Jhalak Dikhla Ja 2: Stars and Duds (Updated)

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 :P) 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

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 :D) 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.

Prachi Desai Won!

19 Responses to “Jhalak Dikhla Ja 2: Stars and Duds (Updated)”

  1. 1 dinsan October 8, 2007 at 7:20 am

    hmm I am not really interested in dance shows.. but I am somewhat addicted to music reality shows….. is that a big talent actually ? dancing ? ( not classical dancing.. this cinematic I mean )

    Poonam: Oh yes, Dinsan, it is a tough job..I once joined a Ashley lobo’s workshop for jazz dancing just for a song..I bet I can tell you how tough it was for me. 😦 And the dance forms they perform at this level in this show is truly amazing. You just have to see for yourself to determine how much hard work goes into it. 🙂

  2. 2 nishu October 8, 2007 at 9:28 am

    ” aap to aap ho hi nahi ! aap to voh ho hi nahi jo aap thi ! aap apne aap se bilkul alag ho! ”

    comprehend please :-/

    Poonam: I could not comprehend. Thanks for explaining it on chat. 🙂

  3. 3 nishu October 8, 2007 at 9:29 am


    nice way to reply for comments

    Poonam: Well, thanks..Nishu. I had seen it in several other blogs. 🙂 But I think it might not work for those who are not on wordpress or subscribe to comments RSS. Would they catch the changes?

  4. 4 ish October 8, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Firstly, I see the way you’ve taken to replying to comments. A lot many of my friends do it. And nope, the feed readers won’t catch the changes as far as I know. I prefer writing new comments because that way even if they visit the blog, they can know that I replied to their comment and can check out what I’ve written. I like it more that way.

    And now, this is one post that resembles the way I write things. My post for the first season of the show still gets me like 100 hits everyday! And who doesn’t like being visited? 😛

    I agree what you say about Mika. He’s a disgrace really. I think the Kiss act worked well both for Mika and Rakhi. Both got their share of publicity and work. I feel sad for Mika’s choreographer too because Mika seems so oppressive. He doesn’t seem to have any kind of respect what so ever for women. He’s downright annoying.

    Mona Singh too doesn’t fit into place. I don’t think Rohit Roy is doing a splendid job either. The show needs some hosts who are more..you know lively. Like they can put some charm into the show. I wonder what’s up with Urmila, she acts crazy these days and seems she’s out of work too. There’s no need to mimic Shilpa Shetty if you ask me. This is not England, it’s India for Christ’s sake!

    And you got the best contestants right too. I think Mir Ranjan Negi is a great person and finally he’s getting the kind of love and adulation that he deserved. Life has come full circle for him. The thing I like about him is that he does things so honestly and works so hard with his choreographer. I thought his choreographer would be sad on getting the old man but he’s shown that he still has that zeal to succeed inside him.

    Sudha Chandran is somebody I’ve always had a great regard for. She’s so very elegant. I don’t usually watch T.V. shows but I did watch that Star Plus one when it started. And I must say that before she took to those horrendous bindi’s, she was a class act. And the way she dances in this show despite of that artificial limb is commendable. She’s one person who’s shown the world that she doesn’t need to be seen with pity. She’s great too.

    And I simply love Cyrus. He’s such a funny guy really. He’s like completely insane and yet so lovable. Rosita must be a little annoyed with him because he only talks and talks and talks and talks and talks! But I think he’ll improve as a dancer as well. Till then, I think Jeetendra made the best comment about him. Cyrus is somebody who dances with the part above his neck. His expressions when he dances are brilliant and Rosita handles the dance department nicely.

    Wow, this got rather long. Might copy it and make it a separate post on my blog. 😛

    Poonam: Ish, you know I found your blog for the first time through google search about Nach Baliye or Jhalak Dikhla Ja. A voracious reader that I was, I read up several of your long posts. 🙂 And I have stayed ever since. Though I have spent considerable time reading your old posts, I am sure some are still remaining. 🙂 After I wrote about Ankita (and that was because I was emotionally motivated), I had broken my own rule to write about shows. Now I have decided to write atleast one post about the shows I like.

    As for comments, actually, I also like responding to comments in separate post. I have a different reason to write this way. I have written only about 40 posts so far, yet the comments in my blog are 250 plus. So, I wonder if 50 of those comments were written by me? So, just wanna have a easy track of number of comments. 🙂 When I respond more than one person in a separate comment, I think its worth it. 🙂

    Your views are similar to mine, and yes you should paste it in your blog. It is as good as any post. 🙂

  5. 5 lallopallo October 9, 2007 at 3:14 am

    It will take more time to read your post and comments than actually watching the show.:P
    Anyways, it seems like a happening show..and ur description is good too..

    Poonam: True, its gonna take time to read such post..if you notice I did not write about few like Tapur, Ronit, Sonali, and Rohit except in passing..yet it was big.. 🙂

    Whenever I write about personal things, I write to my heart’s content. 🙂

    And yes I m liking this show better than Nach Baliye (that too has some brief moments of brilliance), and thanks for appreciating my description. 🙂

  6. 6 ish October 9, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Yea, you’re logic is good too. That way you can easily keep track of the number of comments. Plus it gives a more exclusive feel to the one who’s posting the comment.

    Nach Baliye has some moments of brilliance right. I like some of the dances Rakhi does and apart from that I like Vaibhavi Merchant’s comments. Turns out the choreographers are the best in both the shows.

    Poonam: Ish, two of us think similarly on quite many issues. I too like Rakhi’s performances in Nach Baliye, especially in round 3, she performed on that song from Navrang…that was a fantastic idea on part of her choreographers.

