The Real Slim Shady

The Real Slim Shady

“We both know it’s true…” the lyrics floated out of Satyam Dasgupta’s trembling lips, transporting the enraptured audience to another world. She scanned the area in front of her. A jam-packed auditorium. The teenager closed her eyes and continued to croon in a full-throated voice, ignoring the wild thumping of her heart. After finishing her piece, she retreated from the dais amidst the growing chants of encore. Her first live performance of her award-winning song at the Music Awards ceremony itself further established her credential as the most talented debutante singer beyond any shade of doubt!

“A musical prodigy!” proclaimed a newspaper headline. “A star is born!” declared another.

“A true heir to my legacy” muttered the doyen of Bollywood* music industry to himself, as Shivsundar Dasgupta stared at the smiling face that gazed back at him from the newspaper. It triggered fond memories of the days when he had discovered the talent. 

The music industry is notoriously fickle, and Shivsundar Dasgupta knew his days were numbered. Having ruled the roost for decades, his supremacy was now being threatened by viral YouTube sensations and contestants on “Indian Idol*”. Yes, he needed a successor. A natural talent honed and nurtured by him that would carry forward the baton. An authentic, powerful voice that would drown out all the auto-tunes. 

“You are crazy. Why do you care that your name must live on after you are gone?” asked a friend.

“One can polish a rough diamond, but a piece of glass can never be converted into gem” sneered his rival. 

It was this jibe that egged him on to prove to the world that he could turn what it thought was a shard of glass, into Kohinoor*. Thus began a nation-wide talent hunt to mine an unpolished diamond, that would help him accomplish transformation of worthless glass into Kohinoor. He didn’t have to wait for long. 

“What’s your name?” he asked the shabbily dressed girl who had walked in with a flyer of his talent hunt in her hand. 

“Laya” answered the teenager shyly, suddenly acutely aware of her poverty in the swanky studio. 

“Can you sing a song for me?”

Laya hesitatingly belted out the latest Bollywood hit, at first nervous but soon singing in gay abandon, unleashing a powerful voice oozing raw emotions. 

That day the girl from the slums of Dharavi landed a contract that catapulted her out of BPL* and the singer-music composer found his successor. 


“We both know it’s …” the prodigy launched into her smash hit number with aplomb thrilling the crowd gathered at the live concert for MTV. 

“We both know it’s …”
“We both know it’s …”
“We both know it’s …”

Perplexed, her entourage of backup singers looked at her. 

Equally nonplussed and uncertain what to do, the prodigy quit pretending to sing and darted off the stage. 

Meanwhile, the wayward hard drive continued to loop the four words incessantly.  
Bollywood – Indian cinema industry 
Indian Idol – Indian, Hindi-language singing competition on one of the TV channels
Kohinoor – one of the largest and most famous cut diamonds in the world
BPL – Below Poverty Line, a measure of poverty level in India

This story is based on the infamous Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal that rocked the world of music in 1989-90, resulting in their Grammy Award for Best New Artist being revoked. 
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