Saturday, July 14, 2007

Airtel Super Singer Junior - the curtains draw for now....

Its amazing how much children know. Especially when there is a reality check they understand a lot more between the lines than you do, its funny and surprising at the same time.

Most of the kids at the current level of ASSJ are at the threshold of their teens and they way they size up and make a meal of almost everything that comes their way.... the tenacity and the grit is .. amazing to say the least.
Almost all the children sing really well, and God willing, and especially the children willing, or should I say, the current educational system willing, they have a future in the starry skies of music, to twinkle, or shine or become the sun if they so please.

A lot of times I have had to speak to the kids on camera, trying to engage them in some sort of a conversation, because that is how it is supposed to be. And I must say this has been the most difficult portions in my interaction with them. All of them either have express instructions as to not to speak to me and answer in a word or two, or they its just the way they are made. No matter how much I try asking them, say for example, how do you think the judges are? - Good. How much practice did you put in? - "nerayya"
Do you want to say or ask something to the judges? - "No".

I have heard of children having lots of nice things to say, but probably they are all born careful now. Watching their words in front of the camera. And once they are sure the camera has stopped rolling they become different personalities, laughing, kidding around. I wonder why they don't want to be the children they are and act 35. Soft spoken, watching what they speak.... It has made me wonder whether the children have collectively lost their innocence. In the midst of all this, we had a kid asking for the viewers to vote for her sister so that she can come back to compete in the wild card round, and she said "if you like my sister's singing please vote for her, otherwise, no need". And the same kid, has seen me asking the directors of the show, on which camera on the floor to face, in the plethora that is there in front of me. Apparently she has seen me ask that a lot of times, and when the director told her "action" she asked in all seriousness "which camera"?
Most of the times older people look to children, to reclaim a spark that they have lost, or to just to smile in their moments of gray. As time goes, I wonder whether we will lose the chance to do that as well. And probably, a lot of times, I would probably ask the parents to let their children be their age and not make them act a few decades older.

The judges - Usha Uthup ji and Chitra ji were delightful to be with. Lots of laughter and lots of joy. And lots of goodness. Both of them have been straight forward in what they have wanted to say to the kids and honest as well. In spite of their status in the industry, they floor me with the simplicity they have. And Ushaji's energy is completely matchless. In the otherwise, stoic atmosphere, which I must say was created by the children, she lightened the mood made them laugh and dance and brought out the importance of stage presence, which is completely lacking in the performers from the south of India. Here we have people judging women who dance on stage while singing, you are given a once-over from top to toe, and immediately judged as someone who is not, 'adakkam and odukkam" enough.

Why should the singer not enjoy his own song? Why is the performance repressed in the name of "right behavior", and when the joy does not permeate from him, how will it communicate to the audience?

Usha ji proved that you can bring dignity into any profession that you chose to be in. I daresay that She brought pop-culture to the limelight in India, and you can wear Kanjeevaaram and still rock the cells out of the audience. And am so glad that children who are moulded to be subdued are exposed to someone like her. To be true to your music, how to interact with the musicians and how to generally communicate to the audience, because if you are on stage, you are there for the people and not for yourself. And Usha ji is to mark the contestants on this show for stage presence and overall performance. Chitra ji was marking the contestants on the Pitch and rhythm.
Though she seems to have a strict exterior, she is one of the most soft hearted people I have seen. And every time she used to correct the children, she mutters to herself, that "Oh God, let me always be in tune and in rhythm that I can honestly correct the children" And the times she was asked to sing, she would ask the children "seriya paadinaena?" And ask them to give her marks on pitch and rhythm. She is one of the very very few people who are pitch perfect, a singer who everyone wants to be, everyone wants to sing like. And this was one of the best combination of judges - Usha ji and Chitra ji.

Shooting with Vijay TV is always fun, and much against people saying that we are making the children cry, the channel just captures what goes on. And the facts. Everything is shown as is. And I'd say that this is a reality show that lives up to its name. If scenes were shown of the girl who went and demanded to the Judge who eliminated her from the contest, it shows that the children nowadays question what they feel is wrong, that they are outspoken and no matter how young they are, they speak up for themselves. And some parents encourage such behavior.

