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13-year-old Indian girl wins Sharjah Arabic reality contest

13-year-old Indian girl wins Sharjah Arabic reality contest
Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi crowning Meenakshi Jayakumar as Munshid Sharjahat a ceremony on Thursday night.

Sharjah - The girl, who hails from Angamali in Kerala, was the only non-Arab among the eight finalists who clashed for the title, Munshid Sharjah (Singer of Sharjah).



By Suresh Pattali

Published: Sat 2 Apr 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Apr 2016, 2:38 AM

Meenakshi Jayakumar, an Indian girl who stole the hearts of thousands by singing hit songs such as Maher Zain's Insha Allah, was on Thursday crowned the winner of Sharjah TV's Arabic reality show.
At a ceremony hosted by the Sharjah Media Corporation, His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, honoured Meenakshi, a Grade 7 student of GEMS Millennium School - Sharjah, and runners-up Shahad Saeed Abdullah of Altalaa School and Nahyan Ali Mohammed of Abdul Rahman Al Nasser Model School in Kalba.
The girl, who hails from Angamali in Kerala, was the only non-Arab among the eight finalists who clashed for the title, Munshid Sharjah (Singer of Sharjah).
Talking to Khaleej Times, Meenakshi said she is happy and thrilled to come out with flying colours at the end of the four-month-long mission.
"It was such a proud moment when I received the award from His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan," said Meenakshi, who thanked her parents, principal and teachers who inspired and helped her at every step of the journey.
Being a non-Arab who can only read and write the language, Meenakshi never expected to be a winner. But her teachers went out of their way to perfect her diction. She was ultimately crowned with the help of 114,251 votes polled from 91 countries across the globe.
Recollecting the best moments of the contest, Meenakshi said the contestants were only allowed to sing non-cinematic songs and her rendering of Insha Allah had received a huge applause from the audience and judges.
While Majed Al Zuwidi's Ya Owni is one of her all-time Arabic favourites, she also likes Maher Zain and Harris J.
In the run-up to Thursday evening's grand finale, Meenakshi's sweet and clear diction and wide vocal range had mesmerised thousands of viewers as well as judges, including celebrity singers Ahmed Al Mansoori, Abdullah Al Shehhi and Ala Naqbi.

Dr Shaikh Sultan congratulated the winners for their impressive performance. "Sharjah is proud to have such an elite of gifted junior voices who sing in the love of Allah and eulogise Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and noble morals," he said.
Going forward, Meenakshi said she hopes to win more awards and become a known musician while pursuing another steady career.
For Meenakshi, music runs in her blood. The girl, whose father Jayakumar is an engineer with the Dubai-based firm Dutco, inherited her talent from her mother Rekha, an Ayurvedic doctor who hails from a family of musicians. The 13-year-old travels to Abu Dhabi every weekend to learn music under guru Divya Vimal. Meenakshi, who has many awards to her credit, is one of a few who can sing Ashtapadi in the classical Sopana Sangeetham. Her little sister Kalyani is also a music student.
Dr Rekha said the Sharjah-based family is thankful to the school for suggesting and encouraging Meenakshi to take part in the reality show. "Living in the UAE, it's difficult to take part in the popular shows back home in India, so we were glad we could give it a try in Sharjah," the mother said.
At the finale, an audience of shaikhs, directors of local TV and radio stations, senior officials and a crowd of fans watched a short documentary about different stages of the contest.
suresh@khaleejtimes.com

Meenakshi Jayakumar and her proud family are all smiles at their Sharjah residence after she was crowned the winner of reality show, Munshid Sharjah 2016. — Photo by M. Sajjad
Meenakshi Jayakumar and her proud family are all smiles at their Sharjah residence after she was crowned the winner of reality show, Munshid Sharjah 2016. — Photo by M. Sajjad

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