Twenty-nine-year-old Dinanath Rajput may have a filmi first name, but the only time he got a glimpse of Bollywood was a month ago. The fruit vendor from Chandigarh is one of the many participants on TV show Just Dance that airs on Star Plus. “I heard there were some auditions taking place, so I went there and got someone to fill my form,” says Dinanath, who felt Mumbai stood up to what he had imagined it to be his entire life. “I always wanted to come to Bumbai,” he says, before laughing, “But then I also wanted to do a lot of things in life.”
Until recently, he was proud of the fact that he never learnt how to dance, unlike many in his locality. “I just learnt from what I saw on TV and what came naturally. I didn’t have the money to go for dance classes. It’s expensive nowadays. Who has Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 to pay?” he says. But after his tryst with reality TV, that belief has changed.
“I’m going to train now and I want to participate in more reality shows like Dance India Dance,” says an excited Dinanath, who stays in small town Baltana, district Chandigarh. Currently, he’s basking in the limelight of being the only one from his locality to appear on national TV.
He’s now a semi-celebrity. “People recognise me. They see my wife and mother, and tell them how well I perform. It feels great,” he smiles. About 12 years ago, before taking charge of what he calls his “family fruit business”, Dinanath used to take care of wild orchards. “I lived in the jungles and saw my family only once a year, forget going to school,” he jokes. Though after seeing the other side of the spectrum, he understands how important education is. “I have three children, a three-year-old, a two-year-old and a four-month old. My oldest goes to school,” says the dancer, who got married at 18. “Some get married at 14 in our community you know?”