And if the children and their parents have decided to take part in a contest of this magnitude, they understand that they have to be prepared for Success and Failure with equal readiness. And this is a learning experience for the ones who are involved, the ones that are part of the show, and the ones that watch it.

As for me, I am richer with experiences and I must admit that I am pretty much surprised most of the times, as should be the feeling with most people.

The finale was an awesome experience giving me an opportunity to share the stage with Dr. Balamuralikrishna. Most of the times I am at a loss of words when I have to 'introduce' a musician of his stature on a show. How much can a singer of my stature and my age say? Questions of this sort have always plagued me on the show, I had the same trouble last time when I had to invite SPB sir on stage for the finale last year, and I have lost my cool, been a bundle of nerves just before the camera starts rolling. This is when the crew supported me a lot. The show, like Airtel Super Singer, has been a super learning experience, albeit a little different.

A question that I have been oft asked, why did I not sing? Because it was not the show's format, the producers did not plan that I should sing in an episode, and I did not want to keep establishing that I can sing, especially in a talent hunt for younger children, as with Airtel Super Singer. When I am a host, I am there to speak and not to showcase what I can sing. There are other platforms for me to sing in, and God willing I will be blessed with such platforms.

Also, that I seem to shout/scream. :) I am yet to learn how to hype up something without shouting. Most of the times the audience just does not react in spite of all this. A quiet presentation sometimes does not work when a lot of energy is needed. But perhaps there is a better way to exude energy in presentation, I watched a few episodes of presenters in Western shows and when it is necessary, the decibel has gone up. I definitely have a lot to learn on that front.

And it was very nice for me to hear the children singing the songs that I have sung.

And I stay thankful to time that gives me these opportunities.


Anonymous said...

happened to see ur biog. really fantastic. the way u conducted was simply astounding. as u said smt.usha madam was an awesome entertainer and madam chitra was a perfectionist. enjoyed the finals. think vignesh could have chosen a melody based song than "vandal Mahalakshmiye" hearty congrats "for your excellent stage presence" (courtesy: ushaji :D )and wish you the very best in all your endeavours.

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis. I have been watching slowly. I am impressed by the maturity of the kids. Half the time, I have wondered if the parents had rehearsed with the kids.

It's wonderful that the kids talents are showcased, but I do feel that we have our own culture. We don't need to jump to the 'jerry springer' like western concept of videotaping reality shows. I am also surprised by what I read, that the parents' reactions were real. It's too bad that some children had parents who cared more for winning and losing rather than letting the kids have fun and enjoy the competition. Dancing or not dancing is fine with me. With the concept of playback singing become so dim, I guess performers rather than singers are what TV wants, like in Hollywood.

But on the whole, truly happy to see so many kids well-versed in classical music and learning music with such dedication. My congratulations to not only the winner, but also to Vignesh, Sai Ram, Aparna and all the other kids who sang so beautifully and competed sportively.


Unknown said...

hey ... being a sports reporter i agree to you that these days kids make a special effort to be politically correct infront of the camera.

its a huge problem for me when i am interviewing some kid achiever, once i asked a talented badminton player about his goals (age11) he said he wants to win all england (equivalent of wimbledon in badminton) great if you have such ambitions ... but it was an answer clearly tutored by the kids mom...

one of the tricks i try is to start wid irrelevant questions and then when the kid is not alert fire the real ones. but when u are live there is a limitation for this too, plus some kids still wont give genuine reply.

about the screaming bit : i think its not your fault ... music competitions is done to death format on tv, if we dont improve the program format it will slowly cease to be interesting.

wanted to comment on ur earlier blog, but since you have written closing comments there, i will post my views here.
1. its a trend to be rude to project yourself as the fearless cool person.
2. but the biggest reason i think is we have too rigid ideas of what we like and what we dont and then we pass blanket remarks,
to give an example- i buy tamil music (though i dont understand the language) so i was playing alaipayuthey in my car ... so ppl forced me to switch it off saying kya madrasi laga ke rakha hai ... same stupid ppl were head over heels with saathiya music ... its silly no ... why call urself a music lover if the language stops u from appreciating it

