Vol. 5 Num 561 Sat. December 24, 2005  

Closeup 1 grand finale
Bangladesh finds "the voice" in Nolok

It was perhaps the biggest event aired live in Bangladesh: Closeup 1 ended with a bang. The nation has given its verdict: Nolok Babu is the victor. His is the voice Bangladesh has been looking for. At Around 10:30 pm when the results were announced, an emotionally moved Nolok was in tears. He received 7,85,391 votes from Bangladeshis living in the country and overseas. The first runner-up Razib received a total of 3,13,946 votes and Beauty, the second runner-up received 3,20,328 votes. The points received from the votes combined with scores by the judges decided the winner.

Nolok received a cheque for Tk 10 lakh from the chairperson of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd, Sanjeev Mehta, keys to a brand new Nissan Sunny from Ehsanul Haque, executive director of Brac Bank and a 42-inch plasma TV from Obaidur Rahman, director of Transcom Electronics.

First runner-up Razib received a cheque for Tk five lakh from ntv and a Philips home theatre system from Transcom. Beauty received a cheque for Tk three lakh from Asiatic and a Philips home theatre system from Transcom.

Apart from the top three contestants Closeup 1 also awarded two participants that demonstrated remarkable valour and determination. Shamapti Roy, a visually impaired contestant whose rendition of Tagore songs charmed the audiences and judges, received the Closeup Confidence Award and a cheque of Tk one lakh. Champa Banik received the Closeup Personality Award and a cheque for Tk 50,000. Champa, a promising artiste went to Rangpur to participate in the auditions for Closeup 1 after she was not selected in the Dhaka auditions. She eventually made it to the top 16 of Closeup 1 but backed off from the contest for the sake of her unborn child, making way for another contestants.

Special attraction of the event was performances by the contestants. Apart from other talented contestants from previous rounds, the "top 10" entertained the guests as well as audiences facing TV screens. Rumi performed Amae kandaley, Nowrin sang Krishnochura laal hoyechhe and Abid rendered a Tagore song Pagla haowar badol diney. Sonya and Mahadi performed a film song Ekhaney dujoney nirojoney, Mehrab sang a popular number of Miles Neela. Rinku delivered a soulful rendition of Eshob dekhi kanaar haat-bazaar. Rashed performed Ami khujechhi tomae mago, a song that stirred a range of emotions in the top 16 round.

Razib sang a patriotic song Shurjodoye tumi shurjasteo tumi, Beauty performed a Lalan song Sharboshadhon shidhdho hoi tar and Nolok rendered a folk song by Bari Siddiqui, Amar gaye joto dukhkho shoy.

The melange of these songs belonging to the diverse genres demonstrated the opulent heritage of Bangla music. At a time when it seemed like our music was losing ground, Closeup 1 took an apt initiative that generated interest in our roots and songs among the young generation and in the process it created a window of opportunity for talented artistes; an opportunity that might have just been an unattainable dream to many otherwise.

Here's hoping the saga continues in coming years.

(L-R) First runner-up Razib, second runner-up Beauty and the winner Nolok pose for the camera