I finally decided to post my honest, personal reactions of this show called Jhalak Dikhla Ja that is remake of American show Dancing with the Stars. For those who do not know about the show, 12 celebrities from different walks of life (other than dancing, of course) dance with professional choreographers. Their survival in the show depends on the points they receive from the judges and the votes that viewers shower on them through phone calls and sms(es).
Jhalak Dikhla Ja, as it involves celebrities, is a glitzy and stylish show. I love watching this show because it is my window to all the stylish dance forms that fail to find place in my regular life. Where else would I get to watch samba, rumba, jive, jazz, salsa, ch-cha cha? These beautiful dances come alive through this show in my bedroom every weekend.
The three judges are jumping-jack of yester-years Jeetendra, actress Urmila Matondkar and the most celebrated Indian dance guru Shiamak Davar.
Jeetendra is perhaps the most honest judges of the three. His criticism is dignified yet honest. He does call a spade a spade. Though, sometimes I feel his praises are faintly lenient to actors (like Ronit, Prachi) who have been associated with his daughter’s Balaji productions.
It is a pleasure to listen to Shiamak when he praises contestants in Hindi. He is learning to speak Hindi, yet he sums up performances with apt one word Aashycharya-chakit (surprised), Praffulit (gladsome), or Shaandaar (Marvelous).” He is a super-kanjoos (miser) when it comes to awarding points. Sometimes he gives too many contestants similar points regardless of their performances.
Urmila is the biggest diplomat on the show, trying to fit in the shoes of Shilpa Shetty (who was the judge in last season of the show). Being the only female on the judge panel, she is eagerly singled out by contestants like Mika and Aadesh Srivastav to rub their charms (if they have ) on her.
Celebs who deserve Thumbs-Up: (though not in the same order as listed below)
Sandhya Mridul is a bright actress with bindaas attitude who lights up stage with her dance performance.
Sudha Chandran, trained classical dancer, unlearns everything to perform jives and salsas. I can vouch that it must not be easy for her with that artificial leg. Sometimes, it seems to me, because she has an artificial limb, she works so hard so as to avoid any sympathy and let her work speak for her. Man, I salute her spirit.
Sudha Chandran at Jhalak Dikhla Ja
Mini Mathur, who has herself hosted several reality shows in the past, is working hard to make her mark. She is good, yet can be better.
Prachi, the 18-year-old TV actress, is youngest of all the contestants. She danced well in the second show (I did not see the first one.) She may have played a mature character in her other tv shows, but she certainly has difficulty keeping her emotions in check in this show when she plays herself. Sweet chick!
Mir Ranjan Negi, the hockey coach who inspired the story of Chak De India! He is a real-life hero who bounced back into adulation after being written off completely. He was once branded a traitor. Now, he is the synonym of patriotism and team spirit. This simple man who might have looked easily out-of-place in this show full of glitz and glamour hold on with aplomb. His first dance performance, for reasons unknown to me, was very touching. He refused vote appeals based on region repeating the dialogue from Chak De India “States ke name mujhe sunai nahi dete, ek naam jo mujhe sunai deta hai-who hai India!(I can not hear the name of the states, the only name I hear is India.)” He garnered highest public votes, this fact alone speaks that he struck chord with rest of India as well.
Thumbs-down in the show
Mika and anchor Mona Singh are two eye sores for me in the show. I have two reasons. One, they are not good at what they came to do in the show. Second, unwitty people like these make us hate reality shows as they divide the citizens on basis of region.
Mika’s choreographer is living a nightmare these days. Mika makes no effort to learn and is one of the weakest dancers on the show. Other day he forcibly tried to make his Punjabi connection with Jeetendra by prompting him to speak Punjabi. A visibly uncomfortable Jeetendra tells him “pur yeh show to hindi ka hai, Punjabi weech gal kisi aur din karenge!” (But this show is in Hindi, will speak in Punjabi some other day). This man is a singer whose recent career has pumped up only due to Kiss controversy with Rakhi Sawant. Yet the man has so much arrogance that he never accepts judges’ criticism with spirit. Punjabis are better known for their zest of life and sporty spirit. Where is that, Mika??
