Hariyudan Naan - yaar antha naan? At the end of the mega finale which was held in Sheikh Rashid Auditorium in Indian High School in Dubai we found out the answer to this question. Instead of Naan it was actually Naangal as the Judges selected one female and one male singer. Ravishankar and Lakshmi ended up as the joint winners of this one year old show. The first runner up was Sharanya and the Second Runner up was Gopalakrishnan.
Kartik was voted by viewers through SMS and received highest number of votes though the Judges eliminated him after the second round.
The Grand Finale was started at 6.45 p.m. and ended at 11.45 p.m. It was 5 hours of non-stop entertainment and the entire audience was glued to their seats throughout the show. It was a fantastic event and was very well directed and conducted. Hats off to Director of the show Ms.Subhashree Thanikachalam.
Chinmayee took on the role of Vijay Aadhiraj and compered the Grand Finale.
The evening started with a chorus sung by all the Seven Finalists - Niranjan, Ravishankar, Kartik, Gopalakrishnan, Lakshmi, Sharanya and Bhargavi.
Chinmayee then entertained the audience with two great hits Maiya Maiya and Kilimanjaro. Anush gave the male voice support for the Kilimanjaro song. Anush was specially invited by Hariharan to play the keyboard for the finals.
Sharath then rendered a classical malayalam song which was composed and sung by him last year for which he won the Kerala State Award. His singing was simply superb and extraordinary. The Audience gave him a huge round of applause.James Vasanthan said Sharath is a "Asuran" in singing and composing. James could have better described Sharath as the "Chackravarthy" as "Asuran" is always linked to evil.
Hariharan then came on stage to entertain the audience by rending three songs - viz., Nenjukkul peithidum vaanmazhai; Nilavu paattu nilavu paattu and the great Amitabh Hit - Rang Barusae beege chunaruvaali rang barusae. He wished Happy Holi to all the audience (I do not understand why he chose to sing that song and also wish Happy Holi to a Tamil Audience - may be a national integration effort).
The First Round of the Grand Finale was "Performance Round".
Lakshmi chose the song "Who's the Hero who's the hero kaakka vandha vaathiyaaro". She did a splendid job.
Niranjan selected a difficult song "mazhai thuli mazhai thuli mannil sangamam". He handled the song very well.
Bhargavi made a wrong selection and rendered "aiyo pathikichi pathikichi o o penne". This song ensured her elimination from the first round and made the choice for the Judges very easy and simple.
Gopalakrishnan selected "urvasi urvasi take it easy urvasi" and did well.
Sharanya chose the A.R.Rahman hit "konjam nilavu konjam neruppu ondraaga saernthaal enthan degam". She sang exceptionally well.
Ravishankar sang "thathai thathai" from Manmadan. He sang this song with total ease and did a very good job of it.
At the end of the first round the Judges announced the elimination of Bhargavi.
Ranjit came and rendered two songs - "raja raja rocket raja" from Siruthai and the remix "ennoda raasi nalla raasi" from mappillai.
The second round was a medley round wherein the six participants were to sing a few songs (due to time constraints it was kept at 2 - 3 songs instead of 5 songs).
Lakshmi started the round very well with some excellent P.Suseela numbers like "thamizhukku amudendru paer"; "pon ezhil poothathu pudhu vaanil" and "kattodu kuzhal aada aada". These are very soothing melodies of the great P.Suseela and Lakshmi handled the medley exceptionally well.
Kartik was the second to perform with two songs "ennai vittaal yaarum illai kanmaniye unn kai thazhuva" and "chinna chinna kannanukku". I felt he could have chosen some other songs for the medley.
Sharanya chose Ilayaraja hits "edhedho ennam valarthen"; "pani vizhum iravil nanaindhadhu nilavu" and "kalai thendral paadi varum raagam pudhu raagam".
Niranjan chose S.P.B. Hits and sang "aval oru navarasa naadagam"; "mandram vantha thendralukku manjam vara ennam illaiyo" "thaen sindhudhe vaanam" "Idayam oru kovil adhil udhayam oru paadal".
Ravishankar chose Yesudas hits and sang "poo maalai vaangi vandhaal pookkal illaiye"; "uravugal thodarkadai unarvugal sirukadhai" and "unnidam mayangugiren". He did an exceptionally good job and the third song "unnidam mayangugiren" really made the audience spell bound.
Gopalakrishna sang "mazhaiyum neeye veyyilum neeye" from Azhagan and "aen pennendru pirandhai" from Love Today. I felt he could have chosen some other songs.
I was expecting Gopalakrishnan to be eliminated after the second round but to the surprise of several people in the audience Kartik was eliminated by the Judges.
The Third and Final Round was then open for the remaining five singers to render challenging songs.
Lakshmi started the final round with the great all time hit of L.R.Easwari "pattathu raani paarkum paarvai vetrikku thaan ena enna vendum". He sang very well and kept the tempo very well throughout the song.
Niranjan selected the Balamurali Krishna hit song "oru naal podhumaa". He sang exceptionally well and gave a real threat to the other contestants with this number.
Sharanya chose the great all time hit of P.Suseela "Naalai entha velai paarthu odi vaa nilaa". It is a very nice melody of the great legend P.Suseela and Sharanya really sang well.
Gopalakrishnan chose the Hariharan hit number "kaadal theendave - udaya udaya unarugiren". He sang very well but I felt he could have chosen some other song.
Ravishankar then came and sang the great super hit song from Bale Pandiya "neeye unakku endrum nigaraanavan". He handled the song exceptionally well and got the maximum applause from the audience during the song. Once he finished singing the song the audience clapped for almost three minutes non-stop. He was emotionally moved by the applause and standing ovation. I have heard this song being sung in several competitions and programmes but I have never heard anybody sing like Ravishankar with such perfection and ease. It was a fantastic performance.
Hariharan said there is a twist in the story and instead of selecting one winner they have decided to select two. Ravishankar and Lakshmi were chosen as the joint winners of the Hariyudan Naan competition.
The moral of the story is "knowledge of carnatic music and training in classical music is extremely important and essential to become a good singer". Both Ravishankar and Lakshmi have been learining carnatic music and that has helped them a great deal to grasp the tips given by the Judges over the last one year.
I have watched several live shows in my life and this 5 hour show in Dubai for the Grand Finale for Hariyudan Naan will remain as one of the greatest shows seen by me.