Arunachal Pradesh's Manik Paul was crowned winner of India’s Got Talent 6 on Saturday night, taking home a cool Rs 50 Lakh and a car. HT spoke to Paul soon after his victory about all the hard work he put in for all those gravity-defying aerial dance acts that separated him from the other contestants, his future plans and much more.
You would have thought of this day ever since you were selected but how different is the reality of actually holding the trophy in your hands?
I am sitting in front of the trophy right now and still cannot believe it's happened. I was screaming at the top of my lungs last night because it is just not easy to believe. Yes, I had practised really hard but I never thought I would win! All the other six contestants I was competing against in the finale are so incredibly talented. That is what makes this victory so special and great.
It was a tough lot to beat. If it was not you, who do you think would have won?
Honestly speaking, all of us had come so close to each other in the short time that we were together. We decided that none of us will cry when the results are declared. Each one of us deserved to win this trophy. So many people have asked us ‘Who is the best?’ to which we would always say... ‘All of us are winners, all six of us’. But if I had to choose, I think Yogeshwari should have won.
You won a whopping Rs 50 lakh! What now? Splurging or saving?
First off, I want to buy a house so that I could live with my mother. I have been away from home for about 2 years now which is a long time. Now I want to go back and live with my mom in our own house. I see that dream of mine is going to be fulfilled soon.
Winning a dance competition in India doesn't always translate into a windfall of offers from the industry as compared to the chances the winner of, say Sa Re Ga Ma Pa or Voice of India or Indian Idol gets. As a dancer, does it make you nervous about your own future?
There is one thing about me -- I am a very hardworking person. Performance arts are not about job security and I have known that for a long time. However, I have always had an unflinching faith in myself and my hard work. I used to practise day and night, hours at a stretch. People used to call me crazy and mad, but I never let go of my positive attitude. ‘Kuch na kuch toh ho hi jaega’ I used to think and still do. Of course, I didn’t know that I would win IGT but there was always this positivity in me that something good will surely happen.