Home ART & CULTURE No Takers for Ananya’s Middle-class Story

No Takers for Ananya’s Middle-class Story


By Ashish Gadnayak*

When Odia girl Ananya Sritam Nanda lifted the ‘Indian Idol Junior’ trophy last Sunday, everyone in Odisha was happy. But these celebrations are nothing in comparison with what we had witnessed when another Odia young man Ruturaj Mohanty won the ‘India’s Raw Star’ crown a few months ago.

ananya pic

Why this difference? I have followed both the events/news closely. So I think I know the reason.

Ruturaj Mohanty got Rs 50 lakh as prize money, where as Ananya got Rs 25 lakh. But this is not the real reason.

The real reason is the amount of ‘drama’ – real or fictional – involved in the two events.

In saying this, I don’t want to take anything away from what Ruturaj has achieved or question his ability. But I of the view that people followed his story with great interest and passion because a lot of melodrama was involved with that. He ran away from home and his poverty-stricken parents to fulfil his dream: to be a singer. He slept on the Mumbai footpath, begged for food. He was ready to make every sacrifice that came between him and his dream. He was mad after his dream.

Throughout that Raw Star season, Ruturaj showed that madness everyday – in his singing, dress, behaviour, mannerism and his attitude.

I am not saying he was playacting to get noticed or those sentiments were not real. Those were real. And that caught our attention. It attracted us more than his singing ability. Everybody was discussing how he behaved, how he talked, how he dressed, how he wept and how he laughed. Everybody was discussing his background: how his parental hut in that remote village that has no road looked; how he ran away to Mumbai and how he slept on the footpath in empty stomach. Rarely did anybody discuss how he sang.

A song has no story. And most importantly, most of us don’t know A B C of music!

On the other hand, Ananya came from a typical middle-middle class family. This 14-year old girl does not have any interesting story to tell or reveal. She continues to dream big as a singer while being cautious about her studies as she knows that she has to get a job someday and that she cannot gamble with that. Her middle class upbringing has taught her to think so. Ananya never ran away from home to chase her dream, probably has never even thought about that. When her father was transferred to another city, her chronically-ill mother used to hire an auto-rickshaw and take her to her Guru’s place situated some 30 kms away, wait there and take her back in the evening. Like all middle-middle class mothers, she never thought that she was making a sacrifice. There is no Bollywood masala ingredient in her story. That is the reason we did not take much interest in her. Even on the ‘Indian Idol Junior’ stage, there were no break-outs in laughter or tears, no overt shows of euphoria or exhilaration or jubilation. There was no hair-pulling or chest-thumping. No jubilant knee slide on the floor or fist pumps.

In short, there was no masala – real or fictional.

We have grown up on an ample diet of Bollywood masala. We still feast on sas-bahu masala on the television. Bollywood and television love and thrive on rags to riches stories. Anything outside this does not appear interesting to us.

Like other Odias, I am very proud of Ruturaj, but let me say this too: I feel, we have become insensible these days. Only ‘Raw’ things like poverty, sex, religion, fanaticism, murder, war, Maoism and terrorism can interest us. We have lost our taste for finer and simpler things.

And I think, that’s too bad a thing – a very dangerous thing.

ashish gadnayak

*Ashish Gadnayak works as a chief sub-editor with Odia daily SAMBAD. In his spare time, he writes short stories.



  1. Bro it seems u don’t have music knowledge at all ..Secondly ur comment is showing ur cheap mentality. 3rd she is a kid …and if u could have watched the most trp rated shows u would have known what was happened to another kid in sa re GA ma pa ..where she deserved a position in top 3 ..but due to some cheap mentality of judges she had to remain sixth ..there is no comparison in between rituraaj and ananya …rituraaj is well trained at a renounced guru ..but not ananya both are pride of odisha …and if u take pride in being an ODIA don’t spread this sort of nonsense in Google ..It valuates entire state

  2. Requesting all odias of odisha in Ap we are delighted for the kid how shameless that u re staying in odisha and spreading nonsense

  3. Very well written. Excellent arguments. But this trend is not limited to the showbiz alone. In other fields also, even in a relationship, this ‘Dramabazi’ attracts more eyeballs.

  4. Ruturaaj (not- Ritiraaj) is well trained at a renounced guru ! Tribikram Pati, can you tell me who is his Guru ? I am interested to know. please help !

