By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Monday, September 17, 2007
Director Farah Khan"s cook, Basant Prajapati is an ex- Indian Idol contestant (2005). He"d come to Mumbai to become a singer but in stead ended up as a cook in Farah"s house.
The director recalls, “After his audition, I had a chat with him and told him that he wasn"t the best of singers and I asked him not to waste his time and to pursue something he was good at. He told me he was a cook, and I asked him to come to my house and cook. He has been here since."
Prajapati, who is from Jharkand and has been with Farah for two years now, says, “I always wanted to be a singer. I entered the Indian Idol contest in 2005 but was eliminated after the third round after being told that I sing very badly.
Bahut kharaab laga. I was shattered. After the show, Farah came to me and told me that I have to practice a lot on my singing. She asked me what work I did. When she heard that I was a cook she took my interview and gave me a job in her home."
Learning is the key
Prior to the Indian Idol, Prajapati was cooking at a hotel. “The Indian Idol contest changed my life. Farah told me 'beta kuch seekhoge toh kuch ban paaoge. She"s supported me tremendously. Farah gives me leave for my singing classes as well as once a month for auditioning at other reality shows.
I am learning classical and Hindi film songs. I have tried Zee"s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa this year. I go for my singing classes thrice a week from 3 pm to 5 pm to rehearse with my guruji SK Rajan at MHADA. Farah also always makes it a point to introduce me to her music directors when they come over."
Today Prajapati wants to record a song. “My guruji has told me that I have a good voice and that it"s time for me to record a song. I am a struggling singer today. I have been regularly going to all the music directors" studios. Guruji wants me to compose and sing a song in Hindi and sing a bhakti geet."
Prajapati says his employers Farah and Shirish Kunder have been very patient. “Every night, I do my riyaaz from 12 to 1 am on my harmonium. I must be disturbing them with my singing but they never complain. Farah has given me a small room to practise in."
A big Himesh fan, for some time, he tried to sing like Reshammiya. He admits, “I used to sing like Himesh as I liked him a lot but then people told me mein naak se gaana gaata hoon, so I stopped. My favorite singers are Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, and Kishore Kumar so I sing like them."
Prajapati has watched the TV promos of Farah"s Om Shanti Om. “I love them! Main Hoon Naa is my favorite film and Shah Rukh Khan my favourite hero."
Presently, Prajapati woos guests at the Khan house with scrumptious Yakhni Pulao and other treats but his ultimate desire in life is to become a good singer. “I want to get noticed by people.
I can"t do anything else as I got polio in one leg when I was a child. My parents are poor farmers in Jharkhand. I have even gone to Vaishno Devi aur prasad chadaya. Main ne mannat maangi that Mata fulfils my dream."