, so I came here.
I even made a friend on the train, Kushal. He was also coming from Bangalore to Mumbai to participate in Indian Idol. So I went with him to his house, freshened up and came here.
I have been learning to play the guitar for the past two years. And, while I am not a trained singer, I have participated in school competitions and won many times. I had a music band called Dhun. We did a few corporate shows too, but as soon as everyone got jobs the band disintegrated.
I live with my mother Fatima. She is a housewife. My father died few years back. I also have an elder brother, Wajid Ali. He works at Ericsson and is married.
We have rent coming from few houses that we own, which takes care of our income. Plus, I earn a decent salary.
After BSc I had to take up job to fund my studies. I worked at a call centre and then did my MCA (Master of Computer Applications). Now for the past seven months I've worked with IBM as a trainee.
I earn around Rs 20,000 a month. I have taken three days leave from office to participate in Indian Idol, and have told everyone in office that I am going for auditions.
If I am selected, I will ask for a long leave. If I don't get it, then I will leave my job, because music is my passion.
Meghna Bose (27), Bhopal
I gave my audition and got selected in the first round. I'm now waiting for the second round of auditions.
This is the first time I am participating in Indian Idol because I never thought of singing seriously before, even though I have learned three years of classical music at Sadhana Sangeet Mahavidyalay.
I have been singing since I was five. I sang at various Kali Baadis [temples] as a kid. My mother has done her Masters in singing. She was a teacher and my father was a senior DGM in DHL, Bhopal. He is retired now. My elder brother works and stays in Delhi. He's not into music.
There were auditions in Indore this year. I went there, but got rejected in the first round itself, so I came to Mumbai. Since I had worked in Mumbai for about a year, I know the place. So I had already decided that if I don't get selected in Indore, I would come to Mumbai.
I did my MBA in Human Resources, and am a freelance trainer. I train people on corporate survival skills. Since I just freelance, I don't have any obligations. So if I am selected for Indian Idol, I will take up music seriously.
Sachin Surve (29), Pune
I gave my audition and got selected in two rounds, and am now waiting for the third round.
I had auditioned for first and fourth seasons of Indian Idol, and both times I got rejected after a few rounds.
I could not participate in the second and third seasons of Indian Idol because of family problems.
For three years I've trained in singing with my Guru Salunke. He is from Patiala Gharana.
I am married. My wife Anita has her own business. She is into interior designing, and makes modular kitchens. My father is retired, and I stay with my father and my elder brother.
I am a software engineer at Infosys. I have been working with them for the past three years. A month ago I told people at my office that I would need a few days off for the auditions. But my leave was not sanctioned.
They told me to go at my own risk. I decided to risk losing my job as this is my last chance to participate in Indian Idol. After all, after I turn 30 I will not be able to participate.
I worship music and I can give up my job for it. I have experience. I will get a job anywhere, but I will not get this opportunity ever again in my life. I have the full support of my family.
Gautam Suri (22), Mumbai
I have been trying to participate in Indian Idol since 2006, but I never got a call for auditions. This is the first time I got a chance to come here. I gave my first audition and got selected.
I have just trained in singing for two months and have been practicing on my own for the last six years.
I have been wheelchair-bound since I was 10-years-old. I have muscular dystrophy [hereditary muscle disease that weakens the muscles]. There's no treatment for this genetic problem.
I gave up my studies when I was in standard five, as I was sick. I tried to learn at home but lost interest.
My father works in a textile company, my mother is a housewife and my elder brother is just like me: he also is bound to a wheelchair with the same disease. My younger sister is studying.
Nikhil Daniel (23), Pune
It's the first time I am participating in Indian Idol. I gave my auditions but was rejected. I am not trained singer, but I sing at the church choir. I also know how to play keyboard and percussions. I want to learn how to play the guitar, but haven't thought of taking up singing.
My father is an advocate and my mother is a teacher. I have a sister who is working with Tech Mahindra Ltd Hyderabad. I am working with Tata AutoComp Systems Limited as assistant manager in business development. I took a day off to come and give my audition.
I sang three songs for the auditions -- old and new songs -- yet I got rejected. But no hard feelings!
Riddhi Rajesh (22), Mumbai
This is the second time I am participating in Indian Idol. The first time I did it was when I was in standard 12. I got selected in the first two rounds, but then my board exam dates were declared, so I gave up.
Today I came with my friend who wanted to participate. He forced me to participate. I did it, and got selected in round one!
They asked me to dance and sing Piya Tu Ab Toh Aajaa from Carvaan, but now I have been waiting for an hour. And I have to go home, so I am leaving. I don't want to participate. It was just for time pass that I came.
I work for Fox Television Studios India. I work for their reality show, and my job profile is to look out for characters who could make a good story for a reality show. So I don't find all these things interesting anymore.
My father is an engineer and my mother is a housewife and my sister is studying in the ninth standard.