By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: After winning the Nach Baliye title on Saturday night, television co-stars, real-life soul-mates and dancing partners Rithvik Dhanjani and Asha Negi are now off to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple together.
“This is our way of celebrating. Our way of saying thanks to the One who helped Asha and I to win,” says Rithvik, still quite dazed by the experience.
Says Rithvik, “Maybe others in our place would think of more exotic vacationing plans. But to us, nothing at the moment would be more joyous than a visit to the Golden Temple. God has been very kind. We owe Him a visit.”
The victory was not entirely unexpected. “It’s not as if I didn’t think I’d win. But still, when it happened it was a numbing experience.Asha and I have been working really hard, and now there’s that sense of emptiness which would last a while.Ever since we bagged the trophy on Saturday night we’ve been surrounded by family and friends.”
Rithvik then reveals that his partner was never much of a dancer. “Actually Asha had never danced before this show.So you could say she learnt dancing on the job. But I have been a passionate dancer from the time I could remember. Some people drink alcohol to unwind. I dance. As simple as that.I also participated in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. Now after Nach Baliye I don’t know where I’ll find a popular platform to dance. ”
Asha Negi modestly describes herself as a non-dancer. “Rithvik is a fantastic dancer.I was a non-dancer , to begin with.’Dheeli Dancer’ is how judge choreographer Terence Lewis described me at the beginning of the show. He was right. Initially I couldn’t dance to save my life. Rithvik not only had to manage his own dancing he also had to look out for me.Many times he had to scale down his dancing skills to match my steps.It’s only because of Rithvik that I was able to sustain myself through the show right up to the finals.”
Asha says she could feel the change in herself as a dancer. “As the weeks progressed I became more confident. I began to enjoy my steps. Now of course after winning I want to pursue my newly-found interest in dancing.”
By the end of the season Asha felt confident enough to win. “Did I think our closest contenders Gumeet Chowdhary-Debina Bonnerjee might win over us? To be honest, that thought didn’t cross our minds. Both the couples were neck-to-neck.And I only focused on Rithvik and I.”
Her dancing partner and Asha have been working together in the serial Pavitra Rishta. They do plan to marry, but not right away.
Says Asha shyly, “Rithvik is my best friend and soul mate. We are buddies. We like spending time together. And to our good fortune we do get a lot of time together since we’re working together in a long-running serial. So there is no urgent need to get married just to be close to one another. But yes , we do plan to get married. Rithvik wants to buy a home for us first.”