“When children are dancing they are special” – Vindu Dara Singh

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Fans of the reality show Big Boss will recognize Vindu Dara Singh from Season 3 where he survived 84 days in the house and emerged the winner! Besides taking on reality television, Vindu is also an actor. You might have seen him on other television shows including playing Lord Hanuman in the TV serial Jai Shri Hanuman. Plus, he has made appearances in some films. He made quite the impression in a song in Kambakht Ishq, but I will let him tell you about that. Up next for the man, who was named ‘Bade dil wala’ (man with a golden heart), is a new dance show Chak Dhoom Dhoom. The show is a dance competition and the contestants are children ages 4-15. Vindu is part of a panel of judges that includes Saroj Khan and Ahmed Khan, and he says he is the voice of the common man. We had a great talk about the auditions for the show, the show itself and how great the kids are…in fact they are “too good” according to Vindu. Check out what he had to say about Chak Dhoom Dhoom.

Tell us about your experience being on Big Boss and what was it like to be declared the winner?

That was the best moment of Big Boss to be declared the winner, because the other experience wasn’t so great. It is an awful show and it’s very, very hard. While I was in the house I was really enjoying myself – the first 2-3 weeks were hard, but the rest of the time the time just flew away. But, now when I have come out and have started watching it sometimes, I realized it was the worst and toughest place to be. It was one of life’s toughest moments that I have spent, I think. We were lucky in that house, we did not know what was going on behind our backs, but once you start watching the show you realize, oh God, this is really terrible. To be honest I would never do it again… that is all.

On to your new show Chak Dhoom Dhoom, tell us about the dance competition

It is a very, very lovely concept. There have been shows with kids dancing before, but this one is a little different, because we have gone all over India and we have selected children from everywhere. We are also selecting some children from England so, that will be very, very great, and that would be the first time. We have a lovely bunch of kids who are just exceptional. It is so much fun to watch them dance. It is unbelievable. I think people are really going to love this show. It is starting on the 30th.

How did you decide to become part of the project?

Well, when I came out of the Big Boss house I was keen to do any work that Colors would offer me because I think I owe them all the success that I have. They immediately offered me this show and I said, ‘Okay, I will do it, but I hope you know that I am not such a great dancer. I am like Sunny Deol and all these guys with two left feet’. They said, ‘Don’t worry about it. We need a person who speaks the truth’. I said, ‘Well, then you can definitely take me’. They wanted me as a common man as a judge – just a normal being who is watching telly and whatever you would say as you watch the show, that’s the same kind of thing I should be saying. That is what I am doing and I am having a blast!

These contestants are kids, have you been surprised by the talent of the auditions?

Yes! We went to six big cities of India and kids from small towns also came to those auditions. We went to Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Bhopal. The crew would be there for 2-3 days and then we would come on a Sunday. The kids they selected over those 2-3 days, we would look at those 70-80 children and try and pick up 4-5-6 or however many we like. We ended up taking 40 when we only needed 12 – actually we ended up taking even more than 40. They are so talented, it is unbelievable. It’s so sad to see a child’s heart break when he doesn’t get selected, but this is just fun and they are all natural dancers, but for some, on that given day somebody is better.

What types of dance styles were done in the auditions, was it all Bollywood?

Most of these kids who came were doing all types of dances. Some were doing Bollywood, some were doing hip-hop, some were doing bopping, some were doing the classical dances of India. There was so much of a variety, but we are very lucky that we have Bosco and Cesar, who are great dance masters themselves. They were the ones that were doing the selection process and they are the ones that have the maximum responsibility for the show. They would see the children first, then they would have kind of a short list where they knew that these kids can perform and the people would love them over the weeks. I think in Lucknow, for the first day there were around 3000 children. It was unbelievable to take the 3000 down to 30 or 40, that is very hard. We had an easier task selecting out of those children.

Any interesting auditions you can tell us about?

There are lots and lots and lots of interesting things that have happened in these auditions, because each child is special, you know that. It was so much fun that every city has its own story to tell. You will see it on the show when you see that there are people from different, different parts of India, even small, small towns. There was this kid in Ahmedabad – I remember that he believed that he could not be on the team. He was so sweet. We actually felt like why not put him through. He was so cute in what he was doing, but they said if they asked him to do anything else he would just freeze, but he was so lovely. Then there were parents with children that were handicapped and they really wanted them to take part in the show. They knew that their children could not go forward, but they wanted them to come to the audition and try. So, that if one of the kids in their class said, I am going for this, they might have said to their parents I want to go. The parents are great and the kids compete just as if they were absolutely perfect – some of them had different kinds of diseases and some had other problems and they were all there.

That is so amazing that they came and tried. I love that.

Yeah, it was amazing. I means kids with polio who are dancing, if you can imagine that. One of them does come and give a performance on the show. It was unbelievable. I asked Saroj-ji and Ahmed what made you take this child? They said it was amazing the kid wanted to dance, the parents wanted her to dance. She is dancing properly, taking the time and learning and dancing and if its what she likes to do it is the parents dream to make their child’s dream come true. Hats off to her parents.

