Sunday, May 31, 2009

Polio survivor dances on TV show in India

From Sindh Today:

NEW DELHI, India -- He dances on swords, nails and broken pieces of glass - he has mastered traditional Rajasthani dance forms and recently performed on television. But fame came the hard way to polio-stricken Sunil Parihar whose source of inspiration was Sudha Chandran and her movie “Naache Mayuri”.

“My parents told me that I got afflicted with polio when I was nine months old. Both my feet were affected with polio till I was 12-13 years old. Then my right foot got cured but my left foot is still not absolutely fine. But I continue to dance because I am very passionate about it,” Parihar told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

The 34-year-old, who performed on May 27’s episode of Sony TV’s new multi-talent reality show “Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega”, says he couldn’t even walk properly until he was nine years old. But gradually he not only started walking but also prepared himself for a performance at an annual school function. Since then there has been no looking back.

“When I reached class eight, I performed at my school’s annual function. I danced to Ila Arun’s ‘Resham Ka Roomal’ song which used to be very popular in schools back then. My photograph even came in the local newspaper and I was motivated to dance better,” narrated Parihar, who is originally from Pali, Rajasthan.

He says danseuse-actress Sudha Chandran’s biopic “Naache Mayuri”, which he saw nearly two decades back, inspired him the most. Sudha lost one leg in an accident but she continued dancing with an artificial leg.

“My inspiration primarily came from ‘Naache Mayuri’ which I saw 15-20 years back thanks to my school. They wanted to show handicapped children how a woman who has no leg went on to become a dancer. That struck the chord within me. I thought that if a person with no leg can dance, I can do it as well,” he said.

Until 2004, Parihar used to only perform traditional Rajasthani folk forms such as ‘ghoomar’ and ‘bhawai’. He learnt Kathak for six months but what interested him more were people dancing on broken pieces of glass or nails while balancing several pots on their heads.

“In 2004, I went to perform in a Rajasthan government function where I saw a man doing ‘bhawai’ on broken pieces of glass and on sharp nails. That’s when I thought of including it in my performance as well. Since then, I started performing on swords, nails, glass etc with pots on my head,” he said.

Parihar’s performance on the TV show comprised balancing seven earthen pots on fire on his head as well as dancing on two swords. He not only impressed the judges - Annu Malek and Farah Khan - but also won Rs.10,000 and a chance to feature on the week’s grand finale Friday. He would be battling with other contestants for a Rs.500,000 prize.

If he wins, it would be a major relief for Parihar and his wife, who have been staying in Mumbai for the past five years and trying to survive. He is also hoping that Farah Khan, an acclaimed choreographer-director, would use his talent in her films.