Reality show in hot soup

Published Mar 23, 2016, 12:00 am IST
Updated Mar 23, 2016, 12:20 am IST
Controversy has shrouded the winner of a reality show, Anand Arvindakshan, for already being an established playback singer!
Anand Arvindakshan
 Anand Arvindakshan

There is a storm brewing between Anand Arvindakshan, the title winner of Super Singer 5, and Vijay TV, the channel that conducted the reality show. When the contestant got eliminated in the semifinals round, he was brought back in through the wildcard option... which caused a flutter among devoted audiences. Then, he joined as the fourth finalist on the show and got a chance to sing in the grand finale. Seizing the opportunity, he won the SS 5 Grand Finale title at the concluding live session on March 18, 2016.

The controversy now is that Anand has been found to be an established  playback singer who has already sung in films like Aarohanam, Kaadu, Madhayaanai Koottam, Ivan Vera Madhiri, Paandiya Nadu, Onbathula Guru, and Neerparavai, among others. He failed to mention this in any of the episodes, claim a group of netizens. This has created a huge buzz on social media, and Vijay TV is being taken to task on the following allegations — taking audiences for granted, fooling them by presenting professionals as amateurs, and shattering the dreams of genuine aspirants. There have also been demands to strip Anand of the title!


Vijayachakravarthy, a music buff, says, “Many do not understand that these TV reality shows are fake, but now one of them has been exposed. At least now, people should shun them and spend time doing better things.”

However when DC contacted Vijay TV, their programming head Pradheep refuted all charges — “First of all, playback singers are not restricted from participating in Super Singer. The rules are in black and white, and the contestants sign terms and conditions before they come in for the show. Anand clearly says in his introduction that he has done playback singing, but is still unknown, so chose to participate in this show. Anyone who watches our show regularly would have seen this.”

“If a known playback singer wants to compete, it goes to show how popular it is,” he explains and adds, “But most professionals won’t, for fear of facing comments from juries and sometimes getting eliminated.” He also cites an example in the neighbouring state of Kerala where Kalpana Raghavendar, a popular playback singer won Idea Star Singer Season 5 conducted by the Malayalam  channel Asianet.

Vinaya, one of the guest judges:
I am quite aware of the controversy regarding Anand. Just because he sang playback, why shouldn’t he participate in the show as one of the contestants? It’s not like he had a series of hits before appearing on Super Singer. Moreover, at one point of time, it’s common that these participants would have either sung a jingle or chorus in a movie. With the exposure kids get these days, a recording experience is just an ordinary thing! Also I believe that the show is a platform for any aspiring musician who wants to make a name for himself or herself.

Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, filmmaker-actor:
I know Anand to be a super talented, hard working, passionate and not-so-lucky singer... he had not got the recognition he deserved for the first few songs he sang for films. So, when he sent me a message saying he is the same Anand who sang for Aarohanam, I was super excited and felt he deserved the recognition. But this aspect of him already being a playback singer did not strike me as unusual,since I did not know the basic rules of the show.

One thing is sure — this cannot have happened without the channel’s knowledge. I have met Anand personally; he came across as a simple, straightforward person and I am sure as an individual, he does not have the deceit to cover up such information.

Unethical practices have resulted in victimising not just Anand, but the other participants, and of course the audience as well, who spend time and money by sending SMSes to support talented youngsters.