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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Who said Pappu can’t dance?

Poonam Saxena, Hindustan Times   May 10, 2013
First Published: 23:27 IST(10/5/2013) | Last Updated: 23:30 IST(10/5/2013)

The hunt for reality show judges sometimes leads to interesting discoveries. Such as the fact that actor Riteish Deshmukh can do a mean imitation of Sanjeev Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha.

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Or that dancer and choreographer Ashley Lobo, not quite in Amitabh Bachchan’s league when it comes to speaking Hindi, did know what ‘unsatth’ means (that’s 59 for those of you who aren’t in Lobo’s league either).

Both Deshmukh and Lobo are judges in India’s Dancing Superstar, the nth dance contest to hit our TV screens (Star Plus).

The third judge is choreographer Geeta Kapoor, who should be familiar to viewers of Zee, since she has spent what seems like an entire lifetime on that channel, judging a variety of dance shows.

Indeed, there have been so many dance contests, not just on Zee but on all the entertainment channels, you’d think we would have run out of dancers.

But no, the number of aspiring dancers in India looks like it’s roughly on par with the number of aspiring engineers/civil servants. So either dance is the most exciting new career prospect in the country or people just like queuing up at dance auditions for fun.

The USP of India’s Dancing Superstar is that anyone can compete — old, young, solo or in groups — and can do any style they want, whether it’s Bollywood or belly dancing.

As a result, there was quite a cross-section of people and performances, including a smattering of senior citizens who shook and shivered with enormous zest if not enormous talent. There were a couple of physically challenged young people who were amazing.

And there were the usual very small children (accompanied by over-anxious parents) who danced like miniature adults — not a comfortable sight.

But it’s always nice to see people dancing instead of crying (though there is that too — it’s not possible to make a reality show without a hefty dose of weeping people; it’s like making a superhero film without special effects). So yes, I will be watching India’s Dancing Superstar off and on, but just for the dancing.

There’s another new show on the same channel — Ek Ghar Banaunga, full of what people in the entertainment industry like to call “Indian emotions.”

Sacrifice and duty, marriage and motherhood, sons versus daughters… the great Indian family saga continues, non-stop. Meanwhile, Grey’s Anatomy fans must be rejoicing since Zee Café has just begun season seven (Star World had ended the show with season six, but is very helpfully doing a repeat telecast of all the seasons it has already shown).

Season six had ended with some catastrophic events at Seattle Grace Mercy West, and the after shocks are still being felt at the hospital. Brace yourself for some life-and-death drama.

I’m also warming up to the channel’s other new show, Red Widow, about a young woman (Marta) forced to work for a dangerous underworld don (Schiller) in order to protect her family. Twists and turns, simmering tension between Marta and Schiller — what’s not to like for an hour of idle viewing?

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