Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The rise and fall of Mauli Dave

Whenever I ask SRGMP watchers and fans about the disproportionate popularity of Mauli Dave, I get answers along the lines of “Girls want to be like her and the boys want to be with her because they think ABCD girls are easy”. This, I’ve always felt, is a highly simplistic and stereotypical world view.

So I ventured out with a few more focused questions to figure out exactly why Mauli held Indian viewers fascinated for so long before her popularity peaked. Here are my notes on my highly unscientific polls and amateur interviews conducted in the neighborhood and the immediate vicinity of my area at public places (hey, I’m lazy).

  • So let’s get the sex appeal thing out of the way first. We aren’t talking Scarlett Johansson here, but compared to the rest of the girls on SRGMP, Mauli did carry a corked carnality that set her apart and allowed her to stand out. It was in the way she sang and the way she moved. Note how many times she was in the center of the stage during a performance, and when she wasn’t something didn’t look quite right.

  • How does an American-Indian find popularity with the Indian masses? Mauli played the prodigal daughter angle really well by coming to the desh and working hard to prove herself on an Indian platform to an Indian audience.

  • Mauli had a unique voice but was a hit-or-miss singer. When she was on, she was terrific with the item numbers. When she swung and missed, she fell apart badly. But either way, she approached her songs with a passion. Remember how she closed her eyes and tried her best on “Yeh jo des” even while she crashed and burned spectacularly? Let’s face it – we love Virender Sehwag types – talent with entirely human shortcomings that threaten their possessors with the worst.

  • She was the friendly, non-jealous types. Even the judges all seemed to back her up because she established good relationships with all of them. And this vibe rubbed off on viewers. When she left, everyone seemed genuinely sorry and she even got Himesh to say the right thing – no mean feat.

  • She was dynamic and confident. When the rest of the girls stood by demurely, she stood tall, nodded her head, made eye contact with everyone, maroed jhatkas unapologetically during performances, flirted with Salman and even walked up and shook Akshay Kumar’s hand instead diving for his feet. Forget Ankita, Mauli reminds more girls of ajki naari.

So will she be missed? With apologies to a lot of people on this blog: entirely it seems! I’m still not sure what she’ll sound like in the recording studio - where the image associated with the voice on the show won’t be present.

Take a look at the track record of the winners and losers on American Idol and you’ll see that once the face is removed, the voice is still king – the artists with strong songs sold records while others faltered, definitely in their sophomore effort if not sooner. And the narrower the focus the better: outside Kelly Clarkson on AI and Abhijit Sawant on II, no alum has established a broad-based pop career.

Given this, the news that Pritam in addition to her mentor Bleeng Bleeng Lahiri will be working with her should help Mauli feel a little bit assured about her short term future. But it’s still very much in the balance.

SRGMP – on the other hand – will more than recover from her loss as it always does.

More info:
Mauli's SRGMP performances
Upcoming roji roti


Anonymous said...

Lovely to read ur blog again.Yes, Mauli was definely the 'u can love her, u can hate her, but can never ignore her' sorts. Her baby-voiced-talk alongwith her very cool-babe-looks, yet presenting herself as a very i-have-the-bharatiya-naari-values, kept people confused as to what the real Mauli is like. And everyone does like enigmas!!!
She does know that offence is the best part of defence. Just like RGV now announces that he was an idiot to have tried Sholay, so theres no more criticism his way, just before she sang her trademark 'maiyya maiyya'as her swansong, she announced that she was singing her 'ghisa-pita gaana'.And we Indians are always ready to forgive and forget, so the reaction of most people was 'Poor girl, she s out'!!!!!!
But that still doesnt mean that Saredramapa has lost its TRP. I am so surprised how Midas could imagine that the whole world was watching the show only becos the Indian Shakira' was shaking,sorry, singing.

Anonymous said...

ShakiraBen's fans are weird.. i don't know where they got the idea that she is recording with Vishal shekhar, because he himself says they haven't offered her jack..


Anonymous said...

Megan I think they are referring to the Saregam album of Vishal Shekhar which will have all the key contestants and Mauli will be one of them

Anonymous said...

just paste this link on ur browser for an enlightening article on Sone Ki Chidiya Bappi Da

Anonymous said...

Guys. I just read this comment on that left me wondering. I'll copy and paste it here.
!!!!!!!! NEXT WEEKS SPOILER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
U said strategically POONAM will be out next. hmmmmmmmmmm I think ZEELOGICALLY POONAM WILL BE OUT NEXT.





