The winners of Zee Antakshari's musical talent show, Ruchi Mathur and Rahul Datta, talk about singing and how it felt to win .

Zee Antakshari Middle East-Pakistan Masti 2007-08 has just found two local musical stars, Ruchi Mathur and Rahul Datta, who have just won the finals of the musical talent show.

Mathur and Datta, both Dubai residents, did not know each other until they were randomly selected for this show. They overcame many hurdles to win India's most popular musical game show in the course of 13 episodes that were shot in the UAE.

After 12 years of phenomenal success in India and abroad, Zee Antakshari's energy-packed show has been winning music lovers over in the Middle East and Pakistan for the last two years.


The weekly, one-hour musical game show is centred around traditional song-based games that are popular among South Asians across the globe. The game requires participants to sing songs that start with the alphabet letter with which the previous song ends.

The Middle East version of this show gave Mathur and Datta an opportunity of a lifetime to, not only participate in it, but also win it.

Both of them have lived for barely a year in Dubai and already it has proved lucky for them.

Mathur, a 37-year-old housewife and mother of two, hails from the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh while Dutta, a 27-year-old media planner, is from Bihar, also in North India.

tabloid! caught up with them to find out about their experience and what it was like to become local television stars.

How did you happen to participate in Zee Antakshari Middle East-Pakistan Masti?

Mathur: I saw the promo on television and participated by sending an SMS. I got a call and auditioned for it. I went for the fun of it and managed to be on the show.

Datta: I recall reading about the show in Gulf News and I was also aware that the competition was due to take place in the UAE shortly. Being a music lover I went for the audition and by luck, or whatever, I got onto the show.

Did you ever imagine you would end up winning?

Mathur: No, never did I think of winning the show. Right from the first episode I wanted to enjoy my participation irrespective of the end results. By comparison Rahul was more determined to win.

Datta: Well, I always knew that I wanted to give my best shot since even though we came for fun, I wanted to reach a logical conclusion to our efforts. I knew that in case I didn't win, at least I should have the satisfaction of giving my best. Finally I ended up winning.

Considering you didn't know each other prior to the show, how did you gel together?

Mathur: Since we were teamed randomly, I knew I had to sort out any differences we might have initially. Luckily, I was accustomed to old songs while Rahul knew more of the latest songs. So it was okay initially and it got better as the show went on.

Datta: I didn't know Ruchi before the show, but the ice was broken by the Zee team on the first day when they clubbed us together. We complemented each other. Though we didn't do well initially, I was determined to do so in later rounds. At first I felt tense while Ruchi was comparatively calmer. So we formed a good team.

Have you trained in music or had prior experience in musical shows?

Mathur: I have a passion for singing and love listening to old songs. Whatever I can sing is mainly due to my interest in old melodies.

Datta: I love music and have been passionate about it since I was 8 years old. I participated in musical competitions, especially at school and college festivals, and that's how I developed an interest in music.

Who supported you throughout the show?

Mathur: I have to give full credit to my husband, my daughter, who is in tenth grade, and my son, who is in third grade. They were right behind me during the entire show. In fact, I almost wanted to give up as auditions take a long time with shooting stretching late into the night. But my daughter convinced me to go for it. I have to also thank the entire cast and crew of Zee Antakshari who were so supportive. I am still in touch with them.

Datta: I don't have a family in Dubai, but I believe my parents' blessing was with me all the time. I had few office friends who turned up to support me, but it was the other eliminated participants who robustly cheered me till the finals that lifted my spirits. Moreover there was so much love from the Zee TV team and I would like to thank them for their encouragement.

So what's next after winning the show?

Mathur: I am back to being a housewife after enjoying a memorable event in my life.

Datta: It has yet to sink in that I have participated and won the Zee Antakshari, which is easily the Middle East's most popular Indian musical show.