The Kings of Nallasopara conquer all odds, rule the World of Dance
The Kings of Nallasopara conquer all odds, rule the World of DanceUpdated: May 08, 2019, 00:52 IST
From grooving in the lanes of Vasai-Nallasopara to leaving international popstar Jennifer Lopez “shook to the core” with their performance on the World of Dance reality TV show in San Diego, The Kings – a 16-member troupe also known as Kings United – have left viewers spellbound with their jaw-dropping acts.
A team of 14 dancers and two choreographers, aged between 18 and 31, the men were crowned winners of the third season of the US-based show judged by Lopez, rapper Ne-Yo and dancer Derek Hough on Sunday. The group won US$ 1 million as prize money, after all three judges gave them a perfect 100 score in the final, where they performed a “Baahubali-meets-Spartans” act.
“It is always a special feeling to put India on the global map,” said Suresh Mukund, 31, the lead choreographer and founder of the troupe. “When we started off, a few members of our crew didn’t even have proper pants… All of us are from middle- and lower-middle-class families, and we have done everything together from scratch.”
Mukund founded the group in 2008 and the going was tough for the first couple of years.
“Finance was one of the major issues when we started off… we had to ask for money from our families. We never got many shows that would pay us to perform,” said Mukund, adding that at some places, they won only ₹500 as prize money.
The Kings’ first claim to fame was their win in the third season of India’s Got Talent in 2011. “That was the turning point… Our success at the Hip-Hop Dance Championship 2015 [a global event in Las Vegas], where we won the bronze medal changed things for good, and we got offers that helped us sustain ourselves as a group,” said Mukund.
The win in an international contest helped the crew’s real-life fairy-tale find its way on to reels, with filmmaker Remo D’Souza’s ABCD 2 (Anybody Can Dance 2) (2015) tracing their journey from Mumbai to Las Vegas.
D’Souza, who had earlier worked with them in ABCD (2013) too, now plans to cast them in his next film.
“Winning the World of Dance is a big achievement. It is undoubtedly a very proud moment,” said D’Souza. “They have always played a big role in my films, and will have a prominent role in my next, Street Dancer 3D, too,” said the filmmaker on Tuesday.
Life has a come a full circle for the crew, consisting of Mukund, Ritesh Vishwakarma, Karthik Priyadarshan, Shijin Ramesh, Chandan Acharya, Sunny Chatterjee, Mohan Pandey, Charles Edward, Pratik Gojare, Prem Bhawar, Pavan Rao, Raja Das, Hardik Rawat, Akshay Varavdekar, Hritik Gupta and Naidu Vishwakarma. From performing at shows in Mumbai to finding their footing, The Kings will soon head on a world tour as the world’s best dance group.
“I always wanted to name the group Kings United, as I treat all my dancers as kings,” said Mukund.
Kings, they are, of the dance floor, for now.