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The good son

A wisp of a man with a power-packed voice, Prashant Tamang is back in the town of his posting two months after being crowned Indian Idol 3. This time, he is armed with his first album under the Sony-BMG label, Dhanyavad.

If you had not gone for Indian Idol, what would you have been doing today?

Roadside pe kahin khaki wardi mein baitha rehta… I would have sat somewhere on the roadside in a policeman’s uniform (grins). I’m the only one in Calcutta Police who’s worn the uniform of every unit — Raj Bhavan, RAF, commando, police and the police band.

What are the pitfalls of being Indian Idol?

I cannot meet people in the open. Nor can I walk with friends on the streets. I was in the US when my sister had a daughter. But there was no way I could rush back. My routine is drawn up by the music company.

How did your US tour go?

It was a four-city tour. I was a bit worried — crowd na hoga toh kya hoga, logon ko hamara gana pasand ayega kya… But before my first concert, at Washington DC, I decided I’d sing my usual selection. Boston had a lot of Nepali people in the audience, but New York had the biggest numbers.

How do you decide your song-list at a live show?

If the crowd is predominantly Nepali, I start with a Nepali song. If it is mainstream, then I choose a track from the album, Zindagi Pehle Kabhi. The three songs that I always sing are the Saawariya title track, Ya ali and Bheegey honth.

Your album was launched by a chief minister…

Yes, Sikkim’s chief minister Pawan Chamling. That too in front of a concert crowd. It was my first visit to Sikkim. The Nepali people there and everywhere supported me so much.

Do you think you would have won if you were from any other community?

If a singer is supported only by his community, then Bengalis would have pushed for Eemon, Punjabis would have rooted for Richa. There are lesser number of Nepalis than there are Punjabis or Bengalis. So how can I say I was voted only by Nepali people? If I belonged to some other community, perhaps I would still have won.

How has your album shaped up?

It has 11 tracks. One, a peppy number, has been composed by Zubeen (Garg). One original song has three versions. Three are remakes — of Lucky Ali’s Dekha hai, RD Burman’s Hoga tumse pyara kaun and Musu musu hasi. There are also three Nepali tracks, which are covers of hits of three Nepali bands — Mantra, Reincarnation and 1974 AD.

Were you part of any band?

I always wanted to be. It never happened. Just like I was a guitarist but never had a guitar! Or even a CD player. In fact, it was only after joining the police force that I could afford a radio. At Raj Bhavan, it was my only timepass. Someone gifted me an iPod on the US tour.

Have you made any changes to your Darjeeling home after winning?

I have not managed to go there. My sister lives in Calcutta. So I meet her here and my mother comes down when I come. That’s it.

My mother struggled a lot in bringing us up after my father died. If I have given her anything, it is a vow after joining the police that I would be a good son. I had troubled her enough with my antics as a child.

Did you ever dream you’d achieve such fame and fortune?

I was always a day-dreamer. Even on duty I would dream I had become famous. Then I’d chide myself as I knew I’d be a policeman till I was 60. But I never stopped dreaming. Look, it’s all come true! Dhanyavad, everyone.

Sudeshna Banerjee

Which is your favourite Prashant Tamang song? Tell

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