You are also getting dancers from the UK…

Yes, that is what is happening and that is amazing! Colors has come to England and I have my friends calling me up and saying, yeah, we watched Bingo. I am sad. I wish it had come in earlier just three months because they did not get to watch Big Boss – they had to watch it on YouTube. I mean England is now a mini India. We love England, so I think it is very fair that the kids dancing there get an opportunity to come dance on this show. That is excellent! I have some friends in London and I remember their little child Shivam, I think he was 2 or 3 years old when I would play the CD of my movie Kambakht Ishq that kid would keep on dancing, even in the car. When I came back to India they told me you know he is still dancing on those tracks. So, that is how children are nowadays – they are all dancers.

When judging what did you look for?

We have seen so many kids it is unbelievable. If we see a nice child who is dancing properly, then you start to think okay this child can be in Chak Dhoom Dhoom definitely. I think the main thing is that when the child is performing it is the confidence level, because all of them are very good dancers. For example, when we ask him, ‘Okay, you have done this – can you do something else?’ 90% of them say yes, but 50-60% of them can actually do something different too. They are very small; you see they are six/seven years old. So, they have only trained in one style and they can just do that part – they can’t do other stuff. The kids that we have got they are the ones that can do other stuff too. But, then there are 80 kids and out of those 80 there are 40 who can really dance properly and out of those 40 you can take 5 or 6. When it starts melting down to those six, then it gets really troublesome, you know, just to select those six, the perfect six – because it is unfair that if a kid who is better doesn’t end up on the show. The three of us were having a lot of dilemma and I was very happy that I had Saroj Khan and Ahmed Khan, who are absolutely the champions of this. I could just be like the common guy and I would think okay this kid is excellent, guys, and they would say, you know I think that this is missing. If we felt that was justified or not then we would put the kid on standby and we would see them again at the end. We would have these days that would go from 9:30-10:00 in the morning to 11-12 in the night. It was hard for Saroj-ji but it was okay from Ahmed and me. It was very hard for the kids. Just imagine kids at 10 at night wanting to show that same kind of gusto and energy in dancing. Unbelievable.

So in the end you choose 40 kids and now?

We have tried to make this a family type of show where the kids come to Bombay; they have already been here for the last 15-20 days. There are 40 kids staying together and they are having a blast. They all get disappointed when somebody has to go back home, because they all know that there are only going to be 12 left. It is pretty sad. I am very happy that I am not part of this process because I think this is heart breaking. These kids are very tough, they are very tough and they are very relaxed. They enjoy life, it is to early for them to take any burdens and they are just having a blast, I think.

So, will we see you get up there and dance with the kids?

Well…Saroj-ji likes to pull my leg. She knows I am not so good and she does push me up there sometimes and I try and go and have fun. These kids, they are just TOO good! If I make a fool of myself it is okay (laughs). It is the kids that are laughing and the people that are laughing, because I love to dance. I love to sing too, but my family has banned me from singing.

Oh no, that is bad!

(Laughs) Yeah, I am banned. They made me promise that if I went on Big Boss I wouldn’t sing and I think I sang around 7-8 even 10 times in the 84 days, so I got a lots of firing for that.

What do you think makes a good dancer?

I think it is inborn. I think children start moving their feet when they are just one year old. As soon as the music is playing nearly all the kids start moving their feet. By the time they are two some of them move their hands too in synchronization…you know those are the ones that dance (laughs). It is unbelievable. People like us, maybe we would just keep moving our feet still when we were four, five, six, but the kids nowadays, they are multi-talented. They are just special. All of them.

What do you think audiences are going to love about Chak Dhoom Dhoom?

I think any time when you watch telly and you see a child dancing it’s just fantastic. So, to see the children dancing I think that is the main thing. It’s not the judges; it is not the people behind the camera or anything. It is just that when children are dancing they are special. The children are special anyway, so when they are dancing and doing such a great job…when a six year old is dancing to a Rekha song, oh man, it is unbelievable the way she is doing it so well, to another dancing to a Meena Kumari song. I mean these songs were out generations before these kids were born and now they are dancing to those songs. It is pretty amazing. If you can imagine we would not get bored the whole day watching them. So, how can you guys find one dull moment in the 40 to 50 minutes you will watch, it will be amazing. I think this will be THE show.

You have also been in some Bollywood films…can you tell us about those experiences.

Well, there is a song in Kambhakt Ishq, which I have done. It was a crazy song and instead of drinking a milkshake I end up drinking some Viagra (laughs). It was a crazy song and I got beaten up on that song. Everywhere, all the women were slapping the s*** out of me, so that is a different kind of thing. But, now I am a judge, I am a respectable citizen of this country – please realize that (laughs).

What is next for you?

There are 2 months of Chak Dhoom Dhoom and I really wanted to be concentrating on that. I really wanted to go see all 40 of the kids, spend time with them, get to know them, but I think we are not allowed because nobody wants to have a favorite. I have heard that on most of the shows the judges have their favorites, I am going to try really hard not to do that, but let’s see what happens. Once the Chak Dhoom Dhoom phase is over that is when I start 2-3 different movies. One or two with Akshay Kumar, there are several movies I have lined up. They are after May/June. Right now I am just going to be free for Chak Dhoom Dhoom.

Vindu certainly has made me excited about the show and I cannot wait to see these talented kids perform and see what he and the panel of judges has to say about the performances. I also cannot wait to see him dance! Be sure and watch Chak Dhoom Dhoom, which starts on April 30th on Colors.

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