  5. Great observation. Really thought provoking.
    Being an proud Odia, I am very very happy for both Ruturaj Mohanty and Ananya Nanda. They deserve what they have got. Time will tell what they can do with the recognition and fame they have achieved. That will separate the real talent from the rest.
    But my personal point of view is, all the tv reality shows and their participants in order to draw audience and votes, exploit the sentiments of various communities, classes and sections; thereby undermining national integrity.
    Laws should be enforced to ensure judgment based on merit rather than on public votes.

  6. This kind of story shows the cheap mentality of the author. Both the singers are the pride of Odisha. Both are well accepted, encouraged and also voted by lots of Odias. It is too shame that the author could not find a better story instead of comparing two odia pride, pulling the leg, creating a difference in between? Plz stop this nonsense story.

    • Dear Mr. Ramesh,

      What excatly do you mean by ‘stop this nonsense story’? Do you mean we should withdraw the story? If that is what you mean, we are sorry. As a visitor, you have right to have an opinion on an article – and also its author – and to express that opinion. We would respect that opinion, no matter how unpalatable that is. But no visitor, including you, has the right to decide what we should or should not carry on our pages. You may have found it ‘nonsense’ reflecting a ‘cheap mentality’. But there are other visitors who find the article well argued, reflecting keen observation and insight.The fact that we are publishing your view proves that we don’t muzzle opinion even when it is not to our liking. Likewise, you should also learn to respect other points of views.

  7. I had read the article with much interest. I am reading the comments/arguments with more interest. What i find here is, most of the reader are missing the point the author has tried to put forward. For God sake, it is not a Ruturaj v/s Ananya debate. It is, as I find, an investigation into the way common people behave and things attract them. It is not an anti-Ruturaj campaign. Both the talents deserve what they have got. We are proud of both of them. Ruturaj was true to his emotions, so was Ananya. But why did the former’s story catch our attention more- that was the point and that was the question. Why does the same thing happen to us in other fields of our lives – that is the point and that is the question.
    Again I must say, it’s a thought provoking article.

  8. Sensible reply by the Editorial Desk.
    I do not find anything nonsense in this article; even if i do, I must respect the writer’s right to say his point of view.
    My opinion in this regard is we should learn how to debate sensibly- which we are yet to learn. In a democracy everyone has right to say what he thinks. If we think we represent the face of ODISHA to the out side world, lets not indulge in any type of ‘cheap’ shouting.Lets show that we are not a bunch of half boiled sycophants. Lets show the world that we are a civilized race. Lets understand first and then speak. Lets brush up our IQ before going for any kind of debate. Lets show our better side to the world. Lets not do something which will prove our ignorance.

  9. As an ounce of hue and cry has started over Ashish Gadnayak’s piece on Ananya and Ruturaj, I couldn’t help writing my reactions.

    When I am going through Ashish’s stuff, I am reminded of two other prodigies of Odisha; Budhia Singh and Dillip Rana. A decade back, Budhia was in the limelight for his extraordinary running ability. When Budhia was at his peak of popularity, Dillip from Pipili parachuted to the marathon affairs. Unlike Budhia, he has no story to tell. Unlike Budhia, his coach was not in criminal-political turmoil. And, within a few months, Budhia outnumbered many a Dilip in Odisha.

    The curious case of Budhia in post-Biranchi time is another story. But just think. Dilip was unfortunate to have the opportunity, the media coverage, and the sympathy Budhia bagged. I am not advocating Dilip either. I am not under-judging Budhia as well. But, how many Dillips were there unnoticed, who knows?

    Like many a Dillips, Ananya also has no story to tell. I wonder how she bagged the crown in an Indian reality show without making audience or jury members cry.

    Ruturaj is a talented singer, no doubt. But let’s not judge him for his eye-watering stories.

    Nice observation, Ashish Bhai.

  10. Other 3 kids in the final 4 were more talented but lost out because of the audience vote. whole of ODisha was glued where it was not true for Kerala or Tamil nadu kids. Ananya is talented but does not deserve 1st place.

  11. Ashis Gadnayak is a another pseudo-intellectual in gossip market,who invents stories based on fancy theories of middle class. This reckless self-seeking middle class is more dangerous than contemporary terrorism. Lets stop valorizing individual success-be it ruturaj or ananya.

  12. Prasanna babu, which class do you belong to yourself ?
    Lower ? I dont think so. Can they afford internet ? I hope not.
    Higher class ? You are not.
    So you also are one of those whom you call ”reckless self-seeking” ”dangerous than contemporary terrorism” middle-class men !!

  13. Happy for the article. Happier for the debate. We have really grown up. Agree with the observations of the author.

  14. I am a late raiser. But can only say that the merit of a story/article is judged on the amount of readers response and discussion it generates. This story has achieved more than that. I wish Asish Gadnayak all the best.

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