With the announcement, the chilly winter night in the northwestern city warmed up for some moments as 25000 people at the stadium and some 50,000 outside jumped up in joy and fireworks lit the sky. It was a night to remember in Rajshahi.
The announcement came as a relief to millions of Bangladeshis at home and abroad glued to the TV screen, waiting for the result.
Somnur Monir Konal from Dhaka won the title, while Chaitee Mutsuddi Liza and the youngest finalist Moumita Tasrin Nadiraj won the first and second runner-up positions respectively.
Konal received a cheque worth Tk eight lakh, while Chaitee got Tk five lakh and Nadiraj got Tk three lakh. They also received monetary and other gifts from different organisations, including a Tk 25,000 award from Rajshahi City Corporation.
The finale featured spirited live performances by the seven finalists and the results were based on points given by the judges and SMS votes from the audiences.
Renowned artistes Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Subir Nandi and veteran music composer Alauddin Ali were present as the judges at the finale, adding grandeur to the programme that left a lasting impression on the people of Rajshahi.
The programme began with speeches by Channel i Managing Director Faridur Reza Sagar and Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton.
The main event began with the performances of renowned dancers Shibli Mohammad and Shamim Ara Nipa accompanied by around 100 young dancers of Rajshahi; the song "Aguner Poroshmoni Chhoao Praney" played in the background.
The mega event changed the city mood. Four big screens were set up inside the stadium and six at different city points.
Head of News and Director, Channel i, Shykh Seraj, however, explained that the total amount of money would not be given to the winners right away. The winners will receive scholarships to acclaimed musical institutions abroad. He said, "A sudden rush of money often corrupts young minds."
The event, "Channel i Shera Kontho 2009" began in May with the slogan 'Gaaney... Awaz Tolo Praney." Some 92,000 contestants from seven zones of the country -- Dhaka Metro, Dhaka, Barisal, Rajshahi, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet -- took part in the competition.
On the occasion of the grand finale in Rajshahi, Channel i covered special reports highlighting the economy, environment and culture of the city during the last few days.
Farzana Brownia and Robin Khan directed the event jointly.
Talent Hunt Programme
50 injured as cops club crowd
The law enforcers charged truncheon on a scrambling crowd, waiting to enter the venue of a talent hunt programme, leaving around 50 persons injured in Rajshahi Thursday night.
The injured include Tanvir, 20, of Sopura, Pial, 18, of Bagha, Sagir Hossain, 20, of Seroil Colony, Tawhid, 22, of Malda Colony, Shahidul, 23, of Katakhali, Sohel Rana, 22, of Haragram, and Anwar, 22, of Puthia, who took treatment at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. The rest were given first aid at different clinics and households.
The injured alleged that members of police and Rab beat up the invited guests without any provocation. Proper management at the entries was lacking though as much as eight gates of the district stadium were open to the visitors, they said.
Although the programme -- the grand finale of Channel i Sera Kontho -- was scheduled to begin around 7:30pm, the guests started to queue up from 12:00noon and the gates were opened not before 4:00pm, complained the guests.
Some people were seen selling entry passes at Tk 300, Tk 200 and Tk 100, though they were not for sale.
Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton described the unprovoked baton charge as undesirable. Officials of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police were not available for comments.