There seems to be a mad rush amongst channels to conceive and air dance-based reality shows. Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhlaajaa, Zara Nachke Dikha, Boogie Woogie…the list is endless.
The latest addition to this list is Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. Colors. But this one is definitely unique in the sense it has paired one cricketer and one actress as a team, starting from the judge pair of Wasim Akram and Sushmita Sen.
"When UTV approached me for this show, I immediately said yes. It would have been foolish on my part to say no. I knew this would be immensely popular because all cricket lovers like to watch their favourite heroes dance on stage," says Ashima Bhalla who has been paired with Irfan Pathan in the show. "It was quite a revelation for me to see cricketers dance. They come on the sets, rehearse for a couple of hours and give a fantastic shot! I hope Irfan and I will go a long way," says the pretty actress.
After a bright beginning, Ashima was disqualified from the show as her partner Irfan Pathan failed to turn up. However, a couple of weeks later, Ashima and Irfan are back on Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena.
Speaking on her return, Ashima says, “It weren’t the judges but the channel and the production house that took a call to have us back on the show as they felt it was a unfair decision to disqualify us. Neither the judges nor any of our opponents had any objection to this.”
Ashima is not a trained dancer and feels that in such a show, that is not required. "Here every step is choreographed. So even if you are a trained dancer, there is precious little for you to do here. That way it is a level playing field for everyone."
The pretty actress is all praise for the judge-duo Wasim Akram and Sushmita Sen. "They are so humble and polite, it is truly unbelievable. Till now whatever we have done has been appreciated by them. I sometimes wonder how they will point out our mistakes!"
Commenting on her partner, she says, “Irfan isn’t as reticent as he’s made out to be. It takes him time to open up. However, he’s a real sweet heart. Being a cricketer, you expect him to talk on cricket but Irfan also spoke on dancing. We had a great time with each other.”
For Ashima, this show has come as a good comeback vehicle. She was off the radar ever since Meri Awaaz Ko Mil Gayee Roshni went off air. "Sudha – the role I played – was one of the sweetest role on Indian television. It was the first 20th Century Fox production in Indian television and I guess they could not balance the needs of the show's creative team and that of the channel well enough for the serial to sustain longer. This was one of the few serials which had its own songs and did not rely on Hindi film songs."
Ashima was not sitting idle after her serial went off air. "I was mostly getting offers from typical saas bahu serials and was tired of saying no. so I decided to venture down South and did nine films there, including Rowdy with Prabhu Deva, Daddy with Chiranjeevi and Jeshtu with Vishnu Vardhan. All of them have been released."