Quest for Talent, Thirst for Money

Dreams Entertainment, in fact, harrassed and humiliated them by calling them over to the contest and made them suffer the frustration probably the kids had never experienced before and probably would never experience again.

Instead of realising their dreams of being featured in the popular Sony TV programme, they had to return to their homes with their tiny hearts broken and dreams shattered.. But did Dreams Entertainment care? Far from it.

Sorry, what could have been an enjoyable and stimulating evening with aspiring artistes from the North-east putting up a colourful show turned out to be a non-event, thanks to the bungling Dreams Entertainment made in trying to arrange the show on behalf of Sony.

In fact, from the word go, Dreams Entertainment did not have the vaguest idea about how to put together the contest. First, it did not have the wherewithal and the experience in organising such an event. All the chief of the so-called event management group, Kapil Upadhaya, had in mind was to make a quick buck by taking advantage of the young hopefuls. Which was what he actually did by taking them for a ride and extracting from each contest an entry fee of Rs.1000, obvioisly, without Sony being aware of it.

Before the preliminary rounds on September 22, Dreams Entertainment was supposed to hold a screen test in the city's Landmark Hotel between September 9 and 12. But it failed to hold the test, allegedly, because the sponsors, who promised Mr. Upadhaya financial support, withdrew at the last moment, apparently, because they got the wind of his real intentions in offering to put up the contest.

Moreover, it seemed, his mercenary attitude got the better of him when an event manager he had hired to arrange the proceedings of the contest also backed out after Mr. Upadhaya refused to give him a free hand. Besides, the event manager was sore because Mr. Upadhaya haggled over his fees. All this led to the abrupt cancellation of the screen test, portending thre worst to come.

That was exactly what happened when 180 contestants from all over the North-east were called directly to the preliminary rounds to the Brahmaputra Ashok Hotel on September 22. As per the intimation sent to them, the aspiring contestants arrived at the hotel at 2 p.m., chaperoned by their parents and gurdians. But, to their surprise, there was nobody to receive and look after them at the hotel and they did not even know whom to turn to for help and guidance. So they waited in the hotel premises, standing under the open sky and enduring the scorching heat. Imagine the kids standing under a glaring sun with their make-up and dancing gears on! Little did they know that their wait would be never-ending. Because till late night they remained where they were, famished and fatigued. What was galling on the part of Mr. Upadhaya was that he did not even show up to offer an apology to the hungry and harrassed contestants even as they waited patiently to be called in. Neither did any associate of his came out to explain what had caused the delay in holding the contest.

What caused the delay in holding the contest was that, as in the case of the screen test, the event manager who was supposed to organise the proceedings on the floor, refused to cooperate, apparently due to differences whic are still a mystery. So, the spendthrift Upadhaya found himself holding the bucket, not knowing what to do.

It is said that the anchor-producer-director of 'Boogie Woogie', Naved Jaffrey, too, was so cut up with the mismanagement of the event that he gave Upadhaya a good talking-to for messing up what could have been a stimulating contest.
Of course, the contest did start. But the organisers found another ready-made excuse to delay it when it started drizzling. By the time the contest got off the ground, it was past midnight and by then many of the contestants who had come with lot of hopes made their way to homes, unable to bear further humiliation by Dreams Entertainment.

By Samir Agarwal