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Do these Indians have talent?

Last updated on: September 17, 2010 18:06 IST

Do these Indians have talent?

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Rajul Hegde in Mumbai

The contestants on India's Got Talent Khoj 2 on Colors have stunned the judges and viewers with their remarkable talent.

From sand artists to the legless dancer from Delhi, these contestants are truly a talented lot.

Now 12 semi-finalists are gearing up to perfom for a place at the finale which is expected to beheld on October 2.

The first six sem-ifinalists will perform tonight while the next six the following week.

Rajul Hegde caught up with some of the semi-finalists to hear more about their skills and performances.

Skill: Choir singing
Who: The Shillong Chamber Choir
Place: Shillong, Meghalaya

The Shillong Chamber Choir, which was formed in 2001, is known for their performance of Khasi opera with a fusion of Western music.

The 15-member group is headed by Neil Nongkynrih and include singers Ibarisha, Donna, Jessica, Patricia Doren Kevi, Sandon, Daman, Riewbankit, Johanan, Kynsai, Ryan and Banlam.

Donna says they are more inclined to western classical with opera which is not so popular in India.

Asked what prompted them to participate in IGT, Donna says, "We don't have much exposure in India for the type of music we perform. So we collectively decided to come on a television show like IGT to make it popular. We couldn't have asked for a better platform than this."

The trained group of singers has performed in concerts in USA, China, Europe and Sri Lanka. In India the choir's performances have also included concerts in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"So far we have got overwhelming remarks from the judges and we are hopeful that the public will take us to the next level," Donna adds.

So what will they do with the prize money if they win?

"We would like to set up an auditorium and also start a wonderful music school for the underprivileged," she smiles.

So who do they think is their toughest competitor?

"I think Bir Khalsa Group and the acrobat duo are very good."


Image: Members of The Shillong Chamber Choir

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Skill: Sand animation
Who: Manas Kumar Group
Place: Puri, Odisha

The sand animation group consists of Manas Kumar Sahu and Bulu Mohanty (teacher), Suchitra Mahasweta and Monalisa Sahu (student) of Sudarshan Sand Art Institute, Puri, and Odisha (founded by renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik).

This is the first team in the world to create sand animation. "Sand animation is a new art form which we have performed abroad and for the first time in India on this show. This is a good platform to showcase our talent and promote our sand animation," Manas says.

He continues, "We have participated in cultural shows abroad in places like the US, Canada, Holland, Belgium etc. We have done sand sculptures of the Taj Mahal, Gandhiji, castles and awareness campaigns."

So far on the show, the team has performed on topics like the food crisis, global warming and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

"We always pick major social issues and try to solve it through our sand animation," Manas says. "We basically discuss our ideas with our family members, seniors and guru, Pattnaik before we implement them."

The team has received appreciation from the judges and the public and have a fair chance at winning the title.

Asked what they will do with the prize money if they should win, pat comes the reply: "Our dream it to open a sand art park at Puri. The park will have sand sculpture, paintings, photo gallery, classes, and shows."

So who do they think is the team to beat to fulfill their dreams?

"To be honest we have not thought about it. We have a unique talent so we only hope that people like our performances and vote for us."


Image: Sand artists (top) and a sand animation (below)

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Skill: Dancing
Who: Diwakar Bhel and Sonia Verma
Place: Mumbai

Choreographers Sonia Verma (23) and Diwakar Bhel (25) have worked with famous choreographers like Farah khan, Raju Khan (choreographer Saroj Khan's son) and many more.

Both are basically from Delhi but are now living in Mumbai. They got together for India's Got Talent Khoj 2. Both are struggling to make it big in this field. Sonia loves acting and hopes that someday she will get an offer to play a lead in a television serial.

"I always wanted to perform something of international standard. We have seen people from abroad coming here and performing at our award functions. I always thought to myself, even I should try something like this and showcase my talent," Bhel says.

"I met Sonia and we discussed about this just three days before IGT auditions. Since both of us have the same interests we decided to participate in this show," he adds.

"We want people to hire us in our country and abroad after watching our performance," says Sonia

"We watch international performances, get tips from there. We are always trying out new things."

Bhel and Sonia are confident that they will make it to the finals and have already picked out "something grand and dangerous" to stun the viewers.

As for their toughest competitors, both agree that the sand artists are the one to beat. "It's difficult to do sand animation and they are very good at it," says Bhel.


Image: Diwakar Bhel and Sonia Verma

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Skill: Drumming
Who: Teji Toko
Place: Arunachal Pradesh

18-year-old Teji is a class 12th student who started playing drums when he was in the 9th standard. "I don't have a teacher, whatever I learnt is from instructional videos on youtube," he says.

"My friends know how crazy I am about music. I even irritated my teachers with my constant foot tapping in class. Now, they are happy that I got selected," he says. In fact it was Teji's teacher who told him to send a demo to IGT.

So does he have a band?

"I don't have a band as such but I do jam with musicians, and do small gigs at restaurants and malls."

Asked if he is disappointed with the not-so-good comments from the judges during the semifinal round, Teji says no. "I completely agree with the judges because it's time for me to take music lessons from a teacher. I couldn't impress the judges because I barely had a day to prepare myself for the semi-finals but that is no excuse," he smiles.

Teji says he joined the show because of the exposure it provided. "This is a good platform to showcase by talent but my aim is to form my own band or join an international band. I am planning to go abroad and study music at Berkeley, California. I don't want to be solo drummer."


Image: Teji Toko

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Skill: Singing
Who: Sayuj Jain
Place: Guwahati

13-year-old Sayuj had earlier performed at school functions before going for formal training.

"My school teacher found out that I could sing very well and suggested I train in classical music. I have been learning music for the last four years but will give my first music exams only this year," he says.

Asked why he picked this show to showcase his talent when there are many other singing reality shows out there, Jain says: "I wanted to take part in a reality show where there are different talents other than singing."

So who stands in his way of winning the title?

"All the semi finalists are good but my toughest competition is the Shillong Chamber choir."


Image: Sayuj Jain

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