After 15 long weeks of auditions and competition, Bhubaneshwar's Ananya Sritam Nanda, was declared the Indian Idol Junior 2 winner on Sunday night. Ananya battled it out with Nityashree Venkataramanan and Nahid Afrin after Vaishnav Girish was eliminated at the semi-final stage.
Ananya, 14, who was eliminated in the first round of theatres in 2014, has taken home a trophy and a contract worth Rs 10 lakhs from the TV channel. Ananya wants to become a scientist and has won hearts of judges and the audiences alike with her dedication and sincerity towards her passion for singing. Her mother is a housewife and father is a government employee.
Ananya's favourite singers are Shreya Ghoshal and Arijit Singh and she also likes to play the harmonium. Speaking at the grand finale Ananya said, "This is the best moment of my life. I am speechless! With the mentoring and the training I have received, I am thankful to Indian Idol Junior. I think all my co-contestants deserve this trophy. I am really thankful to the viewers of Sony Entertainment Television for showering us with so much love and support. I am going to miss this platform, training, my friends, Sonakshi ma'am, Vishal and Salim sir."
The night also saw some dazzling performance by the judges. While Salim Merchant was not part of the finale, the multi-talented Vishal Dadlani of Vishal-Shekhar composer duo, belted out some of his hit tracks, and first-time judge and Bollywood actor Sonakshi Sinha lit up the stage with her dance performance.
She danced on Sari Ke Fall Sa, Rani Tu Main Raja, Tamanchey Pe Disco, Sawaar Loon, Party All Night and Har Kisiko Nahi Milta. Sonakshi was also in for a surprise when her father and veteran actor Shatrughan landed on the show's set and interacted with the contestants and encouraged them. TV star-turned-actor Kapil Sharma, who came on the finale to promote his forthcoming movie Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, left the audience in splits with his humorous antics.
Nahid and Nithyashree were declared runners-up on the show. Earlier, speaking to Hindustan Times, Nahid had said, "I never believed I will reach in the top three and get the chance to meet people like Vishal sir." Talking about her future plans, Nahid said, "I want to become an IAS and do something for my country." She also spoke about her favourite judge on the show: "I love Vishal sir the most, he's a very genuine person. I love his comments. The way he judges and tells us things is inspirational."
The finale was also enlivened by the performances of the top 13 contestants, who were handpicked from multi-city auditions across the country.