As a 17-year-old, Ashmita Kar had made it to the top nine of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the pioneering music reality show on Zee TV, and been featured on the pages of The Telegraph Salt Lake. She used to stay in Sraboni Abasan then. Seven years down the line, she is back, on both the show and these pages.
New Town DA Block girl Ashmita has been declared the joint winner of Zee Bangla's just-concluded episode of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, along with Padmapalash Haldar. In a star-studded finale at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre shot on January 19, host Abir Chatterjee held up both their hands as winners. This is the second time after 2012 that there were joint winners on the show, following the feat achieved by Sobhan Ganguly and Kushal Pal.
After the 2016 outing on TV, Ashmita says she was getting enough calls for shows. “But during the pandemic I got time to pause and reflect. I realized I was stuck in the same pattern of music. Scope for innovation is limited when I am travelling alone and performing with unknown musicians. So the thought germinated in my head of forming my own band of musical hands. And for my own growth, I also wanted another stint on a musical platform like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa,” she said.
Thus she was back to queuing up for the auditions in May 2022, finally securing her place on impressing judges with her rendition of Mohey rang de. The audition as well as the show itself was shot at a studio in Rajarhat she laughs.
While their accommodation had been arranged at Greenwood Elements behind City Centre 2. “It was barely 15 minutes away from home. So every time we got a break from shooting for two or three days I would pack up for home. Others teased me,” she laughs. Her closest fellow-participants Purbasha and Sonia hail from Bankura and Kharagpur respectively. “They would request for sweets to be brought when I would return.”
Though the Zee Bangla stage was not new for her - she had been a first runner-up on Li'l Champs, the children-specific edition of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa --- the introduction of Pandit Ajay Chakraborty as the senior-most judge thrilled her.
The winners being handed prizes by Kumar Sanu
“I was making some mistakes initially but Guruji advised me to sing keeping each note in focus.” She also speaks highly of one of the judges, the composer Santanu Maitra. “He gave me tips on breath control and microphone use.”
Though this was a show in Bengali, she is happy that a non-Bengali singer like Richa Sharma was on the judge's panel. “A singer of her stature widens our perspective,” she points out. The third judge was a Calcuttan, Srikanta Acharya. She was also delighted to have got to sung in front of Javed Ali, a favourite of hers, who came as a guest.
In the final, she got to sing two of her favourite songs. The first was a mash-up of Piya Bawri (Khubsoorat) and Ghar more pardesiya (Kalank) while the second fused the raga Bharavi-based Dil mera muft ka from Agent Vinod with a thumri, Ras ke bhare tore nayna.
When she was awaiting the verdict, with Abir holding both their hands, two other finalists had already been named first and second runner-up. So the alternative to not winning at that moment would have been a fourth place finish. But Ashmita insists she was not feeling nervous. “The aim with which I had competed in the show had been achieved. The victory was a bonus,” she smiles.
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