Prashant-mania reaches the heights


A group of school boys were walking down the road to their school. One of them said to the other, “Hey! Where’s my 100 rupees? I told you that Prashant would make it to the Top 3, and he did.”
Similarly, two adults were having coffee in a bakery shop near Dillibazar. One of them began the conversation. “Dude, did you see last night’s elimination round of Indian Idol? Can you believe that ‘our’ Prashant received the most votes? Man, it really looks like he is going to win this mega title.”

It’s not only in Darjeeling, Sikkim, Siliguri and Assam in northeast India that Prashant Tamang has a tremendous fan following. People in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal like Dharan, Jhapa and Ilam are also rooting for Prashant to win the glory of being the Indian Idol.

It was some five months ago when Prashant Tamang, a resident of the Darjeeling suburb of Toong Soong, entered the hugely popular and world-famous singing competition Indian Idol. In no time at all, he had became a heartthrob.

During last Friday night’s gala round, Prashant sang all-time Hindi favorites Kuch na kaho and O mere dil ke chain, and garnered the highest number of votes to give himself a safe berth in the list of the Top 3 finalists. During the grand finale this week, he’ll be straining his vocal chords against Amit Paul and Emon Chatterjee. To add to the excitement, legendary Bollywood singer and member of the jury, Udit Narayan Jha, announced that his wife Deepa was signing Prashant to sing for her upcoming Nepali movie.

The people of Darjeeling, understandably, are ecstatic. City Post contacted Benup Raj Bhattarai, Kantipur’s man in Darjeeling, and Tenzing Khambachaye, ward counselor, for the full story.

“Prashant Tamang arrived in Darjeeling today (Monday) to a tumultuous welcome. The environment in the town is very lively, and people are really going crazy to see him,” Benup said.

“The size of Prashant’s fan following is increasing day by day. People are working madly to make him win the Indian Idol crown. His admirers in West Bengal, Lucknow and Dehradun have also been voting for him in massive numbers,” he added,

Benup said that hair stylist Neil David and singer Babu Bogati had arrived at the hill station to participate in the promotional campaign. Yash Kumar, Prakash Poudel and model Namrata Jha will be joining them soon.

When Prashant was progressing towards the finals, he has received both compliments and criticism from the jury. Alisha Chinai believes him to be a fighter and an uncut diamond. Acclaimed lyricist Javed Akhtar admires him for his fluency and diction. Udit Narayan thinks that he has the potential, but hasn’t been utilizing it. As for Anu Malik, Prashant has lately become his favorite.

Anu Malik, who once bluntly criticized his singing, is today a total supporter. And there’s a very interesting reason for that.

According to Benup, a few weeks ago when Anu Malik had slammed Prashant’s performance, Darjeeling residents came out on the streets and chanted slogans against him, a few also burnt his pictures. They were preparing to sue both Anu Malik and Sony Entertainment Television when Anu Malik apologized and the matter cooled down.

Every Friday, some 2,000 fans from Sikkim and nearby places come to Chaurasta in Darjeeling to join the crowd and watch Prashant sing on Indian Idol on a huge LCD screen. Their mobile phones are recharged free of cost and on the spot so that they can send as many votes as they can.

People who do not have cell phones to vote with have been sending money to Darjeeling as their donation to the Prashant campaign.

“Last week, Dharan, Jhapa, Morang and Ilam each sent Rs 50,000 for the campaign fund,” said Benup.

Giving an account of Prashant’s grand arrival in Darjeeling, Tenzing said, “Prashant reached New Jalpaiguri railway station in Siliguri at 4:30 in the afternoon. From there, he was escorted by the welcoming rally that also included well-wishers from Sikkim and Ilam in Nepal. Upon arriving in Darjeeling, he visited his old school Santaro Boarding School and took part in a cultural program. At St Joseph’s College in North Point, he sang a couple of songs sending the audience into a frenzy. The security had to be very tight because people went completely out of control.”

On Tuesday morning, after the one-day reunion with his hysterical fans, Prashant returned to Mumbai and the rigors of the Indian Idol contest. Name, fame and a contract worth 10 million Indian rupees with Sony Entertainment Television are up for grabs. Prashant will have to sing better than Amit and Emon, both very strong contenders, to get the title. Which way will it go? Don’t forget to watch the show at 9:15 every night from Thursday to Saturday.



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