Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs: Wadkar hi Wadkar

It's not that I am huge fan of Hollywood previews (or trailers as we call them). For one, most of them start with "In a world..." or "In a town..." or, if its a rom-com, "Lily Ann hee-ad a prob-lem" (cue hopping piano music) and they reveal way too much - like all the good jokes in the film or critical plot twists.

But they have one thing going for them that Bollywood trailers don't: they tell me something about the film being previewed.

Exhibit A: Kunal Khemu's new movie Superstar. The man came on SRGMP LC and showed us all a trailer. And here is what I gathered about the movie. Kunal Khemu is in it. So is a girl (or is it two - who can tell?). Kunal dances a lot. Girl cries - ooh, karunya! Kunal dances a lot. More chicks. Hmm....

Luckily for Khemu, LC decided to execute a high concept version of the show to tell us more about Superstar. How so? Well since Superstar is about a lookalike trying to make it into the industry, LC had all its contestants pretending to be lookalikes. Some kiddie games kicked it all off. Much good singing ensued. Fun was had by all. I got terribly confused by the end of the show.

But the episode that really had me going came on Friday. It was the Suresh Wadkar special - which means Wadkar got to be everywhere and anya people came to praise him. What touched me was that Wadkar is a singer reflective of his solid middle-class background.

Not one person came forth to tell us a story about how at age 3 Wadkar once sang a song only with his upper lip thus unveiling his prodigy. Instead we heard stories about hard working Wadkar and his slow but steady climb to fame.

His family came on stage. His wife - a younger, striking woman with a fine voice - issued a terribly sweet speech about what a wonderful guy Wadkar was and then touched his feet. This freaked out the Drift Memsaab who said "What?! He didn't even hug her afterwards!"

Tough as Wadkar's songs were to sing, the kids did really well - given that Wadkar seemed to have spent some time coaching them through it.

So whats the singing like these days on SRGMP LC? Aamir Hafiz's poor tonal quality is now catching up with him. So is Tanmay's although he keeps admirable control over his sur for large parts of the song. Rohanpreet, easily the best of the boys, had a reality check last week as his singing hit a rut.

Among the girls, Vasundhara still blows hot and cold. But Anamika consistently hits the highs establishing herself as a front runner and the girl with the best chance of winning this competition.



anu g said...

We were also very amused to see suresh's wife touching his feet (and it looks like its a common occurence cos he didnt look too surprised).And of course as usual there was no reaction from him.
My daughter was scandalised and yelled 'she married her teacher?".Of course my son had to loudly ask 'Mom, did u ever touch dad's feet that way?"!!!
It looked like a scene from one of the serials.. Poor Suresh was berated when he said 'My sis did so much for me'...she gave him a stern look and said 'U seem to have forgotten our parents who sent their son away at the age of 8".
No wonder Suresh's young wife looked scared to be on stage in front of him and more so her sis-in-law.
If u noticed, she teaches music in Suresh's school,so he has made a good choice.Maybe well-planned!
But I was quite impressed that so many great musicians spoke so well about him. Proves his goodwill in the industry.
It was nice to see the Indian idol guys on stage with him.

sidekick said...

Hilarious, as always Aspi! The description of the trailer was a hoot :). The business abt lookalikes in SRGMP LC was probably as confounding and contrived as the movie ---not exactly a ringing endorsement. I thought Kunal Khemu was engaging - he came armed with terrible PJs and was enthusiastic without going over the top.

The Wadkar epi was paisa vasool entertainment. Wadkar was clearly basking in the tribute and looked even more smug than usual - if possible!

Like the drift memsaab and anu g's kids i was also part fascinated and part horrified by the whole montage of family - esp Mrs. Wadkar touching his feet and making the saat janam speech. For a moment i wondered if we were in a parallel universe in the 19th century! anu g, i'm so with yr daughter on this ---- there is something creepy abt the guru-sishya romance.

Really enjoyed seeing Vishal Bharadwaj on the show - his music is a fave. He was also a terrific judge and picked up on some subtleties to comment on.

Finally, as much as Wadkar has goodwill in the industry, it seems like he's benefited solidly fm the marathi brigade being behind him - particularly the Mangeshwars and he seems appropriately grateful.

