Aqsa Ali Khan and Riya Choudhary, Delhi
Pune Regional Round of the K-Pop India Contest 2020 was conducted online on 8th August 2020 at 4 p.m. IST on the YouTube channel Indo Korean Culture Group Pune IKCG. Here is an excerpt from the statements of the winners of the Dance and Vocal categories and the Regional Round organiser, Indo Korean Culture Group Pune (IKCG Pune), regarding their experience of this event.
Ms. Nidhi Satvekar (Winner)
Hi, I am Nidhi Satvekar, and I am 20 years old. I am the winner of the Pune Regional Round in the Dance category. It has been a rather nerve-wracking experience right from the start of learning the choreography till now, and hopefully, it will be the same till the end because it builds extreme excitement and motivation at least for me. Winning was an amazing experience as all that hard work I put in finally paid off. It was awesome! I love dancing as it is my passion. And I wanted to showcase this to the world, and this competition gave me the opportunity to do so. So, putting forward my passion and skills to the world has been the major inspiration for me.
Ms. Anushruti Shukla (First Runner-up)
Hi! My name is Anushruti Shukla, and I am 21 years old. I am the first runner-up of the Pune Regional Round in the Dance category. I started listening to K-Pop around 2014, and what really got my attention was the choreography. Everyone in the group would be so synchronised and energetic despite the tough choreographies. I would always learn them and try to follow along and sometimes even record myself doing them. I participated last year as well with a bunch of my friends but unfortunately didn’t get selected. I took part in the competition this year again after a lot of my friends encouraged me to give it a try, and I guess that worked in my favour. The event was well organised, and the rules and instructions given to us were clear and straight to the point. The whole process was extremely smooth despite the changes in guidelines due to the pandemic.
Ms. Urjaswi Sarkar (Second Runner-up)
Hi. I am Urjaswi Sarkar, and I am 18 years old. I am the second runner-up of the Pune Regional Round in the Dance category. The experience of participating was absolutely elating. Funny thing, but the bar here is so high that I almost didn’t even take part, but my mother coerced me into participating, and well, I’m so glad I did. I have been doing K-Pop covers since 2014, and while I have performed at various places with different crews, I never had the opportunity to compete alone. The online platform gave me that chance, and now, I am more confident than ever in my skills. Fighting!
Ms. Bhumika Bhavya (Winner)
Hello. I am Bhumika Bhavya, and I am 24 years old. My stage name is Trisha Bhagat, and I have won in the Pune Regional Round in the Vocal category. It was a huge surprise to me since I am untrained and self-taught in Korean language and singing. I was solely driven by my passion and sheer hard work since the age of 12 when I first dreamt of becoming a singer. I was honoured to be given a chance to participate with other gifted and talented contestants! My friends, family, and the few Instagram followers I have, who have been supporting me silently for a long time now, all showed great enthusiasm during the YouTube streaming of the regionals by trending the hashtag #HereForTrisha on the video. The whole journey was so educational. It brought me closer to understanding myself as well as motivated me to continue working hard with honesty. I’m beyond grateful for all the support I received from everyone and for the blessing of my Guru, Sadhguru. The most beautiful moment for me was when the judge said, “Your song touched my heart.” It brought tears to my eyes. I hope to bring pride to Pune at the Finale! Please, root for me!
Ms. Gourika Banerji (First Runner-up)
Hey! I’m Gourika Banerji, and I am 18 years old. I have won the second position in the Pune Regional Round in the Vocal category! My participation and winning experience was really great. It was all just for an experience and sharing my love for K-Pop with others. To be honest, I was not expecting anything. I was not even going to participate till the last moment as I don’t like competitions much, but I wanted to try it out as it was being held online this year. I gave it a shot and went with the flow. I was truly surprised to hear that I was the First Runner-up. I have learned a lot through all this, and I am happy and grateful for it! What inspired and motivated me was my love for K-Pop. I have been into K-Pop for 4 years, and I love singing in Korean and other languages. I started putting up covers online, and so, I thought maybe this will be a fun journey, and I will reach out to more K-Pop lovers. Also, IKCG, KCCI, and the other organisers planned it so smoothly that I had a great time. I mean, to be honest, I thought I was not “ready” enough to ever compete. But, with this event being held online, I think I got the motivation I needed!
Ms. Meghna Saxena (Second Runner-up)
Hi! I am Meghna Saxena, and I am 19 years old. I have won the third position in the Pune Regional Round in the Vocal category. It was such a nerve-wracking experience for me because it was my first time participating. It took me lots of time to finalise my song. I practiced almost every day until the auditions started. During the announcement of the results, I was shaking, and when one of the judges announced my name, I literally jumped out of my seat. It was the best thing which happened to me during this time. My main motivation to participate was my immense love for K-Pop, and I wanted to be out there. I was always shy, but K-Pop has given me a lot of confidence to perform in front of people.
Regional Organiser: Indo Korean Culture Group Pune
The whole experience of organising the Pune Regional Round of the K-Pop India Contest 2020 was like a ride which started with the feeling of excitement and reached a point where it was nerve-wracking. Our team members had an idea of organising events but the knowledge was limited to offline events, and for all of us organising an online event at a huge scale was something completely new. Questions like how to do it? what will be efficient? how to make it interesting? and so on flooded our minds but the team brainstormed, had several meetings, and found out that the solution at times is closer than it looks. YouTube was chosen as the streaming platform for the contest, and considering how tough it can become if we ask every performer to perform live, we went with pre-recorded performances. We had to invest a lot of time thinking about some exciting events and finding amazing judges, but it turned out well. We are happy that some amazing judges came on board, and we conducted really nice events. From K-Pop Workshop to Hallyu Quiz, it was something IKCG haven’t tried before.
We would like to extend our thanks to Karnival, KPop High India, and Limese Connect for supporting us through the event, and we’re grateful to KCCI for giving us this chance. Indo Korean Culture Group (IKCG) has always focused on promoting the cultural exchange between Indians and Koreans and also worked towards the growth of Hallyu Wave in India. We’re happy to be a part of this event which in fact has helped the Hallyu Wave to grow bigger than ever. Our team has worked hard and is still working, so kudos to all of them as well. Participants from Pune were not only amazing performers but really sweet people, so thanks to them. Last but not the least, thanks to the audience who supported us and the performers. Thank you for reaching out to us to ask us about our experience. It means a lot!
You can watch the Pune Regional Round here: