Nagpur girl Sugandha Date, on Sunday, was announced the winner of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs 2019. She took home the winning trophy and a prize money of Rs 5 lakh. Apart from Sugandha, Pritam Acharya, Astha Das, Ayush KC, Anushka Patra and Mohammad Faiz were the finalists.
Hosted by Ravi Dubey, the Zee TV reality show had Amaal Malik, Shaan and Richa Sharma as the judges.
Post her victory, Sugandha spoke exclusively to indianexpress.com about her journey on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Did you expect to win the show?
Not at all. All six finalists were really deserving. Anyone could have won. When my name was announced, I really got emotional, and couldn’t stop crying. My family is also overjoyed.
When did you start showing an inclination towards music?
I was six when I first showed interest in music. My mother holds a masters degree in music and she was my first teacher. Then in 2013, I participated in Indian Idol Junior and ended in top 5. My parents then decided that we should move to Mumbai for me. We reached out to Anand Sharma, a renowned music coach, who has been part of Indian Idol and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Although he doesn’t train, he accepted me as his student and gave me lessons for free. This victory is for him and I am happy I could make him proud.
Was it difficult to handle the pressure and competition at such a young age?
Sometimes it does get stressful but we have a very fun environment that just eases everything. Also, we all were friends more than competitors and so there was no pressure to outdo each other. We all believe that when we are in a happy mood, we can sing better.
We have been told you were really naughty off-screen.
(Laughs) They announced that on screen also. Everyone used to call me ‘gundi’ on the show. I really enjoyed with everyone. I have long hair and some of them used to sit on it to tease me. So I would get angry and fight with them. I also boxed many of my friends but it was all in fun.
What did you learn through Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs?
I went through lots ups and downs. And through that, I learned how to be confident and never lose hope. I actually learned a lot but the strength to overcome any low will always stay with me.
Who has been your inspiration?
I consider Lata Mangeshkar my idol and I follow her religiously. I listen to her every day and learn through it. I want to carve my path just like her. There’s so much more to learn but I want to be a playback singer ultimately.