Anonymous said...

Sony Tv has blamed the audience for not voting, and then saying that the results have been rigged. I just want to check, how many of us very-interested-in-these-shows actually vote regularly?
I have to very sheepishly admit that I dont send smss every week.(I do sometimes, but only once).but then I dont say that results r rigged!!!!I just crib when someone good goes out and/or someone bad sticks on!!!!!I spoke to my extended family, and not too surprisingly most of them dont vote too!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon!( Hindustan times link wala Anon)
Read the HT story about bappi da. I think the story title has spelling mistakes...our bhappi da said "Getting a Granny is my goal"...and the HT guys changed the n's to m's inadvertently!!! Talk about printing mistakes....

Anonymous said...

There is NO way she has all those things lined up (from Wikipedia). She SUCKED! how is that possible?!?! there has to be a mistake!

Anonymous said...

girly girl, obviously.. her fans from India Forums are a bunch of weirdos (no offense to weirdos)who just made up with that list out of nowhere...

I don't think half of those people even know they have offered her a song or whatever.. Vishal def was like we haven't recorded nor have we offered... heh

Anonymous said...

Megan, i wouldnt expect that from VS. You must be really tight with Vishal to get the insights on stuff...i'm glad you share them with us! :D

Unknown said...

I don;t agree with Aspi about public missing Mauli. I for one will not. Infact sa re ga ma is more enjoyable now than what we had till a week before. If someone sings well but doesn;t have a great sex appeal to me is a better contestant anyday. Mauli to me is not singer at all. She sang one or two songs well and we all gave her so many more chances. Aspi, if you had covered a larger area for your survey probably you had got a better idea of how much intolerable Mauli really was, Alteast to me

Anonymous said...

I agree... where ever they discussed srgmp on the internet, people used to find her singing intolorable..except for the fanboys and girls..

Anonymous said...

maybe some do miss her like a sore tooth who knows..

Anonymous said...

I am actually also curious how many people watch sa re ga ma in India.

My younger neices prefer Indian Idol and my older relatives have their own set of regular soaps/shows they watch.

No one knows Mauli in my family. I wonder if the phenomenon is more uk/usa based.

Anonymous said...

who knows?

according to her fans, her Maiyya Maiyya performance is the most watched desi video on Youtube..i aint kidding...

they're also like "no one paid attention to the song or was only Mauli who made the song such a huge rage".. wonder what Mallika Sherwwat would say to that hahahahahahaha

Anonymous said...

Anon,yes,my daughter, also a music-lover complains that most of her friends watch only Indian Idol.I think the major reason is the timing.SRGMP begins at 10 pm, and goes on till almost midnight, while Indian Idol begins at 9 pm itself. But I do know many elders in my family, and not-so-old:)friends of mine who watch SRGMP and VOI.

Anonymous said...

Mauli's Maiyya Maiyya is the most viewed video clip amongst all Indian singing shows on youtube - all seasons combined. The fact that videos are meant to be watched, not heared is an entirely different issue.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha Manish! Good one!

Anonymous said...

...Moreover, her Orkut fan club has the second-highest number of members. Only Raja nudges past her. Aneek and Amanat's fan clubs are nowhere close to her.

Anonymous said...

Bappida posts here as Manish?

Unknown said...

Harsha, true my results would be different if it had been polled over a larger area. On the other hand this was done just around her exit so there was the feel-bad-for-her factor to consider.

anu g, to answer your own impromptu poll - I don't vote at all, even online. I'm pretty lazy.

Also I know in my parents plan and watch SRGMP. They also see Indian Idol only because it is on just before one of their saas-bahu deals I think.

Anonymous said...

Re: Is Mauli our National Treasure?
Aspi, I can't resist adding my two cents to help interpret your Mauli survey. You say you were in Vadodara.
Hello! That's the heart of Gujjuland, and what is Mauli??? Knowing good ole' Bharat, how can you go to Gujjus and guage Mauliben's national popularity??
I say this research study's conclusions need some revising.

BTW, absolutely loved your clever captions! Stardust mag should hire you to breathe fresh life into their tired pages.

Unknown said...

In defense of my unscientific polls, I should say that my largest audience was on AA 292 and New Delhi domestic airport. All four of them :)

Sania said...