Unlike Mika, Mona Singh, is an affable, fun, and genuine person. But despite her gorgeous evening gowns, she looks more than wee bit out of place on this stylish show. She comes across as gawky and awkward host and her script looks downright unrehearsed. It looks as if she is trying to make an desperate effort to appear conversant and friendly. Sorry Mona, it is not working. You can not live Punjabi stereotype for long, the show needs a host with élan. And, the regionalism part? Mona is the one when making vote appeals on behalf of contestants digs out region or communities as USP: Punjab for Mika, Maharashtra for Sonali Kulkarni (a big mistake as she ended up in bottom two, she stood better chance asking votes from rest of the India), Parsees for Cyrus, Bengal for Tapur, and so on. Grow up, Mona. Will ya?
It seems most of the celebs (like Ronit, Aadesh, and Tapur) are having problem with their choreographers because they change the steps. I guess choreographers are justified in changing steps when they see it doesn’t suit the celeb or dance for various reasons. But celebs contestants are already tired with their existing working schedule, they do not take these changes lightly. The one celeb who insists her steps are changed (perhaps to the chagrin of her choreographer) is Sandhya Mridul. Perhaps she is not as overworked as other celebs in the show.
Before I sign off, I need to speak about the dark horse, Cyrus Broacha. This guy with the funny bone is a complete chatter box. He does not let his choreographer speak! One day when this guy dances well (which I think he can), he should keep maun vrat (vow of silence) as a tribute to his choreographer, Roseeta. That would give Roseeta a chance to do the talking for the day. I am sure, it still will be fun to watch a mum Cyrus Broacha.
Update: Aadesh Srivastav and his choreographer Tina were the first couple to be eliminated. It seems Tina was having a tough time to make arrogant Aadesh dance. It was eventually her tears that motivated Aadesh to dance better in second round. Only, it was too late by then.
14 October: Sadly, instead of Mika, it is model Tapur Chatterjee and her choreographer partner Firoz who are now out of the show. I had once disliked her for bullying her choreographer. But she handled her ouster with amazing spirit and dignity. She certainly did not deserve to go as her performance was 100 times better than Mika who certainly did not respect the competition, art of dance, or the public. He had prepared nothing and he was smug about it. I am sad I live in a country where people shun talent and vote for a region. What was Mika’s vote appeal: If you don’t vote for me, you are not a Punjabi.
20 October: Guess who goes out? Mini Mathur and her choreographer Hemu! Needless to say she did not deserve to go. Mika, one who should have been eliminated by now, is still there as an eyesire on the show. I am shamed that I belong to a country where people blatantly vote for inferior and disrespectful performers just because they make emotionally blackmailing vote appeals based on region. As for Mini, when she danced away happily after a wonderful performance, she had forgotten to make a personal vote appeal. I had feared right at that moment hope Mini does not get voted out. There she goes, out of the show with that wonderful last dance performance.
27 October: Guess, who is out this time? Who other than Cyrus Broacha. Would miss all the spontaneous laughs he caused. He still kept making laugh even after he was eliminated. Mika is still there with his average performances. He has become pompous and over-confident that junta will not vote him out. Is anyone listening?
3 November: Who goes out? Sudha Chandran and her partner Uma! I am shocked why junta would vote someone with tremendous spirit like Sudha instead of someone as pompous as Mika!
10 November: Sad to write this that 18-year-old hard-working girl Prachi is out!
17 November: Thank God!It’s Mika who is out this time. (Me, very jubilant ) Mika had a very pompous exit, said it was only me who could get me out. Reportedly, he told the viewers not to vote for him but vote for talented others. He was about to go Rakhi-bashing before going off show, but Rohit Roy, thankfully, cut him off.
24 November: Ronit Roy is out! Though Ronit danced well, I never connected well with him. He was talented, but he seemed very fake to me. Somehow I identify with his co-contestants wanted him off the show long back. It can not be only because he was a threat because Sandhya, Prachi were bigger threats. These days Jay Bhanushali too is a strong contender for Jhalak prize money.
1 December: Sonali Kulkarni is out. She had improved, yet she was certainly one of the weakest dancers on the show.
7 December: Mir Ranjan Negi is out. I liked him, but he was now weakest dancers on the show. I can’t believe Indian public could judiciously take that strict decision.
16 December: Prachi Desai, the leading lady of TV serial Kasam Se, won the contest. She was definitely good, but it was Sandhya who was a better dancer. It is also to be noted, Prachi was wild card entry winner! Only she and Sudha Chandran had got chance to contest for wild card entry. Jay Bhanushali came third.