Long wait in rain for date with star - Fans, wannabe crorepatis queue up from 3am for 10 Ka Dum auditions

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  • Published 15.07.08

As the city slept through the wee hours of Monday, botany lecturer Rina Sahani was standing in the rain outside the gates of a Howrah resort and hoping to get in before others did. In the same queue, not far from Rina, was 19-year-old mass communication student Sonam Jha, holding a scrapbook and ready to sprint when the gates opened.

Both were there — and happily drenched — for the chance to be face to face with Salman Khan. It did not matter to them that the actor wasn’t even there at the Lakeland Country Club; the prospect of auditioning for and winning a ticket to the TV game show he is hosting was enough motivation for the two women to take the trouble of queuing up in the middle of the night.

“I was told by the organisers that Salman would be watching my performance through video conferencing. I sang a song and dedicated it to him,” 36-year-old Rina, who came from Rourkela just to audition for 10 Ka Dum, said.

Sonam, from Dum Dum, sounded even more besotted with the actor. “I haven’t missed a single Salman film. Even if I do not win the contest, sharing the same platform with Salman and gifting one of my scrapbooks would satisfy me."

Over 400 people turned up for the audition. At least 50 of them — students, housewives, traders and professionals — were there by 3am. For some, the chance to win the Rs 10 crore top prize was worth the effort, though the odds of winning probably would be similar to Salman winning an Oscar.

It wasn’t the first time that people had braved rain and shine to queue up for a reality show audition in the city.

From Indian Idol to Bollywood Ka Boss, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa to Bathroom Singer, Calcuttans and their neighbours in the east have always been contenders for a few minutes of fame on prime time television.

During the Fame Gurukul auditions, police had to strain every sinew to prevent a riot. But with shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, which both Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan hosted, and the recent Kya Aap Panchvi Pass Se Tez Hain, it’s more about shaking hands (and even hugging) the star than the number of zeroes on the cheque.

“A large chunk of participants come to these shows to momentarily bask in the limelight, which gives them a sense of achievement,” said psychologist Anuttama Banerjee.

Going by the level of obsession on display at the Lakeland Country Club gates, Salman’s show could well have been named Stardom Ka Dum.