A few moments with AMRITA TV Super Dancer Junior Final 3 Winner – Shradha Gokul
Greetings to you Shradha. You have been one of the contestants of the recently concluded Super Dancer Junior programme conducted by Amrita TV. Participating in a talent hunt show of this calibre to find out the best amongst children of your age, it gave a feast to all the viewers and the contestants. It is the same interest of the viewers that made me now approach you for a brief and casual talk to find how your progress is after the post-elimination from this show. Feel free to express your thoughts in your own simple way.
1. Shradha, congratulations for participating in the Super Dancer Junior Competition and getting selected to the top 3 level. How did you hear about this programme?
From the promotional advertisements in the AMRITA TV.
2. How did you find the different stages of the competition? Particularly on the challenges thrown to you to perform non-conventional rounds.
It was highly competitive but my teachers and my parents made me feel at ease and supported me. They kept telling me that participating is more important than winning and asked me to do my best.
3. Who is your Guru? Could you please give us an idea how you went about preparing for each round.
My Guru for Cinematic dance is Mrs Sajana Najam who is a popular choreographer and has done several shows for major events. My classical guru is Mr Nanthencode Vinayachandran a highly respectable Guru in Trivandrum.
Sajana teacher was like a friend to me. It was like a second home to me during the period of the competition. I used to stay there and prepare my rounds with total devotion and passion most of the time past midnight. My mom, Sapna and grandparents used to accompany me and encourage me all the time. My dad, Gokul, used to support me over the phone as he was away. I was able to learn and memorize the steps because of all their love, encouragement and support. My mom, grandparents, teacher, her two daughters and umma ( teacher’s mother) use to sit and discuss about the rounds and in a day or two we prepare for yet another exciting round.
4. How was the support given by the Amrita TV channel in terms of co-ordination and arrangements for contestants like you.
They did support, but it was very minimal considering the expenses incurred particularly for Sets and costumes. My parents and grandparents did spend a lot for costumes, transport, sets and training. Amrita use to pay 2000/- per round, whereas each round consists of 4-5 dances , which required upto Rs. 50000. Support was given by the make up team consisting of Sobha aunty, Raju uncle, lovely Aunty and her team.
Good Food was also supplied to us on the day of shoot.
5. How do you rate the grooming sessions before each stage of this competition? Did you all get sufficient notification about each stage and also did you get sufficient guidance about how your performance should be for each one of them?
Most of the contestants did not get necessary guidance, neither could they know much about their future rounds and that was clearly visible in the property round where most of them were not aware of any such round as it was not explained or told in the grooming sessions. We were not at all supported in song selection and this was another area of great stress.
6. How do you rate the other contestants who participated along with you? Did you all get along well?
All the contestants were equally good and nice. The parents were more stressed and appeared angry at many decisions but we 15 contestants were good friends and had a very nice time. Anna is one of my best friends. Whenever we get time, we contact each other and exchange pleasantries. Navaneeth sometimes spends his night at our home, after the Kuttichathan shoot whenever his mom goes to Calicut.
7. Was there any stress on you with regards to the SMS votes / campaign which was a part of the requirement for getting through to the next level in each stage? How did you work on this, especially in your case, being from an ordinary family compared to the other rich contestants.
Yes SMS is something that makes me very unhappy and stressed. It was the sad part of the whole show where I used to feel very depressed and often cried. I never understood why the person who has the money to send more SMS can win !!! Even though my parents did not let me know, I used to feel sad and bad when I saw them running here and there begging votes. The channel people put me in danger zone and Amrita staff used to call my parents asking them to send more SMS to save me and I know that they did spend a lot of money to get me to the safer zone. My parents had to spend very little for my other expenses, while they spend a lot for SMS. It created a lot of stress and spoilt the fun of the show. Thousands of SMS sent by my fans abroad, and in India were not enough for the channel and many thousand SMS sent by our family friends and relatives bounced during the finals. There were thousands of returned messages. My parents did spend a fortune that could have been used for education to send SMS. I have heard people talk about how SMS decided the winner and not the talent and this I think is very unfortunate, sad and unjustified.
8. What do you rate amongst the various stages for this particular competition as the toughest round? What was the reason that made you say this particular round as very challenging.
The toughest round for me was the horror round which I couldn’t do well. I have never known about this kind of dance before. It was really a horror for me. I am also particularly sad that they did not include a classical dance round.
9. Looking back at this competition after elimination, do you feel, the stages set were tough or that you could have performed well in those?In certain rounds I use to feel I could have performed better.
Especially the comedy and the horror round. Stages set was not that tough.
10. How often you give performances? How many hours normally you practise?
I am a classical dancer and I normally practice 2-3 hrs most of the days.
11. Other than dance, are you learning any musical instruments or any other extra-curricular activities?
Other than dance I am learning music. Now I am acting in a children’s teleserial Kuttichathan telecast by Asianet during prime time. I am playing the role of Varsha Menon, nick name ” bubbles”. people also call me Maychathan because of the role I played in a few episodes.
12. I understand you are good at studies. Tell me something about your activities other than those involved with dance.
I am interested in listening to good music. I love to play computer games and listen to stories. My dad has brought me a lot of Disney movies and I love to watch them one by one, whenever I get time.
13. Which grade/school you are attending and what was the reaction from the school, your friends and well wishers when they came to know about your participation in Super Dancer Junior?
I am studying in 6th std . My principal Rev. Fr. Mathew Chackalakal was my die hard supporter. He encouraged me a lot and was always there as a promoter. Friends, teachers and relatives had supported me a lot. My friends respect me and love me more than ever after this program and they often talk about my performances.
14. Did you get any support/recognition from any associations or any other news media channels for your excellent performance in this competition?
Yes, News paper ‘s like Rashtradeepika had recently published a page long feature about me in all Kerala and US editions.
15. Who is your favourite Dancer? And who else do you like to follow closely from this field?
Shobhana and Dr. Padma Subramaniam are my favourties, because both are very innovative, talented and highly creative.
16. What are your future plans? What do you want to become – other than a Dancer?
First choice is to reach greater heights in classical dance and also to choose a profession that will help me help others.
17. Do you get noticed when you travel within Kerala after participation in this show. How do you handle this popularity / recognition/encouragements.
Yes, ofcourse and I will remain ever grateful to Amrita TV for this popularity and good wishes that the show generated. I feel so proud and good when many people walk up to me in public places and tell me that they consider me as their super dancer junior.
Most of the days I get Phone calls from India and abroad. Some of the frequent callers are sri Venu of almanara communications, Dubai, Rajeev chetan and Suraj chettan from Baharain, venu uncle from kannur, shobith chettan from kannur Praveen chetta from kasargode and many more. They were in particular very very supportive. Sri Venu from Dubai has been exceptionally kind and supportive.
18. Tell me anything additional you want to include here
But the greatest achievement is that when I met Mata Amirtanandnamayi. She burst into laughter like a child and told me that “Molu ni ende channelil adichu polikkeyanallo”. I and my grandparents were surprised that she recognized me and this I consider is my greatest reward or prize. My dad always tells me to wish for others more than I wish for myself and I try to put this in daily practice.
Be sure of my prayers and best wishes to all of you. I am very grateful to you all for supporting me and promoting me.
Now let us see some of her excellent performances during this competition.
Shradha’s group dance in super dancer
Chamma Chamma By Sradha
Reng Heynasheela By Shradha
Sunno Tum Dil Man By Sradha
chinna chinna asai