India has a very vibrant dance and song culture. Over the years, the umpteen dance reality shows have helped boost talent from different parts of the country. However, these dance reality shows also have their own set of downsides. In an exclusive conversation with Bollywood Hungama, actor-dancer Sandeepa Dhar shared her views on dance reality shows and what she feels needs to be changed. The actress has been dancing ever since she was toddler and is also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer.
When asked if dance reality shows have helped boost the dance culture in India, Sandeepa said, “I definitely feel that dance reality shows have boosted the dance culture in India for sure. In India we still don’t think of dance as a career option. But for sure the dance reality shows have also helped in bringing a lot more dance forms to the forefront. It’s also giving an opportunity to someone sitting in a small town but who has a lot of talent. It has given them the opportunity and a platform to showcase that talent. I think that’s great because now you have people from smaller towns and they are making a name for themselves. It shows India has so much talent; we just need to scout it correctly. A lot of people who win these dance reality shows are doing films, doing stage shows, award functions. I think that has happened only because of these reality shows.”
Further when asked if she would ever consider participating in a reality dance show, the actress said, “Off course, if there is something like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ in India, then I would definitely like to participate. What does need to change in dance reality shows is that there is a lot of gimmicky and there is less dancing that is happening. People are relying on acrobatics and the wow factors in order to win these reality shows. But dance at the end of the day is about dance. It is not much about whether you can do an aerial act or if you can do a flip or a jump or a lift. Proper dancing has got diluted because of these reality shows. I think that we need to correct.”
Sandeepa also shared her take on item numbers in films. There has been a moral debate around it for the past couple of years. Sharing her thoughts on it, Sandeepa said, “I dislike the term item numbers. I think it is degrading because why call it item number. Who is the item in this? Is the woman the item in it. I am not too sure why they are called item numbers. I would just call it a song or special song.”
“I feel like I have always shied away from doing these songs because most of these songs sexualise women too much and they don’t show women in a more empowering light. It’s always very sexualised which I have a problem with. I did a song for Kaagaz, only because it did not sexualise the woman and the lyrics of the song were talking about the beauty of the man as opposed to talking about a woman and her body. For me all of these things are very important. I want everything to be aesthetically correct. And as a woman, as someone who is out there and has a following, I also feel it’s my responsibility to put out ideas of a strong woman out there and not as just being someone who is something that you would sexualise. I have a problem with that for sure,” she added.
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