  7. 7 BigBro October 13, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    It is not fair that they have contenstants that belong to Balaji Telefilms (Ronit, etc) while Jetandra is judging and Shiamak’s students (Sandhya, etc) while Shiamak is judging. Then there are others with a lot of dancing background when this show is supposed to be about those who have never danced before. It is only people like Adesh, Mini, Negi, Cyrus and Mika who have no dance experience and are the true contenstants. It is up to the public who has to compensate for the bias of judges in the show by voting for the true and brave contestants.

    Poonam: Yes, Bigbro, you are right some times you can detect a faint leaning of Jeetendra toward contestants from Balaji Telefilms…but Jay, Sudha and Prachi are working hard. Ronit is good, but certainly over-hyped. Perhaps that is why I did not connect with him in this show. If you notice I never wrote much about him in my article.

    I never knew Sandhya was Shiamak’s student? I despise Mika for a pathetic performance he gives, saying he made no preparation at all. That is a shame, it shows you have no respect for your viewers. He should be out, but he stays on solely because he makes a voter appeal based on his Punjabi origin. Sudha maybe a classical dancer in past, but she has to unlearn everything to learn thse salsa, disco, cha cha. Tapur is a model, who had also never danced in the past. And yes, it is upto public to choose better contestants.

  8. 8 Nova October 17, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Hey 🙂

    Wow! I have been out of the Hindi TV circle for over 10 days and thanks to your post, I think I now know every thing that is going on 🙂 That was quite informative… and ya I had no idea Mona Singh was resorting to these tactics… This is crazy! I wonder why national media hasnt caught this yet… She should be made to apologize in public for doing this! Gosh!!!

    Anyways nice blog post… It was a good read 🙂

    Poonam: Did you miss these shows as you are in Hong Kong? I read your post about it. No one even thinks that making voter appeals based on region is bad. They are very casual, easy going about it. Trust this country to cement caste, region identities centuries after centuries!!

    Thanks, very few people like to read long posts. I am glad you are one. 🙂

  9. 9 Nova October 17, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Hey I normally dont like reading long posts… Its difficult for anything to grab my attention for too long.. Your post was an exception… Surprisingly, It wasnt strenuous reading ur post!!! 🙂

    Poonam: Well, now that is a compliment. Thanks, Neha! It feels good. 🙂

  10. 10 pr3rna October 17, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    nice analysis. I agree with most of it.

    Poonam: I am glad you liked it, Prarthna. I checked your blog, its nice too. 🙂

  11. 11 nishi October 26, 2007 at 3:33 am

    Hi, I just stumbled on this post while looking for the video of jhalak for 26th October. I just moved back to the US after many years of being back in India and am really really homesick. Hate watching American TV and was missing Jhalak which I had watched last year and enjoyed (when Shweta Salve lost to Mona Singh in the finals for the same reasons — Mona’s appeal on the regional basis). Now I am a Punjabi myself but I hate this kind of parochialism. There is no doubt that Mona worked hard last year and improved a lot over the course of the show but Shveta was a class apart — beautiful, dignified, graceful, and all in all, a natural. Fans of Mona may not like my saying so but there is something crude about her — well, not exactly crude but she’s got a lot of rough edges — as a dancer and as a host as well.

    Liked your post…enjoyed reading your comments and will try and visit again to see what else you write about. Best, Nishi

    Poonam: Hey Nishi, Thanks for dropping by. I am glad you expressed your views candidly.

    I completely agree with you when you say, “There is no doubt that Mona worked hard last year and improved a lot over the course of the show but Shveta was a class apart — beautiful, dignified, graceful, and all in all, a natural.” Shveta Salve was definitely class apart and graceful.

    The USP of Jhalak Dikhla Ja is that it is a stylish show laden with stars (celebrities). Mona Singh, sadly, is little too gawky. Though I cant claim to be a Punjabi, but I have strong Punjabi connections. And I hate stereotyping a Punjabi. In other reality talent shows, the contestants are strugglers trying to make desperate vote appeals (breeding regionalism even in desperate situation is not fair). But Mona consistently makes such appeals for even celebrities!

    I am sad you miss Jhalak in America. I hope you found the videos you were looking for or I will be happy to help you.

  12. 12 pritam October 28, 2007 at 10:20 am

    You guys are a bunch of nuts. Mona darling’s exuberance is sheer delight and main reason why jhalak scores over Nach Baliye… and of course cyrus, sandhya & sonali.. and now cyrus is out.. presumably because Indians are such squares..

    Poonam: Frankly, I still find her gawky and unsuitable as a host in a stylish show as Jhalak. As I have written she is affable and seems genuine, but efficiency is something else. I hated her for pushing regional identities. But in yesterday’s episode there was none of it. Even Mika who has only disgusted me so far..changed his voter appeal. And yes it is sad, Cyrus got voted out. 😦 He was fun. Maybe he comes back with wild card entry. I am optimistic. 🙂

  13. 13 jhalak-dikhla-ja December 6, 2007 at 7:33 am

    hi friends ,
    jhalak dikhla ja is amazing show , view and download all videos of jhalak-dikhla-ja

  14. 14 Arezoo March 24, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Hello.I love jhalake diklaja.And her i hate.She is very strong.and fat.I just hate her and love Drachi Desai

    Poonam: Hey, I could not understand whom yuo hate? 😦

  15. 15 Renu February 4, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I have stopped watching reality shows as results are always rigged..here Sandhya was much much better than Prachi.

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