| Indian Idol finalists Amit Sana and Abhijeet Sawant. Picture by Amit Datta
They are the two most carefully watched men in the country. And though their rivalry is the source of much song and dance, initials aren't all they share.
In town for the pre-verdict campaign for Indian Idol, Abhijeet Sawant and Amit Sana, made it clear that there was more to their relationship than a battle for the coveted crown. 'We were always close friends from day one. This mahayudh and all is just the format of the game show,' stressed Amit. No wonder they would choose each other as Idol, if they had the voting rights.
'Of course I'll be happy if I win but would be very sad having robbed the title from Abhijeet,' said Amit. When the Bhilai boy last spoke to Metro at the final five stage, he had to be reminded of his Calcutta connection (he gave his first round audition here). But on Sunday, he was more prepared. 'Yes, I have to make Calcutta proud,' he said.
Abhijeet, the quieter of the two, admitted that being from Mumbai gave him the edge, but only just. 'Of course, the venue is Mumbai and the judges are also from the same city. So, initially, I was ahead in the race. But as of now, there are as many rooting for Amit as for me,' he said, flashing the killer smile that has seen him sail through the rounds.
Banking on his performance in the final episode, Amit feels that regardless of the result, he has grown as a singer. 'I have changed a lot in these months. My confidence level has increased by leaps and bounds. Thanks to Farahji (Khan), my performances have also improved. And I have been lucky that my best performance has come in the final episode and I could sing the theme song (Mohabbatein lutaunga') so well. Now, it's up to the people to pick their winner.'
Looking every bit the rockstar he appears on telly, Abhijeet feels his strength is his contemporary touch. 'Amit is obviously better trained in classical music, but I have my own singing style, too. Finally what matters at the end of the day is the gayaki. That sets the best apart from the rest,' he said.
Neither chose to comment about the betting racket that had apparently got the better of Rahul Vaidya. 'We have been locked up in our hotel rooms for the past three months and haven't even had the time to look at the newspapers. So we wouldn't be able to tell,' came the synchronised reply.
They also spoke in unison about choosing between money and the title. 'Rs 1 crore is a huge amount for someone like me but honestly, the Indian Idol title means a lot more,' said Amit. 'Same for me,' Abhijeet agreed. 'As singers, we would like to get more and more work and the Indian Idol tag, more than the money, will help us achieve that.'
With just five days to go for the final verdict, the tension has to be at its height. But regardless of the direction in which the public judgement swings, Abhijeet and Amit are all set to take over the mantle from the Sonus and the Shaans.
And if you are one of those who thinks it will be King Khan (Shah Rukh, of course) handing over the title to the winner on Saturday, well, you might be wrong. It could just turn out to be a khalnayak who will do the honours'