A song on her lips..

And the
countrywide search began — offering two girls and two boys the chance to make their singing careers. Getting through to the finals of this mega event is no meanfeat. More so, if you belong to this part of the world, have stepped into your thirties and much married with a child. Mrinmoyee Goswami Sarma (MGS) did just that. We spoke to this charming lady at her beautifully kept Ambari residence.

What made you decide to take part in the Channel [V] Popstar contest?

MGS: When the selection for  VIVA Girls was being shown on TV last year, my close friends and family encouraged me to participate in the next Channel [V] Popstar hunt. So I took the plunge quite sportingly, thinking “why not?”

Who have been your role models?

MGS: I am a die hard Joan Baez fan. Amongst the Indian singers I like Asha Bhonsle and Usha Uthup because of their versatile singing abilities.

Did you think that age and motherhood would
be a barrier in your career?

MGS: When I had initially applied, a lot of my well wishers were apprehensive that my age would be a barrier for me. Though this did not unnerve me initially, yet when I reached Kolkata for the audition, it struck me that I was quite the odd one out, being surrounded by youngsters barely out of their
teens. I happened to be the first candidate in the Kolkata audition and as I sang, my confidence grew. I became like one of them. In fact, no one would
believe that I was married with a kid. But at the final stage, I felt that it was my age that proved a barrier to my dream career.

How did the contest go? How did you prepare for it?

MGS: In the Kolkata audition, I was shortlisted along with nine others. We were told that a further shortlisting would be done based on the video reviews.

The Channel [V] team soon landed up in Guwahati to interview my family and me. To my delight, I cleared this hurdle as well. Reaching Kolkata en route to Mumbai for the finals, I realized I was the only girl selected from the east zone.

At Mumbai we were put up at the Hyatt Regency. My roommate was Neeti Mohan (who made it to the finals). It was a “luxurious
concentration camp.” We were not allowed out of the hotel room without permission and not even to call up our family. We had our training sessions with
the physical instructor Mickey Mehta, choreographer Terrence Louis, vocal training under Mr Jaipuriwala and designer Rocky S. Being a reality show, our
every action was recorded throughout these sessions.

 As the audition rounds progressed I was really brimming with confidence. My vocals were good and I was among the top 18 selected. I was a hot favourite
by now and the general opinion was that I was going to make it.

 But my dream was suddenly cut short when I heard my name being announced towards the final rounds (meaning I was out of the contest). I was too stunned to even cry. Moreover, cameras being all around, I could not show my emotions.  Palash Sen came up to me and said, “You are really talented, why don’t you
try something else?” This was when I really realized that my age had stood against me.

Would you have been able to make the sacrifices had you won?

MGS: The jury asked me the same thing and I replied in the affirmative. Sacrificing one year of my life to reach my dream career would not
have been much of a sacrifice.

What has been the role of your family members?

MGS:  I have a highly supportive family. In fact, I started singing in public only after marriage with a lot of encouragement from my
husband and my in-laws. Again, my mother has been my role model. She pushed me into classical music since age four and whatever I’m singing today is thanks
to her.

Do you think that the time frame is too less
for the judges to decide? Who were in the screening panel?

MGS:  No it is not. The judges have quite a tough job on hand screening 300-400 people at one go. It was done with a lot of patience. Palash Sen, Mehnaz and Purab were on the panel.

What were the points in your favour?
MGS: I was a very confident singer and did not ever need a second
chance during the rounds. I could also harmonise very well in the harmony round as well.

What do you think of the first Channel [V] Popstar group VIVA?

MGS: Nothing so special about the group – it was only very good packaging.

Tell us about your band Moonwind.
MGS: We are one of the better known bands of the North East. We’ve done a lot of shows all over the North East and also in Kolkata. We are a six member band comprising of Suman Dutta, Rakesh Baruah, Gaurav Bania, Rajeev Hazarika, Bhadra and me. Recently we came up with our own album Colour my life – a mixture of English and Hindi songs.

What are your future plans?
MGS:  I want to be recognized nationally - will have to work towards achieving this. I want to go on singing till the day I die.

(Bhaswati K Goswami/The Assam Tribune)