Actress Prachi Desai (of Kasamh Se fame) is the toast of Balaji Telefilms today. In fact, the Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa triumph isn't being viewed as entirely hers. Allegations abound that Prachi Desai's mentor Ekta Kapoor pulled strings to ensure her protegee's win in the dance show - a charge that is accompanied by the reminder that after being voted out of the show, Prachi returned to the dance floor as a wild card entry.
On the drive back home from RK Studios, Chembur, to Versova after the victory, the winner fielded questions with a no-problems attitude:
Okay it would be stupid to ask - are you excited? Right?
No, no, I was hoping you'd ask me that question. I'm unbearably excited. I've been flooded with calls and I've been going thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks like a voice machine. But believe me I feel genuinely grateful. <b1>
When you entered the contest, did you expect to win?
This win is no less than an Oscar for me. Whether I expected to, I don't really know. At the back of my mind, I guess I did want to win.
Your closest competitor Sandhya Mridul scored full 30 points for seven weeks. So how come you edged her out in the grand finale?
I've always maintained that Sandhya is a very good dancer. At the same time, I've also worked very hard, rehearsing long hours and constantly improvised on my performance. Of course, I can't forget the support of my fans who voted for me. That played the key role in the finale.
The buzz is that your mentor, Ekta Kapoor, has played a very important role in your victory.
(Giggles) I guess this kind of rumour was kind of anticipated. The fact is that my mother played a very significant part, she kept me going whenever I'd feel low.
Reportedly, Ekta didn't mind Kasamh Se losing TRPs as long as you were participating in Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa. TV channel corridors are buzzing that she was pulling strings for your win.
I don't agree with that at all. The TRPs of Kasamh Se had started falling even before Jhalak.. began. So the question of letting the serial's TRPs suffer doesn't arise. In recent days, the serial's TRPs are going up again. <b2>
Really, I hope the viewers continue to support it and make it the Serial No. 1.
Didn't you benefit from Jeetendra's presence on the jury for the show?
No, not at all. The judges were most fair. They gave participants the points they deserved, and even explained why. And the fact that I was eliminated is proof enough that Jeetendraji's presence didn't help me.
The Sandhya versus Prachi finale is being compared to last year's Mona Singh versus Shveta Salve's contest
Although Shveta is a better dancer, it was conjectured that she lost because Mona is Sony channel's protégé, just like you're Ekta's protégée.
Shveta is a fabulous dancer but Mona worked very hard too. Although comparisons with last year are inevitable, this protégée business has nothing to do with the final decision. It's all about who gets more votes. I believe the viewers liked my performance better, so they voted for me.
It is believed that your return as the wild card entry hinted that you would win, no matter what.
(Giggles) If that’s the case, well, fine. What else can I say? But honestly, being the wild card entry didn’t make it easy for me. I had to work harder to justify my return to the show, and to improve with every act.
So, what next?
I'll resume shooting for
. Then I have my movie
to look forward to.
Do you expect any changes in your character of Bani now?
No. Bani will always be the ideal
she won't break out of that image.
Although Farhan Akhtar is producing
Rock On, it's being directed by Abhishek Kapoor whose Aryan was a clinker
How can anyone be judgmental? Who doesn't make a clinker?
is a fabulous script.
Will it be goodbye to television eventually?
Never, it's given me my
Waaah!If you were asked to do a sexy item number in a movie, would you?
No, I've done enough of that on
What if it were a Yash Raj movie?
My answer would still be no.
If your dates clash between an Ekta Kapoor-produced serial and an excellent movie project, which would you opt for?
Balaji will always be my first love. So whatever they offer, I'd take it up, no questions asked.
Okay, so who's the love of your life?
I'm not seeing anyone.
didn't give me any time to sleep in peace. Now I'll be shooting for
so there's not time for a relationship.
Which actors do you like to work with?
Ram Kapoor and Ronit Roy. And I'd love to work with Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham and Tusshar Kapoor.
Tusshar? Is that because of Ekta?