'You will not see me fighting with anyone'
Shreya Ghosal, along with singer Sonu Nigam and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is a judge on the Indian version of the music-based reality TV show X Factor.
Ghosal's claim to fame is her debut as playback singer in Bhansali's Devdas. The singer had caught Bhansali's attention when she participated in the music-based reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, and went on to sing five songs in Devdas, for which she received the Filmfare award for Best Female Playback.
She talks to Rajul Hegde about her experience on X Factor.
What is your experience of the show so far?
This is my first time with Sony channel and so far it's been great. When I see the amount of money, talent, and energy these people are putting into discovering upcoming talent, I am sure it will add great value to the show. I am happy to see that there is no age barrier, though it does make it difficult when it comes to judging. To be a judge along with Sonu and Sanjay is an incredible experience. I can say that Sanjay is an encyclopaedia of music.
We have seen several reality shows, where the tiffs between judges are highlighted more than the performance of the contestants. Will we see the same here?
I am not the kind of person who fights. You will not see me fighting with anyone. It's like if I like someone and the other two judges don't agree with my judgement, I may cry, but I won't walk away from the sets or anything like that.
Image: Shreya Ghosal
'When Lataji sings, time stops'
Do you have a favourite contestant? What kind of people impressed you most on the show?
Yes, there are a few favourites, but I think it won't be fair to name them. Those who have a talent for singing as well as performing impressed me the most. There were funky people who entertained us also. But, yes, the singers gave us a tough time, and by judging them, even we will be judged by 20 crore people. So we have to be very careful when giving our judgement so that the right person is selected.
How would you define the X-Factor?
It cannot be defined in words. You are born with it. I would like to give an example of Lata Mangeshkar. When Lataji sings, time stops, as she involves the audience. We are making it difficult for the contestants as they have to go through various difficult stages to emerge the winner.
Did you learn anything from the contestants?
Yes, of course, it was like remembering the old days when I was a contender myself. It's been 10 years of non-stop work for me. I do understand what the contestants must be going through, and seeing it, I got very emotional during the auditions. I had many ups and downs; there were times when I completely broke down, but regained my self-confidence and got started. So I do tell these contestants the same thing.
Image: Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghosal, Sanjay Leela Bhansali
'No acting for me because I am happy and content with whatever I am doing currently'
Are you style-conscious now that you have to face the camera? Do you still have stage fright?
I can say that with time my style has evolved. When I came into the industry I had no confidence. But in this field you learn how to present yourself. I was not even aware of styling and, to be frank, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa was not even a reality show. We were just singing in front of the great judges. This concept of fashion came later, when television became so big. Now these shows are big, commercial events and attract attention. With TRPs being important, presentation does matter. Moreover, there is plenty happening in international shows as well, so one has to present oneself in a better way.
There are a lot of singers and composers on reality shows these days. Is this because it makes them more visible?
Yes, of course, we do reality shows because of the visibility. Earlier, people did not know who had sung a particular song in a film - they would refer to it as Kareena's or some other actor's song. With the singing reality show concept we are able to reach out to people and today they know who we are. The singer at least gets a chance to perform on stage, but composers are less visible. So I think it's not only the best platform for the contestants, but for singers as well as composers.
Are there any plans of taking up acting or coming out with your own album?
No acting for me because I am happy and content with whatever I am doing currently. About my own album, well, I am thinking on those lines. When things get finalised I will definitely let you know.
Image: Shreya Ghosal