Saritha said...


There was this movie called 'Master' in telugu.Chiranjeevi plays the teacher and Sakshi Sivanand plays a student who falls in love with her lecturer.He refuses to marry her b'coz he thinks she's just a kid(she's wearing mini skirts and all that).

Later Chiru goes to the jail for something and when he's home after 5 yrs he finds Sakshi wearing a saree,huge bindi and specs,hair tied back in a bun (gosh,she must be 25 then,acc to the story) to indicate that she's now the lecturer in the same college. She asks "I am not a student anymore,can you marry me now?".In late nineties I found that to be hilarious.

So what really happened here with the Egg?

Aspi said...

I have always been hugely conflicted about guru-shishya romantic relationships. I can see the power differential and opportunity for exploitation but what if you meet someone who blows you away. What then? I wouldn't want to walk away.

In any case, call me creepy but I thought Wadkar's wife was ati-romantic.

Saritha, I watched a Telegu movie over the weekend for the first time. I need to write something about it soon.

Sania said...

Aspi - was it Nuvostannante Nennodantana? That's the only Telugu film I have ever seen, and I loved it!

Actually I take that back. After NN I sought out another Siddharth starter - Chukallo Chandrudu - which was also adorable. I have a serious crush on Sid and I think it's so cute that he's linked with Soha nowadays. Not sure about the whole divorce thing, though - I hate to think of Soha as a homewrecker!

What Indian Idol folks were on SRGMP anu g? (I don't watch lil champs). Isn't that against their contract or something?

Aspi said...

Actually it was Pokiri - which I've heard might be the biggest blockbuster in Telegu philum history.

Ridiculously entertaining - now I have to write about it by tomorrow!

Saritha said...

wow,it's great to know that you guys watch Telugu movies.

Aspi,like Sania said NVNV is a lovely movie.You should watch that too.

Pokiri is indeed a huge blockbuster,in India and Overseas.Salman's acting in the hindi remake.

Saritha said...

Sania,FYI,Sid also wrote the story of 'Chukkalo Chandrudu' while working for 'RDB'

ritha said...

Aspi its telUgu and not telEgu

Aspi said...

Sidekick, that's cool. I listen quite like you do but then also am interested in being able to say why I liked it (or didn't) in a way people can understand. So its good feedback too.

Ritha, I stand corrected! Forgive me!

sidekick said...

o dear, this may be my day to crawl back under the rock --- so perhaps its a good thing that we've moved onto telugu movies :)

didn't mean to imply that the uber sweet mrs. wadkar was in the least bit creepy or less than sincere in her sentiments, but the power equation in the guru shishya romance can be a tad stockholm syndrome-ish to me. maybe that is a bit extreme but i tend to place more responsibility on the guru than the shishya for keeping things fair. i like anu g's speculation that perhaps in wadkar's case it was a mix of love (particularly fm a young,pretty,adoring student must stoke the ego!),and practicality that resulted. that in my book washes away both the creepiness quotient and the "knocked the socks off" romantic sizzle!

sania, didn't know u were part of the sid fan brigade. and the soha affair does tarnish sid's golden boy image!

i saw pokkiri in tamil (where else but on a plane!) and it is a no nonsense straight-to-the-heart of the masses entertainer. my guess is that the telugu version with mahesh babu was heaps better than the tamil one. as entertaining as it was, not sure i could manage a second viewing of the story :)

girlie girl said...

Great write-up Aspi! The one thing I love about LC is that even though there is absolutely NO drama on this show, the producers do that whole black/white screen with the thundering noise evertime Sonu gives a bad review to a kid. Case-in-point when Anamika sang the song from Bhool-Bhulaiya!! I think the producers are going thru Himesh-withdrawl as well...Just like the rest of us!

