Mumbai, Jan. 3 -- After Abhijeet Sawant bagged the Indian Idol title in 2004, many aspiring singers followed his cue and sought reality shows as a platform for a career in Bollywood. With multiple such shows hitting the tube over the years, several musicians have got a chance to showcase their talent.
Two such singers, who made a name for themselves in Bollywood in 2014 were Mohammad Irfan and Harshit Saxena. We speak to them, and other popular reality show stars and find out how they transitioned to film music.
Reality TV: Indian Idol (2010) Bhoomi rose to fame with Indian Idol, and went on to become a popular name in the Navratri shows circuit. She made her debut in Bollywood with the song 'Ram chahe leela' (Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela; 2013).
Artiste speak: "Post Indian Idol, there was a lot of struggle. I returned to my hometown (Vadodara) to finish my studies. After that, I decided to return to Mumbai to try my luck. In 2013, Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir gave me my biggest break. My future projects include Pooja Bhatt's upcoming film and Salman Khan's next production, in which I have sung a duet with the Meet Brothers," says Bhoomi.
Reality TV: Indian Idol (2004) and Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star (2008) Abhijeet was the winner of the first season of Indian Idol in 2004. His first album, Aap Kaa Apna Abhijeet Sawant, did well. Some of the Bollywood numbers he has sung include 'Mar jaavan mit jaavan' (Aashiq Banaya Aapne; 2005), 'Happy ending' (Tees Maar Khan; 2010) and 'Bechain sapne' (Chittagong; 2012). His next two albums were Junoon and Farida.
Artiste speak: "Indian Idol was a platform that got me recognition. It introduced me to the industry, but getting work here without a major contact is difficult. However, my journey has been good. I've sung various singles and film tracks, and have tried my hand at acting too. I'm currently working on many film songs, but I can't talk about them yet," says Abhijeet.
Reality TV: Sur Kshetra (2012) Aman has worked extensively with Himesh Reshammiya and has sung tracks like 'Hookah bar' and 'Khiladi bhaiya' (both Khiladi 786; 2012). While he released a romantic ballad, 'Mahiya tu', in 2014, he recently sang a ghazal, 'Hum tumhe kaise batayein' in Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami (2014).
Artiste speak: "After the reality show, survival in the industry was a challenge. I'm grateful to Himeshji as he offered me 'Go go Govinda' (OMG: Oh My God!; 2012). I've recently sung 'Aashiq mizaaj' (The Shaukeens; 2014), which is a romantic song," says Aman.
Reality TV: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (2005), Voice Of India (2009), Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star 2 (2012) After catching the attention of music lovers with his performances on reality shows, Mohammad got a dream Bollywood break with AR Rahman's song 'Behene de' in Raavan (2010). His most popular track in 2014 was 'Banjaara' from Ek Villain.
Artiste speak: "While reality shows are a medium to get instant fame and money, they cannot be considered a bridge to Bollywood. It was very tough to get a break in films because people from the industry hardly follow TV shows. I had to record audio CDs and give them to music composers. Working with Rahman sir was a thrilling experience," says Mohammad.
Reality TV: Voice Of India (2007), Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar (2008), Music Ka Maha Muqqabla (2009) Harshit turned composer-singer with 'Haal-e-dil' (Murder 2; 2011) and sang tracks in Tees Maar Khan (2010) and Hate Story (2012). He recently sung the song, 'Dhaani chunariya' in Super Nani (2014).
Artiste speak: "When I was part of reality shows, I had facilities that took care of my basic needs. But post that, I struggled to find a place for myself and survive in the city. Things got better after I started performing at concerts. While I have enough Bollywood projects currently, I am also planning to release an album, titled Harshit Haal-e-Dil, this month," says Harshit.
Reality TV: Indian Idol (2007), Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (2011) Meiyang rose to fame as an Indian Idol contestant. He then established himself as a TV host, followed by his film acting debut in Badmaash Company (2010). His singles include 'Kuch dino se' in 2013 and 'Hanju' with singer Neha Kakkar last year.
Artiste speak: "My life took a complete turn (he was a practising dentist earlier). Changing professions and taking risks was not part of my nature, but these have become commonplace for me now and make me a stronger person. I will be seen in Dibakar Banerjee's upcoming film. I am also participating in two reality shows," says Meiyang.