Should AR Rahman judge Indian Idol 6?

If Sony officials have their way, Indian Idol 6 is going to be bigger than ever. The channel guys are sparing no effort in bringing AR Rahman on board as a judge on the show. Don’t fret, that doesn’t mean Anu Malik or Salim Suleiman will bow out. There is enough space for three music directors on the judges panel, with the pretty Sunidhi Chauhan joining them.

We can understand why the channelwallahs are desperate to get Rahman to agree. He will definitely bring some more credibility to a show which has until now failed to launch the careers of any of their winners. Rahman is known for discovering several talented singers, and with his support, the Idol can get a whole new career. This will, in turn, add credibility to the show. Rahman is also loved and respected by the public in a way very few musicians are and his presence will definitely increase the show’s ratings.

Yet, what will happen to that respect if he becomes a part of a reality show? It might enhance the show’s credibility but at the same time, make a dent in the image his fans have of him. Indian Idol is not a show about serious music. It is just another reality show which offers celebrity guests a platform to promote their films, has non-singers like Sanjay Dutt as celeb judges and has contestants singing Bollywood songs. Folk music, classical music and other more ‘pure’ forms of music are not given any prominence. While American Idol winners have become part of Hollywood, Indian Idol winners have failed to make their mark. While Rahman is, all said and done, a Bollywood music director, this show is not the kind you tend to associate him with. That’s one reason we are glad he is yet to say yes.

True, Indian Idol 6 is trying to revamp its image, by airing promos that feature only the voice of the contestants, and not their videos. In this season of the show, the focus has shifted from contestants being ‘complete performers’ to just being singers. It’s a good start but we doubt it will be enough to raise the show to a level that will match the stature of Rahman. What do you think?