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Aneek Dhar's tough road to victory

Monday, October 22, 2007

Aneek Dhar's entry into "Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007" was mired in controversy. Judges Himesh Reshammiya and Ismail Darbar had said that the abrupt addition of the winner of "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Bangla" to the contest was unjust to the other contestants. But today, the music-makers would be ready to take their words back. The 18-year-old is the champion, winning with 3.66 crore votes from India and abroad. The journey was tough and Aneek slogged hard to get where he is now but he also knows that this is just the start. Competition is no less in the music industry.

However, hours before winning the finale, there was a storm whirling in Aneek's mind. "There was hulchul. But then I thought why not make the grand finale Aneek's biggest live performance and leave the rest to God." He had seen tougher times before though. His emotions were running high when he was disapproved of at the time he entered the contest in episode 19. "It was unfortunate," he sighs, adding "Himesh sir and Ismail sir had objected saying 'Tum chalti gaadi mein nahin chadh sakte ho'. It really hurt me and I prayed that I get just one chance to prove myself. I'm really lucky that I finally got their approval."

There were also quite a few occasions when Aneek was involved in the drama on stage. Guest judge Salman Khan had walked onto the stage and took off Aneek's shirt before asking him to sing a hit song from his film. In yet another episode, Aneek went overboard expressing his affection for actress Dia Mirza. Dia had just finished praising Aneek for his singing. "That's when I blurted out 'Dia ji I love you very much' and she replied 'I love you too, but only for your singing!' It was a big honour for me coming from an actress like Diaji and the best compliment anyone could have given me," smiled Aneek. So did she break his heart by not reciprocating his feelings? "No, in fact, I loved it. Ismail sir came to me said that I should dedicate the song 'Tadap tadap ke is dil se…' to Dia ji," the champion said.

At the end of it all, what matters to Aneek is that he got the opportunity to sing in front of veterans and get their blessings. Mentor Himesh had been more of a friend on stage, teasing Aneek about a "crush" on some other contestant, which was probably just not there in real. So the chubby face lights up as soon as one talks about the music director. "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is over but I would love to consolidate my relationship with Himesh ji, he inspires and encourages me so much," said Aneek, whose win had been Himesh's guru dakshina. "In the last season of "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa", Vineet couldn't win the contest so Himesh ji was very disappointed. He is happy now."

The composer is known for excessively showering kudos for a good performance, as well as bitterly criticizing poor performances. Aneek must have got a taste of his mentor's ire during the contest as he recalls: "If you perform badly wo to band bajaa dete hain." Perhaps, Himesh's strictness helped the budding singer polish his skills. Today, Aneek has already recorded a song for Bappi Lahiri's " Love.com". Now that he has a career in playback in Bollywood beckoning him, the school passout has taken a year off from studies. There are a lot of expectations of him. After all, he has to prove that he deserves the love of his millions of fans who have stood by him through thick and thin.

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