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When Grandmaster Mithun stood up and saluted me, I was overwhelmed: Sanket Gaonkar

Thursday, February 22, 2018
By Raju Vemekar

Human ingenuity has no limit as proved by  22-year-old Sanket Gaonkar, the talented son of a farmer from Ankola town (known for its iconic Mahamaya Lakshmi Narayan temple) near Karwar in North Canara district of  Karnataka. The agile Sanket has emerged the ‘Ultimate Dance Superstar’ at the  fiercely contested “Dance India Dance” (DID) Season-6  on Zee TV and has received the coveted ‘Taqdeer Ki Sunehri Topi’. A  passionate contemporary dancer with incredible dancing skills, Sanket aspires to become a choreographer in Bollywood. While Sanket received a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, finalists Sachin Sharma and Piyush Gurbhele were the first and second runners-up respectively. Choreographers Mudassar Khan, Marzi Pestonji and Mini Pradhan were the mentors, while the show was hosted by exuberant actress Amruta Khanvilkar and Sahil Khattar.  The modest Sanket spoke exclusively to The Afternoon D & C. Excerpts:

How has been your journey at DID? 
I am really excited and thankful to the channel for giving me this amazing opportunity. It was a great experience. I consider myself lucky that I was selected in the top 18, got selected in the top five and eventually emerged as the winner. My happiness knows no bounds.
How was your mood during the performance?
I was thrilled as well as scared. I was at a height of 50 feet as I danced to the tunes of the 'Dhoom 3' chartbuster, 'Malang'. It was scary and difficult at first but I’m glad the risk paid off.

What is your dance background ?
I used to get trained under my uncle, who was a dancer, when I was in Class 8. Unfortunately, he passed away in a car accident. Thereafter I have been dancing to keep my passion alive. I watched videos on YouTube and practiced for hours on the beach near my home. Unfortunately Ankola doesn’t have dance schools, so I learned while performing at small functions and during the annual day events in school.
Is this your first award ?
No. This is the second award. I had won ETV Telugu’s 'Dhee Jodi', last year. The experience I gained in that show, boosted my confidence and gave me an insight about my talent, my strength and weaknesses.
What are your future plans?
I plan to shift to Mumbai next month. I wish to become a successful choreographer in Bollywood. I wish to work with Salman Khan and Tiger Shroff. I had received the opportunity to meet Salmanbhai and perform in his presence on this show. In fact I wish to choreograph a hook step for him, whom I consider as my idol.
Which was your best moment through the journey?
The best moment was when my mother visited DID and I dedicated ‘Chunar’ song to her. I called her on stage and gifted her a gold ring. It was a very emotional moment for me.
How was your bonding with the judges?
I am thankful to all the three judges, motivating and guiding me. Ever since I took my first steps in the show as a part of ‘Master Mini Ke Master Blasters’, I wanted to learn everything about dance. Mini Maa and her team trained me thoroughly. All of them polished me and taught me the right techniques. It is because of Mini Maa and her team that I have improved tremendously as a dancer.
How was your bonding with Mithunda ?
Grandmaster Mithunda always gave me a grand salute, after every solo performance. After I performed to “Phir Mohabbat Karne Chala Hai Tu”, super-mentor Mithunda was the first one to stand up and give me a grand salute. I was extremely touched and really overwhelmed by his magnanimous gesture.
What about your education?
I did my schooling from Nirmala Hridaya High school, Ankola. Now I have given my S.Y. B.Sc exams and I plan to complete my graduation. My elder brother has already completed his engineering course.
Did you face any language barriers ?
Not really,  because I am good at Hindi and follow Marathi a little bit. Actually, Konkani is my mother tongue and Kannada is my working language.
What do you plan to do with the 'prize money' ?
My father is a farmer. My mother and I along with my elder brother assist him. We have a farm in the village and I plan to make a small house there and gift it to my parents.

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