The All-India Idole indienne 2018 Singing Contest came to a glittering conclusion at the historic Amphitheatre of the Fergusson College, Pune, on 1st September, where students from all the 5 Zones of the IATF competed against each other to win the coveted Idole indienne 2018 Trophy and Prize. In the past few weeks, many students of French from all over the country were honing their musical talents, in order to participate in the Idole indienne Contest – (a Triennial Competition of French songs in 2 categories – Below 18 years and above 18 years.) This platform has been provided to them by the IATF (Indian Association of Teachers of French, founded in 1953, at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai), in association with Institut français, India, which encourages students of French to express their passion for singing, while promoting French culture at the same time.
In the West Zone, too, prior to the All India Grande Finale, after several elimination rounds in their respective schools, three singers from each school or college were given the opportunity to exercise their vocal chords at the Mumbai City Finals, on 11th August, which took place at Ecole Intuit.Lab, Prabhadevi. A whopping number of 52 participants from several schools and colleges vyed with each other to gain a place in the next round. The Members of the Jury, consisting of Mrs. Aruni Purwar, Mrs. Sabrina Modak and Ms Patricia Galéa had a tough time selecting a handful of winners. The Mumbai finals were followed a couple of weeks later by the West Zone Semi-Finals, on 25th August, at the prestigious Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Bandra Kurla complex, where contestants from the 4 cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Baroda, competed with each other to get selected for the Grande Finale at Pune, on 1st September.
The Members of the Jury included such luminaries as Dr. Vasumathi Badrinathan, the Head of the Dept of French at the University of Mumbai, and a renowned Carnatic Vocalist, having given shows both in India and abroad. The other Judges included Mrs. Jeanne Merchant, a prominent Western Vocal coach, teaching the nuances of Music to kids from 3 and a half years to 20 years and beyond. The 3rd Member of the Jury was Monsieur Yan Garin, the Assistant Vice President (Operations) at École Intuit.lab, who has a French Baccalauréat of Literature and Arts, with a major in Music.
After much deliberation, 2 winners above 18 and 2 below 18 years were chosen, (which included Mumbai boy, Rishikesh Prabhu from Witty International, Malad). All the other winners were from Pune and participated in the Grande Finale on 1st September at the iconic Fergusson College Amphitheatre, competing with winners from the different IATF Zones from all over India. The Members of the Jury included M. Christophe Legris, the outgoing Attaché for Cooperation in French Language, French Embassy, Mumbai, Mrs. Aban Davar, senior Professor from the Alliance française de Bombay and a trained Singer and Madame Marie Doublier, the Attaché de Coopération pour l’Éducation en Inde. All the Zones were well-represented with students from most of the Zones winning laurels for their Zone. In the below 18 category, Parvathy from South Zone took away the First Prize, with Adaa Bani (the youngest participant) from North Zone coming in 2nd place and Aldine from Central Zone being the 2nd Runner Up.
In the Above 18 category, Ruchika Kulkarni from Pune, West zone came in 2nd place and Roseanne Barretto, from Central Zone was the 2nd Runner Up. But the Winner, who took it all, in the above 18 category, again from West Zone and who stole everyone’s hearts was 20-year old Shivangi Kale from Pune, who won the Contest hands down, with her poise, stage presence and enthralling voice. She sang the powerful Habanera Aria (L’amour est un oiseau rebelle), from the 1875 Opera ‘Carmen’, by French composer, Georges Bizet. Incidentally, she had won the First prize in the West Zone Semi-finals as well. She received not only a Trophy and several other goodies, but also a Free Return ticket to Taipei and an opportunity to represent India, in November 2018 at the Asia Pacific Vision Singing competition in which several francophone countries will participate. In the words of Monserrat Cabal, “When a singer truly feels and experiences what the music is all about, the words will automatically ring true.” Shivangi certainly manages to convey that feeling to all her listeners and we wish her all the best for the forthcoming Contest in Taipei. May she bring glory to both India and the IATF.