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‘Dharmendra is like hot chocolate’

Sonali Bendre and Kirron Kher wax eloquent about the veteran actor, a new addition to the judging panel on the popular reality show.

tv Updated: Jul 23, 2011 15:52 IST
Vineet Waghmode

Sonali Bendre and Kirron Kher are back as the hosts of popular reality show, India’s Got Talent for the third year in a row. But what has them most excited is the latest addition to the judging panel — veteran actor Dharmendra.Referring to him as her ‘hot chocolate’, Sonali enthuses, “Dharamji is wonderful. He’s one of the most genuine people I have come across. Sometimes, he just can’t say no, and it’s very endearing.” Kher, too, is all praise for her Apne (2007) co-star. “I love the Deols. I have been a huge fan of Dharamji and working with him has been a memorable experience,” she smiles.



Although Sonali may not be returning to the big screen any time soon, she has kept her commitment to the show. And although unsure about Season Three, the actor insists it’s the concept of the show and the matching thought processes of its creators that keep her coming back.

Sonali Bendre

“I was apprehensive initially. I didn’t know how to go about judging a singer, dancer and magician on the same platform,” she admits, but quickly adds, “After the first season, things got better the second time around. Every season, the variety of contestants is wonderful. Season Two was bigger than the first, and it seems this season will surpass the previous ones as well.”




Kher, meanwhile, has a different take. “Keeping aside all expectations is the key for me. Just go with the idea of having fun, and you won’t be disappointed. We have such a great pool of talent, especially singers this season. Considering there are so many singing shows, the fact that they choose to come to us means that we are doing something right,” she opines.



She also attributes her friendship with contestants from previous seasons as one of the reasons why she returns to the show every year. Kher recalls, “One day, I got a call from the channel saying that the Shillong Chamber Choir (winners of Season Two) were requesting me to let them perform at my house, and what a wonderful performance they gave. There is an attachment that I form with the contestants, and many of them are still in touch with me.”



On the subject of sympathy votes, which several shows in the same category have been accused of granting, Kher justifies, “Sympathy votes are bound to happen, but what works in the favour of India’s Got Talent is that the audience votes come in much later, after the preliminary rounds.” She also clarifies the selection process, saying, “The voting and selection procedures are all very clean here. No particular contestant receives preference over the other.”



Kher signs off by naming some of the performers she is looking forward to watching the most: “There is a group of housewives from Kolkata who sing beautifully. We also have a woman from Mumbai who does a very elegant mujra.