Muscat: A doe-eyed Omani teenage girl has charmed the Indian reality television world with her rendition of Hindi movie songs and superb stage performance.
Asma Mohammad Rafi can barely converse in Hindi/Urdu languages but when it comes to rendering songs from Indian films, she is at ease. So much so that she has made her way to the final seven of a musical reality show - Saa Re Ga Ma (musical notes).
"I know it is not my singing that has taken me to this stage," Asma candidly admits in an interview with Gulf News during her break from the hectic shooting schedule in Mumbai. A strike by production personnel had stopped all shooting schedules in Mumbai television industry and that gave Asma a break to come to Muscat.
Asma agrees that her own stage antics and straight remarks have given her an edge over the other contestants when it comes to voting out a contestant. Asma was initially voted out but was brought back by the producers as a 'wild card' entry, since then this Omani teenager has not looked back.
In this reality show, viewers decide whom to vote out via SMS voting and Asma has become the darling of Indian television viewers, with her performance taking Television Rating Points (TRP) of the show to new heights.
After agreeing that her singing was not so great, Asma quickly adds that now she was making an all out effort to stay in the competition and win it. "I want to win this competition for Oman and Omani people," she said. She agrees that unlike most of the contestants on the show, she is not a trained singer. But, "Now I am getting trained and rehearse for over four hours every day," she adds.
"I wasn't that serious in the beginning but advice from the previous winner Raja Hassan changed my attitude. Now I determined to go all the way and Insha'allah win it," said Asma, who has already recorded a song for music director Adesh Srivastva for a Bollywood film titled Surma Mohabbat.
Arabic-speaking Asma's father, Mohammad Rafi, a well-known singer in Oman, has been her biggest inspiration and also her leading support. "When I was small, I used to hear him sing Hindi songs and that is how I developed taste in this music," she said, adding that it was rendering of an Arabic song on mother's day that set her off on the path to musical career.
"My Arabic song on mother brought so many in audiences to tears and that was the first time my father encouraged me to take to singing," says Asma, whose mother divorced her father.