The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 3 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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How Jhalak was won

Four months and numerous performances later, television heart-throb Gurmeet Choudhary walked away with the Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa trophy and a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh on Sunday night. t2 caught up with Gurmeet after the win…

Has the feeling sunk in yet?

All my efforts over the past four months have paid off. I am very happy. I don’t have the words to express what I’m feeling right now!

What was the winning moment like?

When my name was announced, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry, I wanted to hug everyone who was there with me on that stage, I even wanted to break into a little dance! I think it’s the first time in my life that I have experienced so many emotions at the same time. I was actually shouting: ‘Main jeet gaya, main jeet gaya!’ The first thing I did was go down on my knees and thank all my fans for voting for me and helping me win.

How would you describe your Jhalak journey?

I always knew that my fans would back me and vote for me, no matter what. But I am proud to say that I chipped in with great performances through the show and made sure I never let my fans down. In the beginning, I wasn’t that good because I came in as a complete non-dancer. My body was stiff and every move seemed very awkward to me. But as the show progressed, I got more and more comfortable and learnt to loosen up. I used to get very nervous before my acts, but that actually helped me because I work well under pressure. Of course, today I was very, very scared after entering the top two because I realised that I genuinely had a chance to win Jhalak.

How did you go from a non-dancer to such a major mover?

I can dance, but unlike some of the other contestants on the show, my background wasn’t that of a professional dancer. I was conscious of that when I came in. I always knew that my fans would keep voting for me but I was also sure of the fact that I had to match the support of my fans with sincere effort from my end. I never wanted my fans to say: ‘Hum vote toh karte hain lekin Gurmeet ka dance itna achcha nahi hota’. Living up to the expectations of my fans kept me going through the show.

When I started out, I used to get very low marks… 6 or 7 (out of 10). However, after the first four episodes, I pulled myself together and started scoring well. I remember I scored a 10 on 10 in three or four consecutive performances. That gave me a lot of confidence. I realised that I had it in me to be a dancer and after that, I continued challenging myself and trying to better myself in every round.

Pick your most memorable moments...

First would be the opportunity to dance in front of a talented producer-director like Karan Johar. When he told me, ‘Gurmeet, you are a fantastic dancer and a fabulous actor’, I was so overwhelmed. All the three judges (Karan Johar, Madhuri Dixit and Remo D’Souza) were very supportive and even when they criticised, they ensured that I took it in a constructive manner. Then the acts in which I played different characters, whether it was a villain, Dracula or even a lion, were very memorable because they made me realise that I had it in me to slip into different images effortlessly. The audience used to wait to see what new character I would appear in. That was a huge high.

Who was your toughest competition?

Very frankly, from the first day my competition was only with myself. That’s because every week I wanted to put up something that was better than the previous week. Of course, as the weeks went on, I got a little worried because I was running out of new ideas. And when the wild-card round happened and so many other talented dancers came in, I had to push myself even more.

How do you plan to leverage this win?

Jhalak gave me an opportunity to present a new Gurmeet to my fans. Before this, people had seen me in brooding, serious roles. Jhalak allowed me to show everyone that I can dance, loosen up and have fun. I plan to harness this experience to do stage shows, but my ultimate goal is to get into films. Everyone has seen me in soaps and on the dance floor. The next step is the big screen.

Priyanka Roy

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