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Since 1st March, 1999
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Little lady of the east

Anamika Choudhury wants to build a music school in Assam. The girl from Assam aced Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs on Zee TV in a keenly contested final at Andheri Sports Complex on Saturday night, overcoming musical opposition from Patiala puttar Rohanpreet Singh and Lucknow lad Tanmay Chaturvedi.

Immediately after being crowned, the 12-year-old bowed to the people from her home state. “Thank you so much for your support. Now I want the children of Assam to get good musical training so that they can reach national platforms like these,” she said, clutching on to the heavy trophy.

Anamika had been tipped as the favourite by the show’s anchor Aditya Narayan as well as Suresh Wadkar, one of the judges. “Anamika has a beautiful voice. When it comes to melody and reaching till the last note, she is in a different league,” Wadkar had told t2 on the morning of the finale, even as the SMS votes were pouring in. “Anamika is the most consistent performer among them all,” Aditya had added. As for the contestants, Anamika and Rohanpreet were rooting for each other — if they did not win themselves.

“Tanmay complains to his mother about me at every single chance,” Rohanpreet grumbled during the rehearsals. So it was only among the children at the venue that Tanmay, running a fever on D-Day, seemed a favourite.

The contest turned out to be a nail-biter. As the zonal poll results were being declared, Anamika was found to have come first in the south, second in the west, first in the east and third in the north, with Rohanpreet breathing down her neck. But when Bollywood’s star couple Ajay Devgan and Kajol took the stage to declare the international votes, the scales tilted towards Rohanpreet.

As Anamika stood with hands clasped and head bowed, the results were read out. The little nightingale from Mariani had bagged 44,82,738 votes against Rohanpreet’s 38,47,176 votes, giving her the title along with a Hyundai I10 car, Rs 20 lakh from Kidzee and a laptop from HDFC Insurance. Tanmay came third with 34,86,104 votes.

Anamika’s feat comes on the heels of Assam’s Debojit Saha and Calcutta’s Aneek Dhar winning the senior version of the contest while the reigning L’il Champs was Howrah’s Sanchita Bhattacharya. “People from the east cannot lose,” grinned Anamika, before admitting that she has been “very nervous”.

The Class VII topper of Edith Douglas School can keep her title for a while as Zee TV has announced that the channel will give the format a break. Taking the place of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa from March 14 will be a new reality show called Rock-N-Roll Family, bringing together three generations of families on a platform (as announced by t2 in the New Year special issue).

The judges? Kajol with hubby Ajay and mom Tanuja. The anchor? Saat Phere hunk Sharad Kelkar.

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