It was Jai Ho indeed for Ajay Lohar, who emerged winner of Disney Hotstar’s Home Dancer with his extraordinary performance to the popular Slumdog Millionaire track.
Lohar, 25, has no formal training in dance but went on to woo celebrity judges and viewers alike, winning a prize-money of Rs 1 lakh.
He was declared winner on episode six of the show on Thursday.
Home Dancer is an online dance competition where participants are required to shoot a video and submit their entries through the Hotstar mobile app.
The dancers are judged by celebrity choreographers Chandni Srivastava and Sushant and hosted by television actor Karan Wahi. Actress Jacqueline Fernandes launched the show.
Ajay, who comes from a humble family in Birsanagar, after stints with boxing and football, finally discovered his true passion in dance.
He earns a living through choreography at weddings and performing at local stage shows.
Dancer Ajay Lohar in Jamshedpur on Thursday Picture by Bhola Prasad
When a city-based choreographer, Nikhil Mukhi, suggested him to participate in the online contest, he immediately agreed.
“I shot the single-frame video in four takes. I was exhausted due to the stunts performed on a rough floor as I shot it in our courtyard. I was bleeding but I think the labour didn’t go in vain. I have dedicated this achievement to all Covid warriors,” said Lohar.
His performance won kudos from the judges as he performed stunts with the limited resources available at home during the lockdown.
He performed backflips and even an air spin, managed with his aunt’s saree and a bamboo pole tightly attached to two buildings.
“I wanted to do something different. I used a saree and a bamboo pole to perform my spin. Dance gives me a unique satisfaction,” he said.
His performance was showcased on episode five of the series and results were declared on Thursday.
Local dance groups also pitched in to garner votes for Lohar.
There is no age limit for the competition.
The judges shortlist the best videos per episode followed by voting for a limited period.
On what he would do with the prize-money, he said, “I will use some to support my family and the rest I shall use to support artistes and other people who need food during these difficult times.”