Stories Behind the First Nepal Idol
By Abish Shakya
“In the history of television in Nepal, two revolutions have eventuated: first being the terrestrial telecast of Nepal Television, and second being the start of Nepal Idol.” —Biplav Pratik, a poet.
While most Nepalis were glued on foreign reality TV shows with no expectation of watching something grand in Nepali television channels, AP1 Television brought Nepal Idol, Nepal’s edition of international Pop Idol franchise. Produced under the format created by Simon Fuller and owned by Fremantle Media & 19TV Ltd, Nepal Idol delivered a total of 38 episodes that possessed the quality of global standards, and in six months on the spin, the much-needed entertainment reality show left everyone awestruck.
Today, Nepal the Grand Finale of Nepal Idol is being held at Asian Two Amphitheatre, Grand Mall, Sanaya in Doha, Qatar. Motions of celebrations are at its height now, and with this post, we are rejoicing to share behind-the-scene stories that had occurred in the making of Nepal’s first Nepal Idol.
The behind-the-scene stories were obtained during series of interviews held with Senior Producer at AP1 TV and Director of Nepal Idol Laxman Paudyal, and Director of Operation AP1 TV and Project Head of Nepal Idol Suresh Paudel.
20 interesting stories behind the screen of Nepal Idol
- A crew of over 100 people was deployed in every city where the Idol team went to hold an audition. Nepal Idol paid Rs 50,000 per day only for catering.
- Auditions used to take place for an entire day. With the capture and editing of 10 to 12 hour-long footages, the production team used to produce 45-minute long episode. Sometimes, auditions from two cities were run in a single episode.
- Though it was recommended to finish the audition rounds within 45 days, Nepal Idol team were compelled to finish it within 23 days due to limited resources.
- Thankfully, nothing had interrupted the audition phase: neither natural calamity nor Nepal bandha; not even puncture of a tyre.
- In Kathmandu audition that took place at DAV School, Dhobighat, Jawalakhel, there were 3,000 applicants who waited for 12 hours prior to the beginning of the audition. Interested participants had started waiting in line from 1 am, and when the gate opened at 7 am, they ushered in and the crowd went out of control. Many individuals sustained injuries and required medical assistance before the audition started at 1 pm.
- The total estimated number of applicants in Nepal Idol is around 15,000.
- A candidate in Chitwan had threatened to commit suicide if she was not selected in the audition round. Nepal Idol team invested quite some time to convince her. Despite this, she auditioned in Kathmandu as well. As she was not selected in the audition held in Kathmandu too, she accused Nepal Idol team of taking her ‘married status’ as a reason for not selecting her.
- Another candidate warned that upon his failure to advance ahead of the audition, his father would commit suicide. The team selected him in the first round, but he could not advance past the other round.
Rest of 12 stories can be found in our Sept- Oct 2017 Issue of WAVE
Close Catch with the Lead Makers
- What prompted you to bring Nepal Idol?
Suresh Paudel: In a research, we discovered the Idol franchise to be the second-most watched show after football. Bringing the Idol franchise was a brilliant idea, but a daunting one as well. We knew we had limited resources and manpower; but despite this, we had wished to give it a try.
- How did you convince FremantleMedia on your capability of taking the franchise?
SP: We have had an experienced team. For instance, director Laxman Paudyal holds years of experience working in program production in Mumbai. So, we had shared the details of our equipment and resumes of our team with FremantleMedia. Later, FremantleMedia asked us to do more research; so, we travelled in various cities of Nepal and searched for musical schools, singers, venues, weather conditions and other important information. Representatives from FremantleMedia also come to Nepal and held series of workshops. After many processes, they finally considered us capable to produce a show of international standard, though there was much we had to learn.
- Did you go to an actual Idol show to figure out how it really works?
SP: We went to Filmistan Studio, Mumbai, to check on Indian Idol Junior, and we were shocked to see the preparation behind the scene. The studio was grand, the stage had countless spotlights, and there were plenty of tailoring and makeup stalls of top brands. We panicked when we got there.
- Maybe you thought it was too hot to handle seeing what was going on.
Laxman Paudyal: The Idol franchise has been aired in more than 50 countries, and it has been successful in every one of them. The studio in India was one of the biggest around the world, but we were advised that a studio does not have to be as grand as the one we had visited. Satish Datt, director of Indian Idol and senior creative director at FremantleMedia, believed that we could do it. Besides, Ron Castro, Senior Vice President- Brand Licensing and Digital (South Asia) of FremantleMedia, remained really supportive when it came to the execution.
Rest of the content can be found in our Sept- Oct 2017 Issue of WAVE
Click the following links to know about your the top three contestants of Nepal Idol