By Usha Wagle Gautam
The Nepalese community is one of the biggest in Qatar. Currently, there are over 450,000 Nepalese expatriates, and more than 150 social organisations. Nepalese artistes are participating in various cultural programmes organised for the community members. There are talent hunts and reality shows that identify aspirants, providing them with platforms to move ahead in their artistic pursuits.
Krishna BC and Anjana Thokar Tamang are two of the talents who were recently chosen as non-resident Nepalese singing star and dancing star respectively during a talent hunt finale organised at Regency Hall recently. Both BC and Tamang had not imagined such a grand success coming their way. Likewise, Madhu Lama and Yogesh Khadka were declared as the first and second runner-ups in singing category, and Mina Magar and Michal Chaudhary as the first and second runner-ups in dancing category of the reality show.
The show was organised by Tamu Cultural Family (TCF), a cultural wing of Tamu Society (TS), in its sixth edition. Over 1,000 people gathered for the finale that started in October last year with 61 contestants, 38 in singing category and rest in dancing. The finale witnessed 10 finalists, in each category, vying for the title.
Winning finalists BC and Tamang bagged cash prizes worth 100,000 and 80,000 Nepali rupees (NRS) respectively. These prizes were sponsored by Nepalese entrepreneurs Prabin Gurung and Uttam Gurung. First and second runner-ups of singing category won prizes worth 50,000 and 25,000 NRS respectively. Those of dancing category won 40,000 and 20,000 NRS.
The programme was chaired by TCF president Rajan Ghale, and community leader Dr Dev Kaji Dangol was the guest of honour. Singer and musician Sanjeev Singh and actress Rishma Gurung -- had come all the way from Kathmandu along with Doha-based folk singer Debika KC, musician-singer Mangal BK, music director Ishwor Ballav Upreti and International Artists’ Forum (IAF) president Bhabindra Tamang formed the jury.
Birendra Shrestha, winner of Non-Resident Nepalese Star 2013, and Kiran Lama, dance director at Nepalese Cultural Family (NCF) were the guest judges of the finale.
Som Thapa Magar, Santosh Lama, Himal Lunga, Raj Kumar Rana, Yogesh Rai, Subash BK and Rubin BC were the other candidates in singing category, and Rohit BC, Indra Gurung, Mohan Thapa, Badri Shrestha, Kamal Sunuwar and Chitra Bahadur Puri in the dancing section.
Winner of the singing category, Krishna BC has been in Qatar only for 10 months. He works in a construction company as a labourer. He sang a song of popular Nepalese singer Shiva Pariyar at the finale. BC hails from Mahottari, a district in eastern plains of Nepal. As a child prodigy, BC started singing-acting since the age of six. He first participated in a singing competition when he was still attending middle school in which he stood out as a winner.
Supported by his family, friends and teachers, he regularly participated in district and zonal level contests where he bagged second and third prizes. According to him, he went to Kathmandu for formal music classes at the behest of his mother. BC did intermediate in music, searched for jobs but found none. After a bout of hopelessness, he opted for Qatar.
Here, he participated in one musical programme organised by Nepalese Cultural Center (NCC) for the first time. Thereafter, he was called to perform in many such programmes, including National Day celebrations. In every round of the reality show, BC remained an outstanding performer. “I have to work here for some more years before taking music seriously as a profession, I need to be financially independent first,” BC says. “I guess my mother is proud for me.” BC still thinks it is hard for him to believe he excelled among equally talented singers to be on top.
First runner-up in singing category Madhu Lama was previously the second runner-up in similar contests organised by Nepalese Cultural Family (NCF) and Rupandehi Social Service Initiative (NSSI). Lama has already released four musical albums, and has been in Qatar for six years working in the front desk of a company. During childhood, Lama drew inspiration from his singer father. His aunt Sita praised his voice and admitted him to a music school in the city of Butwol in 2009. His first album marks one-year completion of his music course. Lama has extensively participated in cultural programmes, including some organised by the Pakistani community in Doha.
Second runner-up Yogesh Khadka hails from remote eastern hilly area of Nepal, and is in Qatar for little more than two years. Khadka has been relentlessly performing since he was a small boy. His family provided him with support. Looking at the senior artistes, he was little discouraged that he would never fulfil his dreams. “But, when I came here, I found my concept was wrong in itself,” Khadka says,” this place provided me with a number of opportunities.” Passionate singer Khadka divides his time into office time and musical practice.
Dancing winner Anjana Thokar Tamang hails from Makawanpur, nearby Kathmandu. She works in a school in Qatar. Since childhood, Tamang was deeply infatuated by the art of dancing. Despite the stigma associated with female dancers in Nepal, Tamang struggled hard to practice and showcase her talent.
First runner-up of dancing category, Mina Magar originally comes from mid-plains of the country. She has been working here for 15 months in a cleaning company. She remembers her teacher telling her that she has a bright future after she performed in junior school.
Though poverty constrained her talent, she bagged first prizes in various competitions at school level. She aspires to step forward professionally in the coming days.
Judge Sanjeev Singh performed three songs during the programme. Performing for the first time in Qatar, Singh said he had not ever imagined that the country hosted such Nepalese talents. He praised the role of Tamu Society for organising such a programme to bring young and hidden talent to the forefront. Singh is a highly popular singer who has performed and composed songs for more than two decades.
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