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By the time he auditioned for Indian Idol Season 6 last year, Amritsar-based Vipul Mehta had become a veteran when it came to reality shows. In 2004, he made it to Saregamapa (Children's Special) only to lose out in the finals; in 2006 he reached the top 14 of Voice of India Season 1 and returned on Voice of India Season 2 in 2008 only to be eliminated from the top 4. After a self-imposed break of four years, which he used to work harder on his music and education, Mehta auditioned for Indian Idol Season 6. Today, he admits that had he not clinched the title this time, he would have been "heart-broken". "I had begun to face criticism from my friends and relatives, who insisted that this was not meant to be," says Mehta, who despite all the criticism, proceeded to chase his ultimate dream of becoming a playback singer. "I am a firm believer in the fact that only reality shows give a platform and shortcut to instant name, fame and Bollywood," says Mehta, who is quick to add, "Had I bagged the title in 2008, at the age of 18, I would not have valued it. It has come to me at the right time and Indian Idol has made a man out of me," he admits.
The singer is now out with his first solo album titled Hello Namaste Sat Sri Akal and a couple of songs with music composers Annu Malik and Salim-Suleiman. With revamped versions of timeless classics such as Har kisi ko nahi milta and Dil kya kare jab kisi ko, the album showcases Mehta's strengths — consistency and variety. And of course, theatrics. A huge Sunny Deol fan, he says his love for mimicry makes him a good performer. "Also, the fact that I had been on so many reality shows worked to my advantage. I was comfortable being on stage," he says. But once he got too comfortable, his mentor on the show, Anand Sharma helped him face the reality so that he wouldn't get overconfident.
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