Md. Mahmudul Haque Imran, Champa Banik, Md. Yousuf Ahmed Khan, Zanita Ahmed Zhilik, Md. Animul Islam Romel and Sharmin Siddiqui are the Shera Chhoy -- the six finalists of Channel i Shera Kontho 2008. This popular talent hunt features two living legends of the country, Sabina Yasmin and Runa Laila together for the first time as judges.
The Daily Star talked to the six finalists on their musical journey, their aspirations and more.
Md. Yusuf Ahmed Khan: After his rejection from the first instalment of Closeup 1, he gave up singing and took a vow to never appear again in any contest.
“A very close friend of mine registered me for Shera Kontho. I was unaware of this and only got to know when my audition date approached," Yousuf continued.
“I kept it a secret from everyone, even from my parents. On the night when the results for the Dhaka division were to be announced, my father got nervous when he realised that I was missing from home at 11:30 pm. It was then that they found out where I was -- at the Channel i office. I had topped in the Dhaka division”
After having reached this far, Yousuf is confident about winning the contest.
Md. Mahmudul Haque Imran: Shera Kontho is more than just a contest for Imran. A student of Engineering University School & College, Imran was an HSC examinee this year. He didn't appear in the exams so that he could participate in the contest.
Imran says, “My aim is to become a successful music composer. I aspire to have a career in music.”
About choosing the contest over his HSC exams, Imran said, “I really didn't want to miss the exams but it was already too late. I scored GPA 5 in SSC; I certainly didn't welcome a break in my studies. However, because of the competition, my studies were disrupted and I couldn't prepare properly.” Nevertheless, Imran hopes to study seriously next year and score GPA 5 in HSC.
Zanita Ahmed Zhilik: Zhilik is a student of class IX at Mohammadpur Preparatory High School. One of the youngest contestants in Shera Kontho, Zhilik is optimistic about winning the competition.
“I am grateful for the support of my teachers. I couldn't attend my classes regularly and missed my exams. My teachers have assured me that they would make special arrangements for me -- allowing me to take the exams after the contest so that I don't lag behind,” she said.
Champa Banik: Champa is the most experienced of the contestants. She is an enlisted artiste in BTV and also a trainer at Chhayanat.
Champa gives all the credit to her family. "Without my family I would have never been where I am today,” said Champa.
“I miss my daughter Shreyoti the most, she is only two-and-a-half years old," she said.
Md. Animul Islam Romel: Romel was supposed to be at the HSC exams, but instead he is at the Shera Chhoy of Shera Kontho. Like Imran, Romel also had to choose between HSC exams and the talent hunt.
“Making the choice was very hard. However, this is the biggest opportunity of my life; besides I will be able to attend exams next year but I won't get a second chance in Shera Kontho,” said Romel.
Sharmin Siddiqui: Probably the youngest participant in the contest, Sharmin is a student of class nine. She is from Madaripur and studies at Donovan Govt. Girls High School.
“When I first saw the posters of Shera Kontho, I went to my uncle and asked if I could go for an audition.”
“The thing that caught my eyes wasn't the colourful posters but the pictures of Sabina Yasmin and Runa Laila, the two main judges of the contest. For an aspiring singer to have both as judges, is like a dream come true,” said an excited Sharmin.
Channel i Shera Kontho is aired on Fridays and Tuesdays at 7:50 pm. The grand finale of the contest will be held on July 29.