Whoa, who are all these commenters and where did they come from? Aspi, when did you become so popular? I bet you're basking in the glow.

In any case, I am loathe to admit this - but I think you're right. Mauli brought a bit of levity to the show. I don't think she deserved to be there as far as singing capabilities go, but there was always an interesting element of sexual tension she brought to the show. I think Megan will admit that her beloved Shekhar even fell prey to it. And then there was the Head & Shakiraben saga that made the rounds of the news channels. And the rumour that Shakira was 'woh'? You know all the boys lusted for the tall curvy American chick who could enlighten them with her passport.

BTW- I have an ep of SRGMP from 2005 that y'all should see. This avtaar of Himesh is rarely recalled. (I was going to take a screenshot as I alluded to in another comment, but I'd love for you guys to see the video). Seriously, it's an episode of SRGMP with critical mentors, no gaudy fashion, and Himesh and Ismail Darbar playing nice. And clips of mentors actually teaching their shishyas!!

Suggestions for upload sites are welcome.

Unknown said...

How about good ole YouTube Sania? And hey, do you happen to have anything from SRGMP 2004 - the one where Himesh didn't wear a cap?

Anonymous said...

Aspi,thanks for voting!!!Its been about 24 hours and not one person has mentioned anything about it. Either it was a terribly boring question, or as I suspect, the others are like us:), only we have been brave enuf to announce it in public. Now that I am being so homest, i have to further confess that I must have voted about 5 times totally for all the three shows put together.....and that with some prodding from my daughter!!!!

Anonymous said...

i used to vote for as much as i could when Preetu was on the show (both of them)..
but i am always doing 10 things at once when am online so couldn't vote hardcore..i don't think the online voting matters much anyway.. votes are manipulated.. i don't trust those effin channel peeps... ITSSSS A MISHHHHHHHHHHHTAAAAKE

now i vote for raja and poonam every now and again

Sania said...

Who's Preetu?

And Aspi - that's exactly what I'm referring to. Himesh pre-cap and actually wearing a suit. An ugly one, but a suit nonetheless.

I've been working too much, so maybe I'll get it up this weekend. By now you're all probably tired of my empty promises. I just don't want to spend the time to cut down the hour+ episode, hence no youtube. But we shall see.

Anonymous said...


Is this what you are talking about?Himesh in a blue suit

Anonymous said...

oops,Forgot to paste the link

Anonymous said...

I watch both SRGMP and II3 regularly. Have my favourites (Amit, Raja and Amanat) but have never voted for anyone.

Actually Himesh has good hair in the video. You think he is loosing it.

I am also coming out of the anon mask :)

- Joules

Anonymous said...


he admitted to have losing it on KWK(koffee with karan)

Unknown said...

Saritha, I can't thank you enough for that clip!

Sania, take your time. Good things are worth waiting for.

Anonymous said...

You are welcome,Aspi.

I have seen this a few months ago when I was tracking Hemu's vids on Youtube.Sorry Sania!

Now chk this link,I haven't seen this before and now I know that Himesh is using his ghisa-phita love story again.phew

ppl said...

Good post Aspi, while I was never a fan of her singing, she definitely made me take notice of the show. (the judges eye-popping reaction to maiyya maiyya promised oodles of future fun)
Also all the contestants had a really great rapport with her, they weren't in awe of her ABCDness but genuinely liked her as a friend. Telling hungama videos -
P.S - Amanat calls Mauli 'guruji'and
Sumedha's favorite mentor is Shekhar.

Anonymous said...

Mauli fans did not make up the list

Bappida keeps announcing he has recorded with Mauli for and that song with Shilpa Shetty.

U all no she is recording with Pritam

Bappida announced at the end of the Salmaan Khan episode that Mauli every song in a movie for Lara Datta

She announced on Star News Interview that she is making an album.

As for the offers from HR and VS, someone announced it on Zee Gujurati, but it didn't come directly from Mauli so it might not be true.

She is singing for Bal Ganesh. It came in Hungama.

Also I think SRGMP is releasing an album of the singers.

This is how we came up with the list. We didn't make it up from thin air.

Anonymous said...

yeah sure whatever..

sania- Preetu is Harpreet...

ppl said...

You are awesome Saritha!!!!! I swear I had a moment of, who the fudge is that wierdo in the toupee and an accountant suit, till I realized it, promptly fell off my sofa and now have a slightly stubbed toe.
'WOW, what a makeobher' as bleeng bleeng da would say.