What your response should be - you are the best judge, but since your singing career is on an upward curve, be prepared to hear such bullshit for next 20 years atleast :) i am quite surprised that ppl did nt like sahana ... i like the texture of ur voice in it

i do a lot of photography and many times ppl praise my stupid pics, and i times they pass rude comments about finest shots i have taken, same goes with the work i do for ndtv.

moral of the story is ... look at it as a feedback ... being in a mass media be prepared for this behaviour of people and dont read to much in it. its a meter that tells u what the masses like, just take a clue from it and move on

all the best to my favourite singer

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

I happened to watch most of the episodes of ASSJ.. The way you conducted the show was simply superb and the kids were brilliant, the judges were too good is jus' an understatement..
Enjoyed the shows.. Looking forward for more such shows..

You did a wonderful job.. keep it going :)

Anonymous said...

chinmayi, i shud say that SSJ has been a very entertaining and excellent show in bringing out the talent in young children..And u hav done a gr8 job as host.. Looking forward to more such enjoyable shows from u all.


Hai Chinmayi,

I saw the presentation ceremony of the SSJ contest and it was a great atmosphere with three great celebrities and with you conducting the show well. It was great to see such abundant talents available in children. The Girls singing a song and the accompanying dance was cute as also the performance of the boys. KRISHNAMURTHY REALLY DESERVED IT AND HE IS SO MATURED.
HATS OFF to you for having handled the show well. I think your high pitch delivery is OK except that at some places a bit of control would make it nice which as you yourself have admitted will come from experience and seeing similar shows.
Regarding children not behaving like they should. Well, I think it is due to the media exposure that they get these days. They will of course feel conscious and tend to behave like adults. MAYBE AS THEY GROW UP THEY WILL BEHAVE LIKE CHILDREN (in fact this is the current trend) having lost it at the younger age (Did you happen to see SPB Sir & GangaiAmaran Sir creating a laugh riot on the Koffee with Anu show. Both of them are VERY YOUNG at 61 years and 55+ years respectively.

Blogeswari said...

Quite enjoyed watching ASSJ.Mrs. Chitra and Mrs. Uthup were a delight to watch... Have been an ardent admirer of Mrs. Uthup.. Sand yes, they completely complemented each other on the show as judges.Was a treat to watch them judge the contestants. Honestly, missed them quite a bit on the shows when they were not around.

And amazingly talented kids. It was not just about the voice, their entire presentation of the songs was commendable.

A very well-directed reality show.

Kudos to the entire team.

Anuradha said...

What a narration!That was a really big post and i guess i enjoyed reading it because i watched the show every weak....

Actually, everyone in my home were keeping our fingers crossed when the results were declared.

Vignesh was good, but as a general notion Krishnamurthy rocked!!! His stage presence,the way he enjoys his singing,were all perfect at this age.Naturally more to be expected from this kid when he grows up!

On the whole 'Super Singer Junior' was a good entertainer!

PS: "seriya paadinaena?" about Chitra was a cute one!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chinmayi
Your compering was excellent and your interaction with the kids was excellent. Hope you have a good time in Canada. I had been in Montreal, Quebec for 9 years. Do visit Montreal now and you can see the Jazz festival, Comedy festival
Best wishes in all your endeavours

Parthi said...

i didnt watch all episodes but I watched wht i talked about Ushaji's energy...but I should also commend your energy in the show which was amazing! never felt bored..great job! hope to see you in another super singer season if there is one

Anonymous said...

It tooks some time for the show to catch my attention. I started watching after prelims/screening.

As it got deeper, it was good. And can see the some of the contestants evolving.

