This is the age when channels like Zee TV, Star Plus, Sony, Colours, and closer home Maa TV and others are dominating the reality talent show business with a kaleidoscope of series. Shows like India’s Got Talent, Indian Idol, Dance India Dance and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa on a national scale and the regional Padutha Theeyaga, Dhee 3 and Super Singer have become coveted stages that most people wish to be on. Foraying into this, with a distinctive stamp of its own, is the almost forgotten DD Saptagiri. Its programming is refreshingly different from the rest of the pack and stands its ground in the ratings-crazy TV schedule.
For the last 52 weeks, the State-owned channel has been conducting ‘Swara Samaram’, a Carnatic-based singing competition which concluded in a televised finale broadcast live from the Ravindra Bharathi on Friday afternoon. The competition, which invited entries from youngsters, was aimed at promoting Carnatic music among the younger generation which is seemingly obsessed these days with all things filmi and western. The finale, which was graced by Governor ESL Narasimhan and his wife Vimala, saw the competition, which began with 150 applicants. Singing in front of an esteemed jury, which included vocalist Mallari Surya Babu, vocalist Komanduri Seshadri and the Hyderabad sisters Bhaskara Lalitha and Haripriya, 20-year-old Sruthi Ravali from Visakhapatnam received a standing ovation and the first prize while 22-year-old Yoga Kirtana was awarded the second prize.
The finale was initially between four finalists, including M Sarada and Swathi Ranjani, besides the winners. After the first round, Ravali and Kirtana advanced to the final showdown. Ravali’s performance, though, left no one in doubt as to the ultimate winner.
It was quite interesting to see that the top four finalists were all female singers. Smiling conspiratorially, Sailaja Suman, Deputy Director and Head of Programmes, DD, said, “As a woman, I’m very happy to see that. However, Swara Samaram is about giving equal opportunities to all youngsters and promote a fast disappearing culture. When I was young, all of us learnt some form of classical art. But that isn’t the case anymore.” Echoing her thoughts was the Governor, who eloquently spoke in Telugu and pointed out that the Guru shishya parampara needs to be revived.