“Salman Khan rocked the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 with his witty sense of humour and his comments against Himesh Reshammiya. Salman and Lara Dutta were at the show to promote their comic caper Partner, which released worldwide today.”
Salman helped Himesh find a footing in Bollywood before their friendship turned sour. They came face-to-face at Mahalaxmi’s Famous Studio for the first time after their rift, and Salman immediately signaled his intention. He entered to applause and hugged the other judges of the show – Bappi Lahiri, Shekhar, Ismail Durbar – but with Himesh he only shook hands.
When Himesh began to comment on his Rock gharana contestants, Sallu kept interrupting him and passed sarcastic comments. Himesh took it like a man and responded by praising Salman and acknowledging the star’s hand in his success. Salman did not back down and continued to be rude. Himesh then actually pleaded with the star: “Ab to mere baare mein kuchch achcha bolo!”
Salman obliged and muttered a few words of praise. After this, Himesh was wary and spoke only in monosyllables. This did not stop Salman, who observed that Himesh made songs for children while Ismail Darbar made them for musicians.
Salman came to the show with his Partner co-star Lara Dutta, at 8 pm, and stayed till the end of the shoot at midnight. It was his girlfriend Katrina Kaif’s birthday but she was abroad shooting. However Salman didn’t even spare his date. When she spoke in praise of the talent show, Sallu interrupted, and to her horror, said: “Jhooth bol rahi hai! Isne aaj tak programme ka koi episode nahin dekha. Mujhse make-up room mein details pooch rahi thi.”
When contestant Abhijeet Kosambi sang Salman’s hit number, Aaja Soniye from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, and Lara expressed her displeasure about the song selection, Salman said: “Lara ko yeh gaana is-liye pasand nahi hai kyoon ki yeh Priyanka Chopra ka gaana hai.
The first singer to come on stage, Joy, was from the Rock Gharana, who fitting sang a Himesh-compsed song from a Salman film! Himesh asked him to sing Dil keh raha hai from Kyonki. Salman gave him a deep look and then said: “Cap pehen ke kyun ga raha hai?” A defiant Joy did not take it off.
When he finished, the judges thought he was off-key. To this Salman said that he did not sing through his nose so that was fine.
After this came Nirupama, to sing, Aaj main upar from Khamoshi. Noticing her nervousness, Salman came on stage and gave her a hug which left her stunned for a few seconds. She went on to sing well. Salman gave her 7.5 and the comment: “I am giving you saade saat (7 and a half) stars because my saade saati is on and I want to pass it on to you.”
When Lahore’s Mussarat finished his rendition of Tera Naam’s kyun kisi ko wafa ke badle, Salman said that he was a better singer than Himesh and that he needed no mentor. Mussarat was given nine points.
Aneek Dhar came next and rehearsed his song, O-O jaane-jaana dhunde tujhe diwana. Salman asked him if he was really going to sing that song from Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya? When Aneek replied in the affirmative, Salman rushed to the stage, took off Aneek’s cap, threw it towards the judges table, and then took off his jacket and shirt. The short and pudgy contestant was embarrassed as he launched into the song, but put up a good show. A pleased Salman said: “I give you 2 and half points for your body and 5 and half for your singing.”
Faisalabad’s Amaanat before starting his song, requested Salman to become his health guru. Salman replied: “Jab meri acting ki dukaan band ho jaayegi uske baad mein yahi kaam karne wala hoon.”
Next singer Poonam Yadav was nervous and having problems adjusting to the track Tadap Tada from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. After a bit, she started crying. Salman asked her to sing another song but Ismail forced her to perform Tadap Tadap. Poonam told Salman: “Ismailji said,’sing this song so that Salman has tears in his eyes.'”
Salman said:”Don’t worry: I can manage to bring in tears in my eyes. I am good at doing that much acting at least.” She went on to deliver a great performance and happy Sallu gave her nine points. Ismail added his bit here that whenever the song would be played on the sets of HDDCS, Salman would get agitated and say: “Iski maaki ye gaana pahle band karo!”
Ismail said it was because Salman could not bear the pain that the song carried and could identify its words with his own life.
Bappi’s contestant Abhijeet Kosambi sang Aaja soniye from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. None of the judges liked his singing, save for Salman. Then Mauli sang Koi taal se gaya (No Entry). Salman hugged her on stage and gave her nine points.
Salman also suggested Bappi Lahiri to join films as an actor taking a cue from Adnan Sami. He said, “Adnan Sami ne apne andar se ek Bappi Lahiri nikaal diya aur patla hogaya abhi aap bhi kuch karo bappi da”. Bappi could barely smile at this one.
After ascending the stage for a couple of times to hug contestants, Salman decided to liven things up and when Harpreet sang Jeene ke hai char din (Mujhse shaadi karogi), Sallu rushed up and began to dance. It was one of his favourite songs he said, and gave Harpreet 10 points. Then he took away a point, saying that “you should have been in just your towel to sing this one.”
Bikaner’s Raja Hassan sang the high-register “Sune le sathiya” (Old Dus). Salman was so impressed by him that he started with: “Are you mad? Nobody sings so perfectly: You are already a singer, you do not have to be here.”
Hearing this Vishal and Shekhar gave him a standing ovation. Salman observed that Raja must not be phoning his parents in Bikaner but merely going to his verandah and shouting out to them.
“I have a deep connection with Bikaner,” Salman added, referring to his short jail stint in that city.
Finally it was Karachi ‘s Junaid Shaikh’s turn to perform the last song of the evening. He sang Aisa pehli baar hua hai from Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega. Including Salman every single person on the sets joined Junaid on stage to dance to it.
All of Vishal and Shekhar’s contestants got ten marks from all the judges and they proved the best performers of the evening.