What I liked -> Krish's final performance. Really enticing and captivating. He deserved to win ; me & my wife voted for him

What I dint like -> No special awards for BalaSarangan. I think that kiddo deserved well. I expected the "expressive singer" spl award to go to him. Really disappointed that nothing was given to him...

sidney sheldon was born to live not die said...

chinmayi u rocked during the show.yet the children seemed to be much more astounding...aspecially krish n vignesh..well it shows how wunnerfully well vijay tv can think..i have a can u speak with sucha loud voice during the show n sing such a sweet song amazed.n guess wat my father is beggin me to learn extra languages coz u no them.....really am impressed.......

Anonymous said...

Hi Chinmayi,
Super singer junior was excellent show and everyone enjoyed, not only the kids perform your sweet voice too. You really rocked during the show with kids. I wanted to tell you something, the Sahana song from Sivaji was amazing. It�s really supper. Looking forward more new songs from you. Wish you all the best with your upcoming assignments.

P.S. Suresh Kumar said...

Was really surprised to see you dancing for 'Mayya Mayya'. good performance but were you tensed while performing, you looked really nervous and didn't smile at all...ASSJ is the only show in last 5 years that i have watched without missing a single episode (thanks to retelecasts by Vijay TV) and i am not going to forget it for a decade... i was really sad when it ended with a touching 'kannae kalaimanae'... Vijay TV rocks...

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

Jus like ASSJ ur performance for maya maya rocked too.. But, looks like u were kinda tensed or nervous.. But it also looked like the stage was small to accomadate so many of u all at once , so may be u were watching ur step...
But u did a good job :)
Keep it going..

arun said...

Hello Chinmayi,
what you said is ok. SSJ is doing well. i really appreciate. but, covering participants normal life, how the relatives congratulate the school returning child, doing pooja and child's artificial emotions and all are just too much.


Anonymous said...


We've been following ASSJ faithfully the past few weeks and the kids are simply brilliant. We are sorry we missed out on the earlier episodes which seem like a blast. How would you rate your own personal experience with these kids? All of them sing so well that it's been hard for us to pick a fav. Felt sad for Aparna when she was outed...her Rahatulla was super! Didn't expect such a husky tone from her voice. And I loved Sai's Veyilodu Vilayadi. Vignesh is too cute with his antics and truly super voice. Krishnamurthy, of course, sounds like such a professional already! What happens when this ends? Is another SSJ on the pipeline? Will u be hosting that as well? Also, about your commect that you shout and scream - I must confess that we did think you were a bit loud when we first started seeing SSJ. But now, we've ended up liking you that way. If it wasn't for your enthusiasm, it would probably be too quiet and subdued. I must also say that I (and my husband) love the way you say "c'mon" which sounds something like kyammon :)))) Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

hi chinmayi
hi chinmayi,very cute compering u r doing,splendid way of approach towards childrens,really gud,nice,quite simple u r,very gud.ur compering is quite different,hope u watch more western shows it seems!,ya fine n nice chinmayi,nice stage presence u r doing,quite different from all,and one more thing,ur voice is also so cute,really sahana song is the breaking challenge for ur career life,gud timing achievement,and also i ve enjoyed reading ur blog abt ASSJ,really funny to know abt that cute kids,bye,catch u at ur later reply

Rukmani Gopalan said...

Hi Chinmayi,

thoroughly enjoyed ASSJ and your compering was lovely, loved all the energy in the otherwise subdued show, it really put the kids at ease. I could actually feel the cameraderie building between you and the kids (and between the kids themselves) with time. Its a tough job, esp when you have to deal with kids of such a wide age group. In all, Kudos to Vijay TV and all the super talented kids for making us look forward to Fridays and Saturdays. Whenz the next Super Singer on?

Rukmani Gopalan said...

Oh to add to it, the maturity the kids displayed was just amazing and there was a lot that we could learn from. Esp, the way Abarna and Saisharan dealed with the fact that Vignesh and Krishnamoorthy were into the finals. One more request, is there a way Vijay TV can make a DVD out of the show and make it available for sale?

Deepa said...

