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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Thousands of dirhams up for grabs as Dubai television company sets out to find hidden talent in labour camps

From singing and dancing to comedy routines, producers seek to find the best performers among 65,000 in 60 accommodation camps

Colors TV's new show follows the popularity of the unrelated contest Champ Ka Camp, pictured here in 2015. Satish Kumar / The National
Colors TV's new show follows the popularity of the unrelated contest Champ Ka Camp, pictured here in 2015. Satish Kumar / The National

Television producers will seek to find hidden talent among some of Dubai's hardest working labourers.

Potential candidates will be invited to show off their singing, dancing and comedy talent for a contest on June 22.

Talent hunters for Colors TV's ‘Colors Ke Sartaj’ will be visiting 60 labour camps to look for the best performer among about 65,000 blue collar workers.

Those that manage to impress producers will run for auditions on June 15-16.

Sixteen finalists will then battle it out for a Dh10,000 cash prize in the grand finale. The first runner up will receive a Dh5,000 prize, and the second runner up will receive Dh2,000.

“They are the people who do the hard work; they build our homes… and they work in the hardest and harshest conditions, so a lot of people are doing things to make their lives easier," said Sachin Gokhale, a director at IndiaCast, the parent company of Colors TV.

“So we thought why not give them something a little bit different?

"Given that we are an entertainment channel, why don’t we use that to create something not that just entertains these labourers but also gives them a platform where they can exhibit their talents.”

Clips will be broadcast on YouTube and social media and the company is looking at televising the series in the future if it proves popular.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 17, 2018. Sachin Gokhale, Business Head- Middle East & Africa and Head of Business Operations and Corporate Strategy for International Business at IndiaCast Media Distribution. (Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National) Reporter: Haneen Dajani Section: NA
Sachin Gokhale from production company IndiaCast. Reem Mohammed / The National

The talent spotters are looking for all types of ability. In addition to singing and dancing, “it could be mimicry, stand-up comedy, juggling, magic tricks...” Mr Gokhale said.

The word ‘sartaj’ in the show’s title translates into crown from Hindi and Urdu, “so you can interpret it to mean king or ace; so basically the number one talent.”

He expects at least 1,000 candidates will make it to the auditions on June 15 and 16.

The point of the contest is not just prize money, “it is about bringing laughter and a cheer to their day to day life, and their friends will be there to cheer them so creates this small lively thing," he said.

When the finalists take to the stage, they will be judged by a Bollywood celebrity – whose name has not been revealed yet.

“We will be judging them on a variety of criteria: enthusiasm, energy, how they are ready to give their best, how outgoing and well they interact with the audience.”

And there is a talent specific criteria, which is how well they sang or danced and performed their talent.

In addition to the cash prizes, there will be goody bags distributed to all participants.

The participants will be treated like any contestants participating in a TV entertainment show; they will undergo the required make-up, be backed-up with music, instruments and props.

The grand finale will take place at the Platinum ME Properties Camp in Al Qouz at 7pm on June 22.