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Dance shows on TV: Are they talent spotters?

Radhika Bhirani
28 April 2013

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) "Dance India Dance - Super Moms", "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" and "India's Dancing Superstar" - the Indian small screen seems to be bracing for a lot of dancing in the coming months. To some, it may appear to be an "overdose" of glitzy dance reality shows, but many hail the trend, saying such dance shows not only encourage talent but enhance the entertainment quotient on the small screen.

Celebrity couple dance show "Nach Baliye" and the subsequent "Nach Baliye Shriman v/s Shrimati" wrapped up just recently on Star Plus, and the channel's new show - "India's Dancing Superstar" (IDS) is already on air.

Dance overdose?

"Audiences are liking it and that's why there is one more dance show (every now and then)," reasons choreographer Geeta Kapur, who is a judge on IDS along with Ashley Lobo and actor Riteish Deshmukh. She has earlier judged shows like "Dance India Dance", "DID L'il Masters", "DID Doubles" and "Dance Ke Superkids".

In the recent past, shows like "Dance India Dance", "Just Dance", "India's Got Talent", "Dancing Queen", "Dance Premier League", "Chak Dhoom Dhoom" and "Nachle Ve", have come, gone, shut and even returned. Many have even seen the association of Bollywood celebrities like Shilpa Shetty, Karan Johar, Hrithik Roshan, Farah Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Urmila Matondkar and Malaika Arora Khan.

But the pioneering dance reality show in India was "Boogie Woogie", which went on air in 1995 and continued for 15 years.

Naved Jafri, who, along with his brother Javed and Ravi Behl, formed the team for the trendsetting show, rues how dance reality shows are now the "same thing over and over again", with focus on "business".

"People are now concentrating on big sets. We rarely see innovation. In 'Boogie Woogie', we used to keep family values intact and we treated our contestants as our guests. Now, it's all a big business," Jafri told IANS.

He said the popularity of such dance shows is inevitable, but it's important to make them with a "heart".

"In our country, every house has a singer, a dancer and an artist. It's just that they didn't have adequate platforms earlier. Now they are getting that through not just TV, but also the internet," said Naved, who revealed that plans to get "Boogie Woogie" back are underway.

"Boogie Woogie", throughout its record run, had it all - an edition for kids, moms, fathers, groups and couples," Naved said, adding that a real show is one that "gives a chance to people who don't get a chance".

Reality shows at large, have turned out to be fruitful platforms for talent across the nation's length and breadth, making stars out of common men, women and children. Singing shows and talent shows have given the entertainment industry a lot of talented performers in the recent past.

Even as dance shows continue to blaze a trail season after season, choreographer Ashley Lobo, who is making his debut as a judge on TV with IDS, pointed out the brighter aspect.

"One can see it as an overdose or one can see it as what you're getting out of it. On the face of it, it could look like an overdose, but if one looks closely, each one is different and highlights different aspects," Lobo told IANS.

In a way, he is right - if IDS gives a chance to aspirants of all age groups and those specialising in any style of dance, "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" brings a range of celebrities on the dance floor for a neck-to-neck competition, while "Dance India Dance - Super Moms" is a unique platform for mothers who are aspiring dancers.

So who's putting on their dancing shoes?

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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