Hi Chimayi,

Hats off to ur Performance on ASSJ. Very Nice to See u. Admiring ur magnatic Voice. Really enjoying a lot for the last 5 Months. It seems to be like all are among one Family. Really cant forget u,Krisha moorthy, Vignesh, Sai Saran, aparna, thanya Sree, Deepthi, Kutty Bala Sarangan, Roshan, Vidya, Mansavi and all Judges. It is one of the unforgettable memory in my Life time.

Anonymous said...

Hi chinmayee
This programme was real superb!!! I have watched almost all the episodes without even missing a single one. The way you showcased and compered was great!!!

At the end of the show i had a feeling like i am going to miss watching all of their performance regularly.. The finalists performance was rocking!!!

After watching this show, I have become a big fan of you. All the best for your bright future!!!

Anonymous said...

u r fantastic in ASSJ. I am still not sure how do you pronounce the airtel super singer junior tamizhgathin....... thedal so fast!! hats off... In fact, at one point Usha-ji has mimic-ed u saying blau blau blau thedal...!
keep it up... vijay tv is too good ... I heard the sahana pookal song it is fantastic... as i live outside india, still have not seen the movie as it is not released yet... u r too good... keep it up

Anonymous said...

Oh yes! I saw this edition. The winner was such an enthu pattani. When the results were annonced, he fell on the ground like Federer did after winning Wimbledon... hehe. Was hilarious to watch. But the guy had talent maan... I enjoyed that "singari saraku" (thought I didn;t understand a word)...

Good good...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for accepting my comments to your previous post.

About ASSJ, I must say I began watching it against my better aesthetic judgement. I say that because there seems to be a malady sweeping such shows - contrite participants, constipated judges and insufferable hosts have made them highly avoidable. In this tired format of the show, a host's job is particularly challenging. A plausible worry is how do you signal quality to performers if fake enthusiasm and pretentious show of approval is a basic job requirement?

I did not get to watch all the episodes though (and if you were any less pretty, I would've given it a complete miss). I am reliably informed that it was just as well as brevity and subtlety don't appear to be the forte of the producer. But despite my lack of devotion for the show, I think you acquitted yourself fairly well as the host.

- A well wisher

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

sagaro:.. I intended something else, worded wrongly..

Rathnavel said...

It has made me wonder whether the children have collectively lost their innocence

It is not a phenomenon among the childrens alone, Chinmayi. It happens with most of the teens and young adults too. They have to be highly hard pressed and even then some are reluctant. I have seen some of my students who appear such a talkative brat when you notice him in the corridors or canteen...But it is hgard to make them utter a single word inside the classroom. They always curb their natural personalities in a public audience - be it a stage, classroom or even a reality show. Most of the times, I was forced to think they have multiple personalities. But I think it is an effect of our society that puts too much pressures on one whilst behaving in public and with the media that catches one spot on when you go off colour. I think it is here to stay unless we take some radical measures in encouraging people be themselves.

rebel said...

Well, honestly speaking, if you want kids to be kids and not careful like adults, we should not have any reality show with kids as the focus. It starts making them more conscious and gives others a chance to judge them.

They must have undergone a huge training session as to how they should behave in front of the camera by the parents!

thelastword said...

Nice post of yours and gr8 to hear your conclusions!!!

Your compering really added color and flavour to the show and you jelled with the kids. All the judges were very competent and the best were the Queen of Pop and The Chinna Kuyil.

While Krishnamoorthy deserved all the pats for his performances esp in the semis and the finals, it was disappointing to see that no prize was awarded to Vignesh as runner up.

Krishnamoorthy was fabulous and it was great seeing someone as young with a highly mature head.

Hope to see you more on such kind of shows

Mayooran said...

Hi Chiin I am Vidya from Sri Lanka. ALl of my family memebers enjoyed last 4 months Because of you and your program. Krish rocks superb in final specailly sankitha jaathi mullai song.

BTW do you have time to maintain your blogs?

Best wishes

Bala said...

Hi Chinmayi,

The Airtel Super Singer Junior was a great show, we all enjoyed watching it in Singapore. Krishnamoorthy definetely deserved to win the title.

