HYDERABAD: Spanning four weeks, tapping into the lives of nine individuals led by three passionate mentors, The Step Up by Johnnie Walker is already creating waves.Touted to be India’s first Digital Mentorship Program, the mentors are self-made young achievers - celebrity chef Nikhil Chib,avant-garde designer Nikhil Thampi and MIDIval Punditz, an Indian fusion group comprising Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj.
The programme, to be aired as a web-series on www.thestepup.instarting March 9, will be focusing on fashion, food and music, the respective fortes of thementorsandwill seeparticipants showcase their talents inspecific categories. The finale will see three top performers from each category battle it out week after week, to win a six month apprentice ship with Thampi and Chib, while the music winners get the opportunity to embark on a four city tour with MIDIval Punditz.
The mentors tell us more on what inspires them and how they hope to motivate a new generation.
More on your expectations
We’re obviously looking for their basics to be in place. Software knowledge if they are composers, awareness of their instruments if they are instrumentalists, etc. But the edge that we are looking for is honesty. Unique compositions not rip-offs or ‘inspired’ by artistes from elsewhere.
What drew you to the show?
When we started out back in 1998, we were quite naïve and raw. We’re excited that there is a platform such as the Step Up by Johnnie Walker to encourage the burst of independent musicians and give them an opportunity to reach a wider audience. We wish we had this opportunity back in the day! It’s going to be inspiring for many, to see raw talent being honed and encouraged to step up.
Behind the scenes
The atmosphere in the studio is going to be fun and light, and that’s going to be entertaining to watch. What’s even better is that it’s all-digital which means it’s going to be really easy to access. One could even catch it on their phones and we think the show will definitely do well with the young adults.
What do you enjoy about mentoring?
I have never really had a mentor in my life so for me this is very exciting. I know that this program has so much to offer and learning that I am sure will change people’s lives.
What are you judging contestants on?
Good technique and presentation skills plus a good palate to taste the food they cook.
What brought you on board?
Today’s youth don’t watch TV anymore. (Even I don’t.) They prefer their mobiles or tablets. I like the fact that I can reach out to them this way.
The process of cooking-deboning the chicken, peeling garlic to stirring the ingredients. It is important to enjoy every part of the process and that in turn will inspire you. When you enjoy smaller things, it ceases to be a chore.