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Youth on song in race

Amitabh Narayan’s parents watch an episode of Indian Idol 6 in Muzaffarpur on Wednesday. Picture by Gopi Raman

Damu Chak, the hometown of Amitabh Narayan (25) in Muzaffarpur district, wears a festive look these days with banners and posters fluttering all around seeking people’s support for his success in the Indian Idol 6 race.

Amitabh has already made it to the top-nine list of the talent hunt show. His parents have started distributing pa-mphlets and pasted posters and hoardings featuring his photographs at several places in the Damu Chak area.

“He was 11 years old when he first took part in a musical show on Doordharshan. The anchor had told me that I must encourage him to pursue singing, as he has got a good voice,” recollected his advocate father, Madhurendra Kumar (66). “A few days later, he took part in a musical competition and bagged the first position after singing I love My India, the popular song from Pardes,” he added.

Amitabh got his first break when popular singer Tripti Shakya performed with him for a Chhath song in 1996. “He was 12 then. Later, popular singer and Lauria MLA Vinay Bihari heard his songs and praised him a lot,” Kumar said.

Amitabh studied in Prabhat Tara School till Class V and completed his Plus Two from Shanti Niketan Awasiya Bal Vidyalaya at Ahiyapur in the district in 2004.

“Realising that my son is more interested in singing, I asked him to take his own decision after he cleared his Plus Two examination. I allowed him to struggle in Mumbai because that’s the city where he could get more opportunities in the career he wants to pursue. He also took admission in Mumbai University and graduated in 2007 through correspondence course,” Kumar said.

“In Mumbai, he developed contacts and learned the art of singing from Ghulam Mustafa Khan, a Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee whose disciples are A.R. Rahman, Hariharan and Sonu Nigam. Though Amitabh was taking lessons from him in Bandra, he never missed an opportunity to visit his native place. Whenever there are programmes or events in Muzaffapur, he makes sure to perform in the events,” he added.

On the kind of campaign he is at present doing in support of his son, Kumar said: “We have prepared posters and hoardings and pasted them all across the city. We are also distributing pamphlets in support of my son. I am not the one to judge his voice. But one thing I know is that he has got talent and he will prove it.”

He added that more than 2,000 people have so far become his friends on a social networking site. “It shows that he is becoming popular and people are liking his voice.”

Amitabh’s first trainer, Satya Narayan Pathak, said: “I taught him for almost five years at my institute. He has a nice voice and my blessing is always with him.”

Amitabh’s elder sister, Amrita Narayan (34), a Supreme Court advocate, has asked her friends and people related to her profession to vote for him. “I still remember the day when he, barely a-year-and a- half-year-old, cried ‘phool ...phool’ on hearing Bahaaro phool barsao mera mehboob ayaa hai at a wedding ceremony,” she added.

Amitabh’s mother, Kum-kum Kumar (60), said: “My blessings are always with him, but the people of this country should also vote for him.”