Chinmayee if you have time, please visit the Vijay Tv Forum on and see some of the hilarious and weird comments there. It will be fun.

Let me know your comments once you have finished reading them.

Anonymous said...

hi chinmayi, the Airtel Super Singer Junior was a suuuuperb programme that I really enjoyed watching. I loved the way you hosted the whole show, marvellous.I, being a die-hard fan of Vignesh,was way too disappointed to see him lose to Krishnamoorthy like that. It was truly heart-breaking.It brought me to tears. And I felt even bad when that poor kid's face totally changed after the results. Even in Yemmadi Athadi song,his cute expressions were all gone.I really felt he should have been given some extra prize or something since he is a Super Finalist.I just felt so bad, really.

But anyways, the whole show was a brilliant one, we enjoyed every episode. Absolutely wonderful kids.Hats off!

vidhya said...

I watched yesterdays 'behind the scenes' - It is really hilarious, also made me realise that Chinamyi is also like any other normal human being. How many ever takes you had to repeat, the final result was amazing. I have not missed even a single episode of ASSJ and you were rocking.Keep up the good work and never compromise on quality.

Silly Sally said...

ASSJ - It was a very NEAT REALITY SHOW, which was a great success in the South Indian Teledom!

Soft spoken, watching what they speak.... It has made me wonder whether the children have collectively lost their innocence::

I would rather say, this is because children of this age, get to learn loads of things & are at their free-will (encouraged by parents)to be exposed to all the latest things in the world a much more faster pace than what children from 2 decades ago might have tried their hands on or even dreamt of doing so.... Its this fast paced world with a treasure trove of inexorable "CHANGE" as primary factor that determines the attitude, strength and capacity of today's children!

Apparently she has seen me ask that a lot of times, and when the director told her "action" she asked in all seriousness "which camera"?::

Would you believe me if I told you that my niece who's 3 years old tells her mom the best combo of mix-n-match for her Salwars, Casuals, Sarees and the nail color and lip color that she should carefully choose while she goes for a party or family/friends get together or temple based on the subtlety of the occasion! I was simply AMAZED!!!!!!

Nimmy said...

Mmmm.Thinking aloud....Children are undoubtedly getting wiser. Is it possible to be both wise and innocent? Million dollar question...!! :)

சாணக்கியன் said...

simply 'superb' post. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Hats off to your compeering on the show. I feel the children could have been helped in song selection by experts such that their best comes out and a better competion and a better show, of course !


Sri said...

Hi Chinmayi,

I happened to see all the episodes of ASSJ here in Toronto. It was an awesome program and delightful to watch. Each Kid's performance was simply outstanding. I enjoyed each and every minute of it. Some faces are definitely cannot be forgotten in life time. I am a huge fan of Swathmiga from the pre screening. I was stunned to see her performance (with Manasvini). What a talent?? And of course how can we forget Yalini's low and high BP moments. :-)

But one disappoinment I had that Balasarangan have not deserved any special award. I thought that Balasarangan will get the award for the most expressive singer, since even Chitra Ji was commenting as he can sing very expressive songs once he grows up after listening to his "Malarnthum malaraatha...."

Your compeering was simply great. I specially liked the "camon", which I found the kids also got attracted to, in the last episode. :-)

I am huge fan of your songs from the beginning. If I am correct, I think I have first seen you singing in Sapthaswaranagal with Srinivas as the Judge. Your songs "Pirivellam pirivalla....", "Oru thadavai solvaaya..." "Enai theendi vittaai.." "Oru theivam thantha..." are to name a few that I love. And of course "Sahaana....." One other song that I love is "Aaththoram punga maram....." that you sung along with Mahathi in Vairamuthu's Kavithaiye Padalaaga program.

I wonder how you get time to maintain this blog, being a busy bee with singing, hosting, running Blue Elephants...its amazing! Guess I need to take course with you for time management. :-)

I wish you all the very best and looking forward seeing you hosting and singing more often.