After four months of hard work, only four contestants made it to the grand finale of Dance India Dance (Zee TV): Alisha Singh, Jai Kumar Nair, Siddhesh Pai and Salman Khan. Though the competition was tough, it was Salman Khan who came out on top and won the title.Apart from winning the coveted Golden Taqdeer Ki Topi, the 23-year old mechanical engineer from Bengaluru also won a contract of Rs 50 lakh with Zee TV. He also won an exclusive contract to star with superstar Salman Khan in Boney Kapoorâ€™s film, Wanted. Directed by Prabhudeva, the film also stars Ayesha Takia.
How do you feel?
The experience is amazing and out of this world. I thank Allah for everything! Remo sir (mentor-choreographer Remo D’Souza) is the best thing that has happened to me.
What will do with the amount you have won?
I have not really thought about it. I only thought of competing, dancing and winning. Now from here, I need to move ahead because itâ€™s just the beginning.
When you first entered the competition, did you expect to win?
Right from the first day of the show, I knew I had to win. God gave me this opportunity to showcase my talent so I tried very hard to give my best to my performances. If my performances were better than the previous round then I would consider my expectations met.
You were never the judgesâ€™ favourite, but something always clicked with you. What do you have to say?
When we were selected from the 18 contestants, we were chosen for our performances and not for our stunts. I was awarded the Khoobsurat Performer Of The Week and it was because of my dance. With dance, I added an extra element of spice. It was great!
What do you have to say about your mentor Remo Dâ€™Souza?
Remo sir is the best thing that has happened to me. I thank Allah for giving me such a good mentor. I have won this competition only because of him. You see me here today with the golden cap, itâ€™s only because of Remo sir.
Which, according to you, was your best performance?
My best performance is yet to come. What you have seen on the show were just glimpses. There are a lot of favourites, the list is endless.
Which was your toughest performance?
Frankly speaking, every week I have been in pain, hurt or have been bleeding. Iâ€™ve had spasms as well. There was a time when I came straight from the hospital and had to perform for two episodes. One performance, where I got frightened for a moment, was my fire act. I burnt my eyelid. That was very close and I could have lost my eyesight. All the precautions were taken but anything can happen at the last moment.
You come from a city where not many people are crazy about reality shows. Yet you still got the highest number of votes.
If you watched the show, I never asked for votes but only blessings. I believed in myself and worked hard. The Almighty was there with me and finally, my hard work paid off.
Other than you, who do you think was the most deserving person for the win?
Among the three finalists Alisha, Siddhesh Pai and Salman, Salman was the most deserving contestant (laughs). No, really. I have literally slogged. Iâ€™ve worked hard and have sacrificed a lot for this.
How excited are you to meet Salman Khan and perform with him in the movie Wanted?
I am very excited and I am looking forward to meeting him as well as performing with him in the film.
How far do you think winning a reality show helps oneâ€™s career?
Well, it definitely does. So far, the journey has been good. Now itâ€™s my responsibility to further my career and see how to grow.
What have you learnt from the show?
Everything depends on hard work. If you have the will, nobody can stop you from doing what you want to do.
Who do you think is the best dancer in Bollywood?
What did you do before you came to Mumbai?
I am a mechanical engineer and I was looking forward to my MS (post graduation) in the UK or Australia. When I got this offer, I thought why not give it a shot?
Whatâ€™s next in the pipeline?
Three months ago, I had no idea that I would come to Mumbai. I never thought people would appreciate my performances and I would be known. I am open to all options. All I can say is that whatever I do, I will give my cent percent to it.
Report By:Vandana Shukla