The entire world was thrown off track due to the pandemic and lockdowns, but each one of us adapted to new ways of operating. We unlearned and re-learned ways to lead our lives.
And while all this was happening, youngsters lost the opportunity to have fun, disconnected from their friends, and became bored with being at home with no social interactions and no excitement due to the lockdowns. They were stuck to digital screens.
Vijay Karnataka (VK) provided a platform for young Kannadigas (people of Karnataka who speak the Kannada language) to showcase their talents and engage in activity during these gloomy times.
The platform, Sakhat (“fantastic”) Stars, identified kids with amazing skills in performing ethnic talents and new age forms, and created a platform to nurture such talents. It gave them the opportunity, excitement, and platform to exhibit their talent. It was intended connect with Kannadiga families through activity.
Considering that with a large age group we would have a bias toward the older participants, we decided to conduct the talent hunt in two age groups: 6-9 years and 10-12 years.
To ensure neutral judging for the talent hunt, the VK team decided to appoint celebrity jury members who were talented and started young. The jury members were multi-talented too, which ensured they were able to evaluate the right elements in each talented youngster.
Thousands of entries poured in from the first day an ad was released in VK, which is the top read daily in Karnataka. Young parents sent video bites of their talented children and were keen to showcase their talent to the VK team. VK team shortlisted the talents based on the showcase from the youngsters. Each talent group was given ample opportunity to qualify for the second round, which was a regional round.
The VK team decided to conduct the regional rounds on online platforms so youngsters could showcase their talent from the comfort of their homes and with ample safety measures. Shortlisted youngsters made ample preparations and made best use of the opportunity to perform from the confines of their home as parents lauded VK’s efforts to think of a virtual route to provide a platform for their children.
Social media amplification
To amplify the activity on social media, videos of contestants selected for the finale were uploaded on the VK Readers Club Facebook group. Contestants were then urged to garner maximum votes for their video, and readers were asked to vote for their favourite contestants.
While the countdown for the finale had begun, voting online for the VK Sakhat Star social media title went on at a brisk pace. Thousands of respondents voted for the talented youngsters. A platform for the young talents was created in the social media platform.
Unique talents identified
Youngsters who participated were unique in their presentation. Participants presented their talent in performing art forms native to Karnataka and India in general.
A few noteworthy talents ethnic talents showcased were yoga, Yakshagana (a traditional theatre form, developed in Coastal Karnataka), Veeragase (a vigorous dance based on Hindu mythology that involves very intense energy-sapping dance movements), Togalu gombeyaata (which translates to “a play of leather dolls,” a type of puppet show), Hindustani and Carnatic music, and Bharatanatyam (a dance form).
Some youngsters showcased modern talents like magic, solving a Rubix cube, and hula hooping with skates.
VK Sakhat Stars was a super hit among young Kannadigas and their parents. The level of involvement from each home was extraordinary. The plethora of talent among youngsters was amazing to see.
The preparedness for online engagement by the families, the hunger to perform, and the ease with which youngsters exhibited talent was inspiring for the VK team as well. Jury members had a tough time choosing winners among many talented youngsters as each one was unique.
Participation came from across the state of Karnataka and five regional rounds, and a grand finale was conducted in a span of 30 days. The activity was surely a stress buster for youngsters and their parents during the second wave, after not going to school for more than 12 months.
The partners who joined hands with VK in engaging with young parents and their wards, the jury members, the parents, and the youngsters all earned praise from VK. The VK team thanks all the participants, their parents, and the efforts from each one of them.