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Raga Reality

SPIC MACAY launches a reality show on TV for Carnatic and Hindustani classical music

SPIC MACAY launches a reality show on TV for Carnatic and Hindustani classical music

Thirty-odd years ago,when the Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY) was set up,no one imagined it would grow to 500 chapters across the world and 5,000 events annually. But Kiran Seth,its founder,says,“I had an intuition that this would become a big movement.” It is with equal conviction that SPIC MACAY is now launching Naad Bhed,its first reality show on national television.

The show’s biggest USP is perhaps that it will bring together Carnatic and Hindustani music,rarely seen on competitive shows. “People are generally exposed to one or the other. But here,both styles will be in the forefront and the viewers will begin to appreciate and understand both,” says Seth.

Legendary Carnatic violinist TN Krishnan,reportedly one of the judges on the show,says,“We hope that this show will not only give exposure to a lot of artistes,but also enrich the audience. It may get them more interested in learning the music and enjoying it. If the show is aired nationally,it is even better.”


The competition will cover six categories,with awards for vocalists,instrumentalists and accompanists. The organisation hopes to rope in maestros such as Prof Krishnan,Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia,Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in each category as judges. Actor Shabana Azmi is set to anchor the show.

Entries are invited from all musicians who have been training with a guru for at least four years,a restriction that,Seth says,is a must to maintain the show’s ethos. “This is not a search for talent or a voice. This is a search for good classical musicians who are committed to learning the art,” he explains.

The decision to partner with Doordarshan instead of more popular private channels was made to keep the show’s spirit intact. “With Doordarshan,there is no pressure of TRPs or staging dramatic scenes. It will only be about the music,” he says.

Naad Bhed will travel to 20 centres across the country for regional competitions. One hundred contestants will

be picked for the national rounds and will then be whittled down to 35 finalists. The stakes are raised even higher with cash prizes ranging from Rs 10,000 to

Rs 10 lakh. “The participants will be given four minutes to prove their mettle,” says Seth.

Ask him whether Naad Bhed can compete with other music shows,he says,“It’s unfair to compare popular music to classical music.”