BL Block girl makes it to national reality show

Debanjali Chatterjee sings at home accompanied by cousin Abhirup Biswas of the band Cactus. (Saradindu Chaudhury)

Debanjali Chatterjee, better known as Lily in BL Block, has secured a place in the top 30 in the reality show Rising Star 2. The Hindi music show is being aired on Colors on weekends at 9pm. 

Debanjali, an alumna of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education, Salt Lake School and Bidhannagar College, is back home after clearing the first round and will fly back to Mumbai for the next round soon. 

“I work as an economic research analyst at Frost & Sullivan in Sector V and have taken leave till February. Let’s see what happens thereafter,” says the girl. 
Her office seems to be very co-operative, given that Debanjali turned to professional singing over the last three or four years and has been doing live shows (as far away as in the UK) and recording jingles and playback (for films like Colkatay Columbus). 

“My first music teacher was Gopa Sanyal, a neighbour in BL Block who is a radio artiste. I began when I was 10 or so,” says the girl, who holds a records of sorts in her block’s Kali puja. “The puja holds an eastern solo contest that attracts talent from across the city. I won it every year from the time I was 11 till college.” 

She discontinued music due to studies but a few years ago decided to make a come back. And this time she wanted to pursue it as a career. “By then social media had changed the face of entertainment,” says the girl who started uploading videos of her music on YouTube, doing Facebook live sessions and networking with other musicians. 

“Of these I have collaborated the most with Shamik Guha Roy, Bickram Ghosh’s sound engineer. It was convenient since he has a studio in next-door Karunamoyee. Also my cousin Abhirup Biswas, who is the guitarist in the band Cactus, and I started playing together.” 

Then last November she got a call from the makers of Rising Star asking her to come for the auditions in Swabhumi. “What interested me was the format of the show. It would be live.”

Judges Shankar Mahadevan, Monali Thakur and Diljit Dosanjh applaud Debanjali’s performance on Rising Star 2 on Colors

The judges are Shankar Mahadevan, Monali Thakur and Diljit Dosanjh but the contestants don’t exactly perform “before” them. “When we start signing we are surrounded by a wall. As per the number of live votes we receive, the wall is eliminated and hopefully by the end of the song, we are face-to-face with the judges and audience,” says Debanjali, who sang Har kisi ko nahin milta in her first round. She got 90 per cent votes. 

Debanjali is now planning to visit her schools and colleges to meet teachers and students to garner support. “States like Punjab vote overwhelmingly for Punjabi candidates but that’s not the case in Bengal,” says her mother Ketaki Chatterjee. “Most people here don’t even watch Hindi channels to start with.”  

The other concern is about how the voting system works. Debanjali is working hard to explain to her well-wishers that the voting on this show is not through sms. “One has to download an app called Voot and vote during the two minutes that I’m singing live,” she says. “Reality shows aren’t the be all and end all of music. A few months down the line people often forget the winners but then I want a national audience.”


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