The winner of the first season of the sung reality TV show Indian Idol, an adaptation of the Pop Idol format, in 2004. Abhijeet Sawant is grateful for all the love back then and even now. Looking back, the singer shares that today everyone knows what reality shows are and adds: “But at the time, I lacked advice and I didn’t know how to go about it. It was overwhelming, it was a whole new experience for me that was also scary.
For Sawant, being on the show and winning it also meant that everyone who met him saw his journey through their eyes. “They saw things their way and maybe that’s why they felt more negative. If I look at my journey, I feel that I have a thousand times more love, glory and respect. I feel like a legend because I am the first winner of Indian Idol. You cannot take this lightly. It’s written in history. When my first album came out I was so excited but a musician told me “your song is pretty regular”. It should have been rock or distortion ”. Even today I am asked why singers don’t have more songs playing. I don’t know if it’s asked because it’s a controversial question or maybe they don’t have the answer. I think somewhere there is illiteracy in our audience regarding music, which is why we have not been able to push the music industry to greater heights. But if I look at my career, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. Being relevant in this industry for 15 years is big business. He recently released a song about Ganesh Chaturthi and even shot a music video in Uzbekistan.
The 40-year-old singer’s debut solo album, Aap Kaa Abhijeet Sawant, was released in 2005, followed by other albums Junoon in 2007, Farida in 2013 and Fakira in 2018. He also sang in playback for films such as Aashiq Banaya Aapne (2005). , Chittagong (2012) and Dishoom (2016).
Looking back, he admits that the release of his debut album was higher, “even more than winning Indian Idol.” He always dreamed of being a pop singer and says that every musician wants to sing and share his creation. He shares: “If I had received the right advice, I would have reached greater heights in my career. What happened back then was that in 2008 the pop industry had sort of shrunk. Independent songs ka daur khatam ho gaya tha. Many playback singers are known by their voice rather than their face. In fact, I was popular as a name and brand and people never asked me how many songs I had sung. If the pop industry was booming then, which it is today, maybe more could have been done in my career.
Speaking of the Indian Idol Season 1 experience, he recalls, “The idea of reality shows was so new in 2004 that even those who made it didn’t know what it was. We were watching the UK version with the crew to understand how things were going to go and what was expected of us. Everyone was new. Overseas, reality TV contenders are establishing themselves as singers as artists, but in India we are part of the body of the film. Even today, music has failed to find its place and is too integrated into Bollywood. There wasn’t a lot of positivity in the industry for new artists back then even though the public was cheering you on. There was no welcoming attitude for new children, as we see today.
Does he think he used the opportunities well after winning the show? Sawant exclaims that although he has worked with many popular music directors, even today he feels like a newbie in the industry. “Kehte hain, kabhi unchai itni badh jaati hai ke ghar ke andar jaane ke liye, sar jhukana padta hai. What I feel is that despite having achieved a certain stature in life, there were many factors that were not under my control. Things could have turned out another way. There was a different kind of struggle after winning the show. Somehow my job was not taken seriously. Music composers thought I had already achieved fame and no longer needed songs. Often times we love and support the underdogs. But when they reach the top, we’re not sure he got it all. Understanding these two opposing thoughts was difficult for me. How to deal with people? Today, not only the contestants, but also the audience, are well trained to enjoy reality shows. In fact, I have met a lot of contestants for Indian Idol 1 recently and have realized that even today the struggle is to create something new.
Sawant’s advice to reality TV aspirants is that each individual has their own journey. After a competition there are a lot of ups and downs, “regardless of whether you win or not, but you have to keep moving forward and doing more. Learn from bad experiences and cherish good ones. Kids today can shape their way through social media and channels like Youtube. They can create their own identity and pursue their passion.