For his win, the 23-year-old from Muscat collected 25 lakh (RO14,800).
It has been a dream come true for young Omani Haitham Mohammad Rafi, after winning the Indian television show Dil Hai Hindustani last Saturday night (April 1).
His grand finale performance impressed the judges, swept aside his rivals and he won the inaugural title.
For his win, the 23-year-old from Muscat collected 25 lakh (RO14,800). He dedicated his success to his mother, who had flown to Mumbai to watch her son perform on the Star Plus channel’s talent show.
Competing against a host of talented Hindi singers from as far afield as the United States and Russia, it had been touch-and-go for Haitham.
To get to the grand finale, he had to rely on a wild card given to him by the judges in the semi-finals the week before.
On the panel was Bollywood director Karan Johar and music composer Shekhar Ravjiani, who were impressed by Haitham’s soulful rendition of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.
A delighted Haitham, who quit his job in banking to pursue a singing career, wanted to win but says it was up to the audience to vote for him.
“By the kind of support I was receiving from people around the world and Oman last week, I had hopes but it was just great to win.
“I am dedicating this to my mum, who has supported me throughout my career even when I left my job to participate in the competition,” he says.
Haitham, who was in Muscat for a performance at Oman Avenues Mall last week, also thanked his supporters. “I can’t explain the love and blessings that have been showered upon me,” he says. “I wish I could meet each of them and thank them from the bottom of my heart for their outstanding support. I’m Omani, but ‘dil hai Hindustani’ [my heart is Indian].”
Haitham’s new career is already looking promising. He will be performing in a special concert for the people of Oman at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, on April 14 (for tickets, call 9779 8111).
“I have also been offered a chance to sing in many Bollywood movies, so inshallah, I am looking forward to taking up anything that the Almighty will be offering.”