Bengali sisters finalists of a German reality show

Bengali sisters finalists of a German reality show

Debarati Mandal, 18, and Nabaneeta Mandal, 14, would be seen dancing in the finals of the "Germany's next Showstar" contest to be broadcasted on Germany's Pro Sieben channel this Thursday.

"The channel invited us for participating as they wanted an Indian performance to be a part of their show. We were confident that we would reach the finals as we were performing with an Indian theme. Everyone here knows Bollywood these days. If they don't know anyone else, they at least know about Shahrukh Khan," Debarati said.

Altogether 585 groups were in competition during the preliminary stage of the talent hunt show which began from May 4. Twenty of them were short listed for the semi-finals and later ten out of them managed to get into the finals.

However, for the sisters, who named their group 'Indian Rhythms', it wasn't just popular Bollywood numbers like 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' and 'Mera Piya Ghar Aaya' that help them won the hearts of the European audiences.

"I think the judges and audience found our Indian costumes to be very exotic for their eyes. We wore either lehengas or saris. We also used handkerchiefs the way Punjabis play with it when they dance," the elder sister, who has just finished her twelfth class exams, said.

Talking about the songs, she said that she consciously picked up songs which represent Indian cinema.

"We didn't take up indi-pop or disco-type songs, as they don't reflect the traditional Indian culture. In all our performances, we tried to give Germany a taste of what India and its cultural heritage is all about," she said.

The sisters were born and brought up in Germany, after their father Mihir Mandal left Kolkata following a job offer from Lufthansa Airlines in the early 1990s. The family has since then been settled in the suburbs of Gross-Gerau near Frankfrut.

'Germany's next Showstar' is a talent hunt show where participants were solicited from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Contestants had to show their talent in a field of their choice before the judges within a stipulated timeframe of about 2-3 minutes.

The show format resembles Sony TV's 'Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega', which has Farah Khan and Anu Malik as judges.

But unlike the Indian version, the winners would be chosen solely on the basis of the decision taken by the panel of judges and not through any audience voting system.

The winners of the contest will accompany DJ BoBo for a live concert in Europe.