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Suresh Paudel: Nepal Idol Season 5 was powerful and weighty

Suresh Paudel: Nepal Idol Season 5 was powerful and weighty

The fifth season of Nepal Idol, which is produced by and broadcast on AP1 HD TV, concluded recently, with Karan Pariyar of Bardiya winning this year’s contest. Each episode of the international reality television singing competition franchise, has garnered over one million views on YouTube. Pratik Ghimire of ApEx interviewed Suresh Poudel, the show director, about the Idol’s success and its future. Excerpts: 

Nepal Idol Season 5 concluded recently. How was your overall experience this season?

We used the experience and lessons learned from the previous four seasons. We paid attention right from the audition, which we conducted in all seven provinces. To those who missed out the first round of auditions, we held an audition in Kathmandu as well. The talents selected by the show judges were all phenomenal. To elevate their talent we had an experienced, agile, and smart production team. Asif Shah and Rima Bishwokarma were amazing as the show hosts. I believe that season 5 was the most powerful and weighty edition of the show so far. 

We saw the winner of Nepal Idol being congratulated by the prime minister and other senior political leaders. How do you think this recognition will impact the show and its contestants?

This is very exciting, as this is probably the first time that the winners of a television show have been awarded and honored by the prime minister. It has also proved that the presence of Nepal Idol is unique in the crowd of many franchised and non-franchised reality shows, so of course the judges and organizers are naturally happy, and so are the contestants. I think there will be more excitement among the contestants of the next season. If everything goes according to the plan, we could get the prime minister to give away the prize.

How do you see the future of reality shows like Nepal Idol?

The future is determined by three things. Firstly, the way the show evolves over time; secondly, the confidence of the advertising market; and thirdly, the availability of good talent. In this sense, I am confident that the future of Nepal Idol is good. The future of other shows is also bright as they too provide platforms to talented people forum around the country. 

How has the audience response evolved over the seasons?

We are pleased to see the maturity of the audience after reaching the fifth season. They are very much capable of picking out deserving winners from among the group of highly talented and gifted contestants.   

How has Nepal Idol contributed to the careers of past contestants, and do you keep track of their progress?

There is a good presence of singers in the Nepali music scene who came from the Idol background. Yes, the show gives them exposure, but putting in the hard work is up to them.  

There were reports that the finale of Nepal Idol Season 5 was going to be organized abroad. Why didn’t it happen?

There were talks with some parties but the financial deal did not work out. We could not afford to shoot the grand finale abroad. There was also talk about doing the show in a stadium in Kathmandu, but it was not wise to do so during the rainy season. So eventually, it was held at the AP1 studio. 

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you are working on or planning for the future?

Nepal Idol Junior is about to start shortly, then there is the season 6 of the Idol. In AP1, I’m trying to do a documentary version of Tamasoma Jyothirgamaya talk show where we are researching about how to live 100 years. Besides that, I have some outside projects that I have to do. Let’s see.

How do you enter the television industry?

I joined Nepal Television for a children program, but my interest was in documentary making. After 93 episodes of the children program, I was transferred to the documentary section of Nepal Television. My first documentary was about Mustang, titled ‘Nepal: Beyond the Himalayas’. It was made for the SAARC Audio Visual Exchange Program and aired on national television in all SAARC nations. In seven years at Nepal Television, I made almost 45 documentaries, and to this day, my documentaries are regularly shown on the four channels of NTV. 

Then I joined Kantipur TV from its establishment time and made documentaries under the title ‘Bikalpa’. Documentaries have rebroadcast value, so I think these shouldn’t be seen merely as one-time financial means. For example, I made a documentary related to Dharahara in 2007. In 2015, it fell due to an earthquake. After that, Kantipur played that documentary many times, highlighting its rebroadcast value. Now, I am with AP1, mainly focused on Nepal Idol and television operations.