Sangeeta Tanwar

MTV and Kurkure go 'desi' with Rock On

Kurkure Desi Beats Rock On with MTV is a reality talent hunt show for a 'desi' band. The auditions for the show will take place in four cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata

MTV is once more gearing up to indulge the audience with what it started out with – music. It is ready to launch a reality talent hunt show, called Kurkure Desi Beats Rock On with MTV.

Rock On will be a hunt for India's 'desi' (indigenous) band. PepsiCo India has also come on board to promote its brand, Kurkure Desi Beats. The show seems to be a perfect brand fit to reach out to the youth and communicate the brand promise of 'No fun without desipann'.

Ashish Patil, general manager and senior vice-president, creative and content, MTV, says, "Music today has become a commodity. Almost everyone in the industry plays what is popular. But MTV's job is to play and do what is going to be popular, so the show Rock On, which will put together a purely 'desi' band."

MTV and Kurkure go 'desi' with Rock On
Patil adds that earlier, too, the channel has taken a lead in creating, supporting and backing talent and work that later became hugely popular. A case in point is the backing of singer Lucky Ali's first album, O Sunoh (with cover song, O Sanam), or providing exposure to Pakistani Rock music.

The channel promises that the new show will be a heady cocktail of music, reality and MTV.

The 13 episode series will have 50-60 musicians drawn across four cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. The contestants will be judged by Kailash Kher (singer), Ram Sampath (music composer) and MTV VJ Nikhil Chinapa. The show will be hosted by Ayushmann Khuranna, winner of the second season of MTV Roadies.

Earlier, Kher has judged the popular musical talent hunt, Indian Idol, on Sony. Speaking to afaqs! on how it will be different this time, he says, "Indian Idol is a platform where the contestants mostly sing cover songs and in such cases, the judges inevitably end up drawing comparisons between the contestant and the singer of the original song.

"However, on Rock On, the contestants will come up with their own compositions, which will provide us with a greater scope to determine the originality of the work and the real, raw talent exhibited by the participants."

The show is not only for singers, rather, it welcomes talents in instrumental music and music composers, too. An individual can showcase his talent by playing instruments such as guitar, bass, drum, sarangi, flute, tabla or even a thali.

Kher adds that the judges will shortlist 60 individuals through on-ground auditions, who will be divided into 10 teams. These 10 teams will fight it out for the title of Desi Rock Band. The reality series will capture the audition process and the face-off between the different teams.

While picking up the talent for Rock On, the three judges will evaluate participants on three parameters – MQ (music quotient), PQ (pagalpan quotient) and DQ (desipann quotient).

Sampath says that he will come down heavily on contestants who are found copying work.

Deepika Warrier, marketing director, PepsiCo India (Frito Lay division), comments, "Kurkure Desi Beats is a product targeted at 18+ individuals. It is a filling product for the youth and has an authentic 'slurpious' taste. It's an asli desi snack for the young generation and similarly, Rock On, too, will be all about the desi elements of music."

The gratification for the winner band comes in the form of an album with India's leading record label, T-Series, a music video with MTV and a state of the art instrument set. The channel head believes that a good product needs to be heard and seen. Lack of distribution and pricing issues often ruin a good product.

For this reason, the channel has roped in T-Series. "As a record label, we will fully extend our brand name and expertise to support the rock album. It is sad that the media feels shy to put its weight behind pop and rock albums. For Rock On, we will draw upon our ties with Indian channels and also bring the benefit of the brands' presence in as many as 24 countries," says Vinod Bhanushali, president, marketing media and publishing, T-Series.

The auditions for the show will be held on July 9, 12, 15 and 19 in Kolkata, Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai respectively. MTV is airing a promo featuring Kurkure Desi Beats brand ambassador, Kareena Kapoor, in which the actor eggs on talented individuals to come forward and be a part of Rock On.

Rock On will go on-air towards the end of July.