x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dream come true for duo who win labour camp talent contest

Mohsin Khan, 24, and Mukesk Manilal, 35, of ETA Group, were named the winners of the talent competition, the finals of which were held at Al Nasr Leisureland in Dubai.

Mohsin Khan receives a hug from a colleague after he and teammate Mukesh Manilal, far right, won the contest.
Mohsin Khan receives a hug from a colleague after he and teammate Mukesh Manilal, far right, won the contest.

DUBAI // With thousands of colleagues cheering them on, two labourers ended the Camp Ka Champ singing contest on a high note: they were declared champions. Mohsin Khan, 24, and Mukesk Manilal, 35, of ETA Group, were named the winners of the talent competition, the finals of which were held at Al Nasr Leisureland in Dubai. The men competed against 24 other semifinalists before being crowned by a panel of judges and the votes of the crowd.

"This is a dream come true. I am quite popular among my colleagues now. If God is willing, I will participate in this contest again," Mr Khan said. Camp Ka Champ (Champ of the Camp) is based on the Indian musical game antakshari, often played at weddings and other celebrations. As well as singing, teams must complete other tasks, such as starting a song with the last letter of the lyrics from the previous song. They also have to identify Bollywood actors and sing music from their films or recognise dance clips and sing the songs used in them.

Each team has two players who work for the same company. The contest started in June and involved several rounds of auditions at labour camps in Jebel Ali, Al Quoz and Sonapur. Elimination rounds were held in the camps and the qualifiers were sent to Thursday night's championship. "I never sang before this but was encouraged by my company and friends to participate. I kept singing all my favourite songs that I miss from India. Finally, I made it. Now I feel proud," said Mr Manilal, who has been working in Dubai for more than five years.

The two winners walked away with cash vouchers worth Dh1,500, television sets and other gifts. The first runner-up was given Dh1,000 and the second runner up won Dh500. All participants were given Dh100 and gift vouchers. pmenon@thenational.ae