Sania, I have such a crush on Siddharth as well. After seeing him in RDB (which, btw, he was brilliant in!) I saw NVNV (with subtitles, of course) and thought it was really good. I want to see his latest movie, but i cant seem to find it with English Subtitles. I wish he would come in more Hindi movies...he's a really talented actor.

sidekick said...

sid fans may have already seen this, but just in case:


i thought the entire AIDS Jaago series was nicely done. it is available for free at http://www.jaman.com/aidsjaago

Aspi said...

sidekick, its all good: you sound a lot like the Drift Memsaab on the guru-shishya topic. She has very similar views and I don't necessarily disagree with any of them.

girlie girl, the B&W on LC is a bit more annoying because they use it phaltu-mein all the time.

Instead, how about some parent interviews? That would jack up the drama quotient.

Saritha said...

Thanks for the excellent link,Sidekick.

Mind Rush said...

Anyone know how old Mrs. Wadekar is? If she was a contestant on the show when Sonu was a judge, she would be younger than Sonu???That's a huge power AND age differential.

Maybe Mrs. Wadekar will be writng to the Love Chakker for advice???

My discomfort is also with the cute kid, i.e. their daughter. She is 5 and sang cutely. For all of that Suresh said "kichi-kichi" (translating as kiss-kiss) and then gave her a kind of a distant peck on her forehead. She deserved more praise and affection!

megan said...


everytime i see him i get grossed out.. i dont wanna say further because chances are i could be wrong

meg said...

my mom gets the same vibe from him.. but he is a decent judge

the way he says "marks doooo"is so wack
and the way he ends his sentences when talking to kids with

"haaaa" "okaayyyyyyyy"

anu g said...

Mindrush,I just found this info on Mrs. Suresh Wadkar. Padma is 18 years his junior, and is a Keralite.She is the niece of a Malayali playback singer.She was on the first episode of srgmp, and later appeared as the music teacher on a prog called Fame Gurukul.
Their daughter is 8 years old (not 5).
Suresh went thru some hair-weaving before he came on as a judge of lilchamps.(so what little we see on his head is after he got his hair weaved and he claims that his daughter didnt recognise him after he got it done!!!!).Thanks to your psycho-analysis, we now know what that means:).

anu g said...

And Mindrush,Suresh was born in 1954.That makes him 54 years old? So his wife is then 36. She looks much younger than that.

anu g said...

Sania,the indian-idol guys who quietly walked onto the stage behind Suresh were Rahul Vaidya, Amey Date and Ravi Tripathi(all his students).

minnie said...

this HAS to be a kinda scoop...someone had told me a long time ago ...i just remembered....suresh wadkar had actually got a rishta from madhuri dixit (from her parents ,of course)when she was still a struggler and he was an established name....how he must be kicking himself now...of course could also be just a rumour

anu g said...

Minnie I read something like that myself. But I am not sure he will be kicking himself.Can u see Madhuri Dixit taking care of his music school(which is doing roaring business), calling him Sureshji, touching his feet and praying that they have a saat-janmon ka rishta:).

anu g said...

Sidekick,thanks so much for the link to blood brothers.Very well taken.

anu g said...

Sidekick,thanks so much for the link to blood brothers.Very well taken.

sidekick said...

anu g, figured we could rely on u for that nice piece of research on Mrs. W :) . i agree that she looks younger than 36. interesting point on wadkar dodging the madhuri bullet!

mind rush, suresh's kitchi-kitchi may be as far as he goes in terms of being a demonstrative parent. i doubt that indian parents do a lot of "i love yous" and frequent bear hugs. his kid was adorable.

saritha, anu g: u're welcome. i'd seen this on rediff: http://specials.rediff.com/movies/2007/mar/27slide1.htm
and was on red alert for the film. i loved pan's labyrinth, so i defi wanted to watch navarro's collaboration with vishal. turns out that the entire AIDS Jaago series was pretty good.

minnie said...

anu ,i guess thats one way of looking at it ...:)

minnie said...

aspi, I saw khoya khoya chand the other day and while i do agree with the critics that soha is a lightweight for such a difficult role...i loved the movie..it took me to a totally different era. there could have been explanations for the loose ends like why do shyamol and zafar dislike each other in the end tho' he takes care of nikhat , what happens to ratanbala, etc..on the whole a different movie from the usual crap .please do give your input, people who have watched this movie...

Saritha said...

Sidekick,I am glad you shared that Jaago series with us.All the stories were outstanding,Vishal's being the best of the series.I liked the Sivan's story too.It was positively cute,nahi?

