‘Popping’ up a surprise

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Jan 2019 14:07:39


By Iffat Amjad Sheikh,

Armed with a very unusual hairdo and some amazing popping skills, he is sure to charm his way into people’s heart. Meet Chetan Salunkhe, one of the finalists of Star Plus popular show Dance Plus Season 4. Being brought up in a lesser privileged background from Pune with parents surviving on odd jobs, the only thing on his mind was to eat a day’s meal and take his dancing to a professional level. Each day brought newer challenges as his attempts to enter the previous three seasons of Dance Plus never brought positive results. But he never allowed himself to be bowed down by failures and instead came much stronger in Season 4.

“I always cherished the dream of seeing myself on TV and make my parents proud. I always had the longing of helping my parents live a better life as I have seen the daily grind from a close quarter. My initial days were challenging as I had done some odd jobs like distributing newspapers or in catering service to help my family. I struggled for descent clothes or even for a pair of shoes. But I somehow managed to keep the ‘dancing keeda’ alive and watched YouTube videos to learn the art of popping. Gradually, I developed the liking for popping as an art form. And then my journey took the baby steps with close friends chipping in at the right time. It was wholly for friends that I am here today in front of you, dancing, entertaining and earning as well,” reveals the shy dancer while talking about his journey.

Belonging to Team Punit, he appreciates his captain’s conviction in him so that he could bring a variety to the table. “Punit sir has always motivated me to do my best. He always encourages me to add variety to the art of popping. It is his effort that I feel I have improvised so much on this show and I would remain indebted to him for showing faith in me and bringing out my hidden capability on this show, that I was unaware of,” says the school dropout.

Marquese Scott and Poppin John are his two idols whom he follows very keenly. Without any formal training in popping, it was just seeing and learning for him. He says he seriously pays attention to each word of the ultimate judge, Remo D’Souza and tries to improvise on each of his performance. “I feel it is a blessing for me that I am able to perform infront of Remo sir, whom I have watched and emulated on TV. He has very honest comments, which compels you to improve upon yourself as an artist and give your best short,” feels the lanky guy.

After receiving appreciation from guest celebrities on the show, the one thing that he cherishes the most is the gesture shown by Govinda. “Govinda sir came as a guest on one of the shows and he gifted me a kit which had a T-shirt and shoes and some stuff which was very useful. He narrated his story of how a Virar boy from a lesser privileged background made it big in the film industry and motivated me to stay focused to achieve my goal. That was a big day in my life. And my passion doubled the very moment. Shah Rukh Khan sir too appreciated my tribute of Don, which was very overwhelming and encouraging. The others on the show are good competitors and the finale will be a challenging affair”, continues the ‘Popping King’ on the show.

Quip him what are the future plans and he coyly says, “I have planned nothing in life. If I win the show, I would gift the entire prize money to my mother and help them secure a safe future. The first priority for us is to built a descent house and the rest will soon follow. My father, being an autorickshaw driver has struggled a lot, I want to give him rest and the ease of running the house without any tension,” discloses the modern day ‘Shravan Kumar’.
He feels that popping is the sole source of his bread and butter and would like to make a name for himself in this dance form. With his impromptu act at the press meet, he surely surprised everyone with his dance moves and is confident of taking the trophy and prize money home.

Vartika Jha, V Unbeatables, Aanchal and Sujan and Chetan Salunkhe are the four finalists on the show, who will fight a tough battle to win the coveted crown. So don’t forget to vote for apla Marathi manoos Chetan Salunkhe and help his realise his dream on Dance Plus Season 4 on Star Plus this weekend! n