Competition heats up in second round of FOG Idol Auditions

Shreyank Sutar-min
Shreyank Sutar-min

Lakshmi Iyer
India Post News Service

The second round of FOG Idol auditions was held on Sunday, July 17th inside Saraswathi Hall at the Vedic Dharma Samaj Fremont Hindu Temple. Contestants performed a range of compositions from Hindustani, Carnatic, Western pop, old and modern Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu films, and devotional songs.

Sakshi TV has been covering the event exclusively.

Alka Bhatnagar, Dhawal Majmudar, and Sanjay Saxena were the judges for this round as well.

Tanisha Bhatti
Tanisha Bhatti

Mrs. Bhatnagar, who has been associated with Hindustani classical from an early age, has performed with famous Hindi film composers and playback singers. She also runs a music school, “Sur Bahar” in the Bay Area. Mr. Majmudar is a musician with several years of experience who sings and plays instruments. He has performed at many events and has his own band, “Pancham Beats”. Mr. Saxena is a singer-performer who plays multiple musical instruments.

The organizing team includes FOG Media Chair Ritu Maheshwari, Niharika Srivastav, and Lakshmi Iyer (author of this article). Ms. Srivastav and Ms. Iyer were also the emcees for the event.

Due to time constraints, a few of the contestants at the tail end of the first day’s list did not get a chance to sing an additional number, which the judges usually ask to gauge the versatility of the singer and were, therefore, called again.

Dhruv Sharma sang the softer, “Kya hua tera vaada…” without any accompanying track or musical instrument. Aman Bhattichose the dance number “Bidi lagi…”, while Tanisha Bhattirendered “Khoya khoyachaand…”, an old Hindi favorite.

Jolly Mishra was asked to sing a faster song and she went with “Aisa jadoo chalayaa re…”.

The 5-9 years group got a bravura start with Arya Kedilaya who masterfully sang the soulful, “Pal bhar theher jaao…” from the film, “Tamasha”, and then the bhajan, “Ram Govinda Hari…”.

Akshaj Chavan
Akshaj Chavan

Samika Kartik began confidently with a Carnatic song on Goddess Durga. For her second song, Samika picked Alex and Sierra’s “Little did you know…”, a number with lots of high notes and tune variations.

Akshaj Chavan sang the popular, “Once I was 7 years old…” by Lukas Graham, not an easy one for a young child to master. He could not initially think of a second song but came back later for a good presentation of the title track of “Kal Ho Na Ho”.

Shivanshi Lata went with “Moh moh ke dhaage…”, a popular choice among FOG Idol contestants over the years, one that checks all the boxes to showcase Indian singing talent – a strong Hindustani classical element in raag Yaman, and beautiful lyrics in the contemporary Bollywood movie, “Dum lagake haisha”.

In the 10-18 age group, the first contestant, Shreyank Sutar, impressed the audience with his expressive and melodious rendition of the classic originally sung by the legendary Mohammed Rafi, “Teri aankhon ke sivaa…”. For his second song, Shreyank sang a Kannada devotional piece dedicated to Lord Shiva, “Sojugada soju mallige Mahadeva…”.This was recently featured at Isha Foundation’s Mahashivratri program by Ananya Bhat.

Reya Kartikgave an excellent performance of the Carnatic masterpiece, “BantureethiKolu..” –it’s a devotional song dedicated to Lord Rama, in raga Hamsanadham with Adi tala (taal) – by Thyagaraja, the 18th-19th century saint composer. Next, she belted out the heartrending Lewis Capaldi number, “Somebody You Loved…”.

Esha Banu won everyone’s hearts with her rendition of the melodious, “Komma Uyyala…” from the Telugu version of the recent pan-India super hit, “RRR”. The young girl also sang, “Kehte hai Khuda…raabta…”from “Agent Vinod”.


Kaara Chavan, the older sister of Akshaj from the 5-9 years group, chose the Imagine Dragons hit, “Believer” for her audition and the devotional piece, “Kaun kehte hain Bhagwan aate nahin…”.

The 18+ category took off with Madhava Rao Konthalapalli putting up a flamboyant rendition of “Neele neele ambar par…”, originally sung by the all-time great Kishore Kumar in the movie, “Kalaakaar”.The judges asked for a slower melody and he readily obliged with the ghazal, “Tumko dekha to yeh khayal aaya… ”, sung by the legendary Jagjit Singh in“Saath Saath”.

Satish took the competition to the south with his melodious rendition of the soothing, “Ennavale…”from the 1990s film, “Kaadhalan”, originally sung by Unnikrishnan. For his second song, he chose “Ninaivo oru paravi…”, a composition by Ilaiyaraja from the 1978 film, “SigappuRojakkal”.

Chetan Wakadehit the high notes with ease in the peppy, “Janam janam saath yun hi chalte…” from the film, “Dilwale”, originally sung by Arijit Singh.He showcased his versatility wonderfully with “Saanwariya…ras ke bhare tore nain…”from “Satyagraha”, which has a strong classical base complete with alaaps.

Khushali Dhomse did a fabulous job of singing “Sun raha hai na tu… ” from “Aashiqui 2”, originally rendered by Shreya Ghoshal. She also did justice to the olden golden“ Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh…”, which was sung by the legendary late Lata Mangeshkar.

Sakshi TV Group Pic
Sakshi TV Group Pic-

Mahesh Mehtaset the audience’s feet tapping with his energetic rendition of “Tere mast mast do nain…” from the film, “Dabangg”, which was voiced by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. He switched gears for the fast-paced “Badtameezdil…” from “Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani”, dancing to the tune himself.

Arundhuti Talukder gave a wonderful performance of “Jaane kya baat hai…” from the 1984 film, “Sunny”, originally rendered by Lata Mangeshkar, and followed with a Bengali song.

Nimisha Bharti rendered the soulful “Main tenu samjhaavaan…” beautifully and later, the Lata Mangeshkar classic, “Lag jaa gale…” from the film, “Woh KaunThi”, concluding the day’s performances with a flourish.

The judges were supportive of all the contestants, offering generous praise and suggestions.