Mathura, 2018.03.01 (TOI): In the sleepy Naugaon village of Mathura district, a five-year-old Hemant Brijwasi would be woken up by his father sometime before midnight. After a quick wash, the two stepped out into the darkness to reach a neighbouring village where several others had already gathered to hear the little boy sing at a jagran. That was in 2004. Fast-forward to 2018 and Hemant, now 20, tours across the world with the veritable who’s who of musicians. A big fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hemant shot to limelight when he won the famous Sa Re Ga Ma Little Champs reality TV show as an 11-year-old in 2009.
Coming from the Nat (acrobats) community in the region, Hemant’s family had found it difficult to manage two square meals for all members until a few years ago. Today, they live in a two-storied house flanked by SUVs in the driveway at Sonkh road in Mathura town. With Hemant’s rise, his three younger brothers – Hoshiyar (16), Ajay (14) and Chetan (11) – have also made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. The star kids now flaunt iPhones and designer clothes.