Saritha said...

Okay,You've all made me so curious that I am going to watch lil champs,not for the kids but for this,now famous 'Ms.wadkar'

Aspi said...

Suresh and Madhuri - that would have been one naachgaana couple. But I think Ms. Wadkar is cute and very unpretentious. And so is their little kid.

anu g, kya, are you sure you don't write some gossip column for Stardust or something. How do you dig all this up?!?

Aspi said...

minnie, I have a ton of movies to catch up on. I am now seeking a good Rajnikanth movie to watch (I've seen him a lot but not in a feature length film). But if I come across KKC, I won't turn it down after your recommendation.

And hopefully someone will tell me about an actress worth watching as well (its all about men when we have a regional film discussion).

Agree about Vishal's short. I liked the time spliced sequences a lot - reminded me of Steven Soderbergh before he went Clooney on us.

anu g said...

Aspi, so u think I am one of those Madam M types who sneaks around, snooping on people,befriends them, takes them into confidence, and then announces the news to the whole world!I can say things like I had to go to great trouble, and tap all my elusive sources.....but the plain truth is,when Mindrush asked about it, I just went to Google Search, typed 'Mrs.Wadkar' and voila, there was all the info:).

Mind Rush said...

Dear Anu G and others, Thanks to you all I am now very enlightened about this maya-nagri called Bollywood.

I am now awaiting desperate letters to Love Chakker from Suresh re: his last-ditch weave and love's lost opportunities!

sidekick said...

minnie, i saw KKC --- i liked it but in a lukewarm sort of way. i too thought soha was over matched for the role, all shiney did was brood and vinay pathak was wasted. sonya jehan was very good - it was the first time i've seen her. i loved the music, so that was a huge plus for me. the film was a reverent tribute to the 50s/60s, but the plot seemed to have too many holes, the screenplay was not crisp and romance didn't exactly crackle between the leads. i guess i expected another hazaaron khwaishein aisi (which i loved!) and felt let down.

anu g said...

Sidekick, I just heard that the heroine of HKA, Chitrangada who vanished when her golfer-husband disapproved of her long absences, has decided to return to act in a movie.

Pretty petite Worried wife. said...

Dear Mindrushji
I heard that you are a very famous counsellor on this site, and I would like your advice.
I just read that you want to give advice to my Sweet Woh. I am very upset. It is me who needs help, not him.But I am blushing and dont know how to say it.
I used to learn music from my husband and as my musical notes struck a chord with his, so did my heart.I know he was much older, but you see, I liked his simplicity and his pakke-sur.(The director of Cheeni-Kum was so inspired by us that he decided to make the movie,but he changed the settings so that my sister-in-law would not know how we met jab we met.)We have been leading a very quiet simple life running our music-school.
But I dont know why he is changing now. When he was asked to become judge on a new show, he decided to get his hair weaved. I dont understand, why should he have more hair just to hear songs?It was a failure, but as an ideal patni, I did not want to disappoint him, so I said that I could not recognise him.He was very happy.
Now even on the show, he tries to be funny, and keeps on copying whatever Sonuji does. I feel very embarrassed. Whenever a pretty heroine comes to the show , he keeps talking sweetly, and they all think he is a very sweet uncleji and flirt with him. He has started to wear such jazzy dresses also. He is so concerned about looking young on this show, that he is neglecting me and home, and I have to take care of the whole school.
Please tell me how to bring back my sweet,old,bald,boring husband whom I fell in love with.Even your Asbiji here thinks I am ati-romantic, but my husband simbly does not care about me.(Sorry, when I am very emotional, I get back my Malayali accent).Mindrushji, please help me.

Aspi said...

petite wife, here I was trying to figure out how to put the problem to Mind Rush and you come and do it perfectly. I will be telling Mind Rush to hurry up and help you with Yuvawannabe Wadkar.

girlie girl said...

LOL Mrs. Petite Wife!!

you're on deck, Mind Rush

anu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Souvik Chatterji said...

Suresh Wadkar is one of the leading classical singers of the present times who had made significant contribution in bollywood films. When he was young he learnt music from Pandit Jialal Vasant.