Sourabhee Debbarma: I feel like Cinderella
This 22-year-old dynamite has been setting the stage on fire in past few months during her Indian Idol-4 journey. Petite, bubbly and glamorous, Sourabhee Debbarma wrote a new chapter in the history of this singing reality show, as she became the first female Indian Idol.
Despite coming from a non-musical background, the girl didn’t give up her dreams and kept going. Having won the Indian Idol title, Sourabhee is now trying to cope with life in the arclights.
We caught up with the pretty lass, as she opens up about the Indian Idol journey, her dreams, family, passion for music and more…
On Women’s day, what’s your message to women out there?
Dream like me. I am a big dreamer and so far I have achieved something, if not everything, from what I wanted in life. Be confident in whatever you do, about whatever you have in you that makes you feel happy and good. Don’t keep your talent locked inside a room. Go out, explore yourself and let people know you’re the new-age woman, who is no less than others.
Knowing that Indian Idol has had three male winners in the past, how was it when you heard your name as the first female winner?
I was very confused when I saw my picture in the frame and wondered if it is for the eliminated contestant or the winner. So when my name was finally announced as the next Indian Idol, I was quite shocked!
Didn’t you expect the win?
I didn’t expect it at all, in fact, I was quite scared before the finale and on the actual day itself. The reason for this was that whenever we expected someone to win; he/she never made it to the title. While all the judges, contestants and even the public expected me to win, I really didn’t have any expectations. When I participated initially, I wasn’t even sure that I would clear the auditions and each time I cleared a round, I would feel surprised and scared that of being eliminated the next time.
Is becoming the first female winner on this reality show make your win all the more special?
Yes, it feels great to be the female Indian Idol, though this puts a lot of responsibilities and pressure on me. Audiences certainly expect something extra from me and that’s the reason they have voted for a girl. I have to prove it to them and meet their expectations. I believe winning is easy but to retain that position is the toughest part.
Since you’ve now broken the notion that only men can make it big in a reality show, how does it feel? Whom do you thank the most for this win?
This victory has brought so many expectations from my state also, as people expect me to make this culture more popular. I of course thank my parents for this win though they never supported my desire to pursue music as a child. They always wanted me to complete my graduation first and said I could do whatever I wanted once I finished my studies. After college, my father himself registered my name for Indian Idol, as he wanted me to participate.
If not Indian Idol, what other medium you would have tried to showcase your talent?
As a child, I always wanted to be a famous playback singer. But, at that time, we didn’t have any reality shows or a platform to show our talent. It was only star kids or those with godfathers who made it big, the aam junta never got a chance. But Indian Idol came as a great opportunity to showcase our talent. Also, I always thought that all this drama, crying, fights among judges, etc was cooked up but having participated in the show, I know it’s all for real.
What’s the one thing that sets you apart from others? And something which you discovered after participating in Indian Idol?
Firstly, I have got a different talent and an unusual personality. Secondly, when I compare myself with my co-contestants, I know all of us can sing but what sets me apart is the fact that I can dance, interact with judges, with the audiences through the medium of camera.
As for something that I discovered — I didn’t know that I could be a good performer. My plan was to reach the top 14 through my singing. Later, I asked myself what extra I could offer the public and judges, since all my co-contestants were so good and came from trained musical backgrounds. It was then I decided to perform and dance while singing.
Share something about the rapport you shared with the Indian Idol judges.
My diction was always a problem. Javedji would always make it a point to remark about my Hindi speaking skills. As for Annu Mallek, I always wondered how someone could be so rude. But, when I met him after the Indian Idol, I got to know him better and understand why he has to be a little harsh on the contestants. He’s the one who told me on winning that ‘now that you’ve won and got fame, remember not to leave the simplicity that has brought you here’.
After Prashant Tamang (winner) and Amit Paul (runner up) last year, you’re the second consecutive winner from a North East state. Does it make you feel extra proud?
I belong to Agartala (Tripura) and it feels great that talent from North-Eastern states is getting due recognition and exposure. People there have no platform to showcase their ability. People from the North East are not trained, they are born talented. So if we can perform so well without any professional training, we can do wonders once we learn.
Now that you’re finally a star, how do you intend to handle the fame?
It’s tough to handle so much fame. To me, it’s like a Cinderella story where I’ve got something I never expected. It’s a fairy tale moment, as before coming here I was nobody but now the whole world knows me. As a child, I always wanted to be a great singer. I was the naughtiest one in my family. I would jump off the walls to attend shows or rehearsals. I used to ask god why he had given me talent if I can’t use it. So, I will ensure that I don’t lose that real person inside me.
Having won the title, do you notice some changes in your personality?
Yes, I am a changed person now. I knew I could sing but didn’t know that I could sing so well. Also, when I met all those highly trained co-contestants, I started losing on my confidence. But I think my versatility, attempt to try different songs and performance helped me build that confidence.
So, what’s next on the agenda?
This is not the end but just the beginning of my life in this industry. I know it’s going to be even tougher and I need to put in all my hard work. It’s hard to survive in this industry but my main motive is to get the opportunity for playback singing for which I’ll give my 100 percent. Right now, I am busy with my debut album ‘Meharban’ that shall come out soon. There’s nothing really in terms of offers. Let’s hope for the best to happen!