Anonymous said...


Leera,I almost had a similar experience when I first saw him,and trust me it took me more than 10 secs to realize that the guy was actually Himesh.

Thanks for sharing those hungama vids.can't believe that 'woh' is mauli and not sumedha.crap.

Himesh played this 'woh' drama with Vineet too.And now it's Aneek.All in the name of TRPs.

I think 'Woh' is actually a ghost in Himesh's life (ala Sadhana in 'Woh kaun thi').And every season she keeps coming back singing 'Naina barse'- only the victims change.

Now that Aneek confessed that there is nothing bet the girls and boys on the show,want to see how Himesh changes his stategy.

ppl said...

Poor Aneek, people have begun to turn on him thanks to Himanshu's mentoring.
A bakra at the feet of the TRP goddess.
btw could someone clue me in to how this elusive yet ever so desirable TRP system works?

Anonymous said...

Leera, its not just Himesh's mentoring though. The fact that Aneek plays along with the sheninigans is what irks people..

Himesh used to do the whole roti talk with Mussarat too but he never retaliated.

Amanat gets asked and bothered about the love triangle BS too but he maintains a dignified silence and denies everything with a smile on his face.

Sania said...

Man - that's what happens when you procrastinate, someone upstages you. Thanks Saritha!! :)

I've actually got all the episodes from Challenge 2005 on my hard drive, as I used to watch it back in the day and couldn't bear to delete.

While I wasn't going to use that exact one, basically all the pre-top 10 rounds (whatever Mahabharata names they have) show Himesh in a suit. I took this lovely screencap because I was enamoured with Himesh's not-so-great reaction to a contestant and the close up of his toupee.¤t=himanshu.jpg

I shall try to upload the good parts of the vid soon.

Unknown said...

Leera, Saritha, thanks for the links. Will watch when I get back home to a better connection.

And Leera, I'm with you on the TRPs - surprisingly non-transparent process it is. I even saw an ad where VoI claimed it had outdone II and SRGMP on TRPs. Hmmm....

Anon, thanks for clarifying where the Mauli roji-roti info came from. Meg sounds impressed.

Sania, that picture is priceless. I have to link to it!

Anonymous said...

wait, Aspi, did you say those guys from india think ABCD's are easy? Are you kidding me? I've lived in "pardes" my whole life, and if there's one thing indian girls here DONT want, it's guys from back home. The youth here is totally different from the youth there...I'm a youth of Canada, where there is a STRONG indian population, so Im confident when I say that the last thing Mauli ould probably want is some dude from indian with an accent and a bad dress sense. The only guy on SRGMP who had a "modern" and "pardesi-indian" style, feel and look to him was Junaid; which is why he was the most popular contestant overseas.

I literally started laughing when Bappi said "I quit" though. Is he retarded? Sumedha is still on the show and he threatens to quit (although we all know he'd be back). The Frog is verry cunning, I'll say.

I'll miss Mauli though. Her singing annoyed me sometimes, but her performance of "Chura Liya" from the earlier episodes is what got me into this show, no lie. There are two reasons for that. One, I thought she was sexy as hell. Two, her voice was very seductive and different, and I loved the performance.

I think Aneek is one of the best contestants, but if it means removing Himesh from the show then so be it.

V & S are really the only two judges who aren't fake. Himesh does everything for TRP's and you know what his intentions are regardless of what he says (bashing Raja).

Bappi is still stuck in 1982 or w.e year he was famous and he obviously cannot get over the fact that he's irrelevant to today's generation.

Ismail is okay as a judge, but banks on other's opinion's way too much.

Out of the top 5, I'm assuming Sumedha and Aneek will survive. I love both, but I cant stand Frog nor Himesh.

Anonymous said...

Mauli actually was very good in a certain type of songs, which is to say she had a very strong niche. She sucked as bad as mussarat sings normally when mauli was out of her niche.
And yes the mauli fans will miss her , the show will go on though.
One thing i am pretty certain of, out of all the contestants mauli will be the one who shall be really successfull like ganjawala, ghoshal etc because she does have that extra zing to her.

Anonymous said...

I am missing Mauli's performance from the show.
I thought she was the most passionate.
Sometimes she hit and sometimes she missed.
I do think she will have the most success at the recording studio.
Good luck Mauli!

Unknown said...

Canadian, you have a point. But try telling a guy they aren't the same and will have better luck than the rest.