India’s Got Talent winners Sonali and Sumanth of Bivash Dance Academy with Shah Rukh Khan at the show’s finale on Saturday night
On Saturday night, 13-year-old Sumanth from Bhubaneswar and Sonali, 7, from Bongaon danced their way to the India’s Got Talent crown. t2 caught up with the knee-high movers and shakers shortly after their winning act on Colors.
Sumanth: I still haven’t recovered from the shock that we have won such a huge title. I always had it at the back of my mind. We had a good chance of winning but our competitors Mukesh, Tanya and Deepraj were also very good. This is my first reality show and to win such a huge title is a very big achievement. I was overjoyed when our names were announced.
Sonali: I never thought we would win. Till some time ago, I didn’t even know that a dance form called salsa existed! My parents work in the fields and they can’t imagine that I have come this far.
Sumanth: I have been learning dance for the last three years, but that was predominantly Bollywood dance. For the last one year, I have been learning salsa.
Sonali: I have been interested in dance ever since I was four years old, but only when Bivash sir (of Bivash Dance Academy) chose me to join his academy that I started receiving formal training.
Sumanth: After watching Calcutta group BAD Salsa’s dream run on India’s Got Talent last year, my father contacted Bivash sir. I went to Calcutta and joined his academy. Eventually, Sonali and I were selected to represent our academy at India’s Got Talent.
Sonali: Bivash sir thought that the ‘kind’ of salsa we do hasn’t really been done anywhere. He thought that our talent should be shown to everyone.
Sumanth: My father supports me a lot. He has sacrificed a lot to make sure that I travelled from Bhubaneswar to Calcutta every weekend this past one year to practice. Even my school (Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bhubaneswar) has been very supportive. My school organised several campaigns to drum up support for Sonali and me. My classmates have also appealed on Facebook and Twitter for support.
Sonali: My parents aren’t very aware of the kind of dance I do but they have always stood by me.
Sumanth: We are very good friends. She considers me to be her brother. She trusts me a lotů she knows that no matter how dangerous a dance step is, I will always be there to hold her and make sure she doesn’t get hurt. Our perfect coordination is the result of 14 hours of practice everyday.
Sonali: Dada supports me a lot. If he wasn’t my partner, I wouldn’t have won India’s Got Talent. We make a great team.
THE WINNING MOMENT WITH SHAH RUKH KHAN, KATRINA KAIF AND ANUSHKA SHARMA
Sumanth: To be crowned winners before Shah Rukh Khan sir and to dance with him was a dream come true. I also danced with Katrina ma’am and Anushka ma’am and they were both sweet.
Sonali: Shah Rukh Khan is my favourite actor. He danced with me and made me sit on his lap. I was so happy!
THE NEXT DANCE Sumanth: We want to perform internationally and participate in events like the World Salsa Championship that happens every year.
Sonali: I just want to keep dancing!
BIVASH CHOWDHURY OF BIVASH DANCE ACADEMY, Lake Gardens
When my group BAD Salsa lost (to Suresh & Vernon Group from Mumbai) last year in the finals, I had promised myself that I would come back and make sure that my students won this year.
Sonali and Sumanth are my best students, but even four months ago, they hadn’t even heard of salsa! I had to groom them, especially Sonali who comes from a very needy family — both her parents work in the fields in their village in Bongaon.
All the three gravity-defying performances they had put up on the show were appreciated. The biggest high for me was when the judges (Kirron Kher, Karan Johar and Farah Khan) said that Sonali and Sumanth were the “gods of dance”!
After the win, we have got offers to perform in 29 countries and I am planning a world tour with Sonali and Sumanth soon.
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