NEW DELHI — Three years after Fremantle Media’s “Pop Idol” first bowed in the U.K. and began cloning its phenomenal success around the world, the reality star search has finally turned up in India.
The first episode of “Indian Idol” screened Oct. 28 on satellite channel Sony Entertainment Television boasting a typically Indian flavor. Banana sellers and street sweepers performed alongside trendy fashion designers.
Contestants sang in Hindi as the three judges — one of whom, director/composer Anu Malik, is India’s version of “Mr. Nasty” judge Simon Cowell — took turns ripping apart their efforts.
Indian viewers are familiar with the “Idol” format after “American Idol” aired on Rupert Murdoch’s Star World channel earlier this year.
The “Indian Idol,” to be selected by public votes, will win a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment and a 10 million rupee ($220,000) contract with Sony Entertainment Television. The show will run over 33 episodes until the winner is named in February.