Public laughed at Shilpa Shetty: Akashdeep Sehgal
Monday, October 16, 2006 15:34 IST
By Subhash K Jha, Santa Banta News Network
/>Television actor Akashdeep Sehgal, who was eliminated from Sony's popular dance show "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa", doesn't regret his tirade against the judges - Farah Khan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shilpa Shetty.

Q: What was the need to pull up the judges when you got eliminated?
A: I didn't pull up the judges! All I did was to clean my spirit. People have taken it in the wrong sense. I can't allow anyone to take away spirit.

Q: So how was your spirit being crushed?
A: From Day 1 on Jhalak Dikhla Jaa I've been getting special kind of treatment from the judges. When Mahesh Manjrekar did Salsa he put Lavni in it. The judges applauded him. When Ajay Jadeja did a flip Farah missed a heartbeat. When I did a flip it became acrobatics.

When the mango fell out of Mahesh Manjrekar's hand they gave him extra points!!! How do you justify this? See, I'm not here to criticize anybody. May God beless Farah, Sanjay and Shilpa. But what did Shilpa mean when I was doing Samba and she called it a Salsa? The entire public laughed and corrected her.

She laughed and said, 'Oh my God! See how confused we judges are about the dance forms.' It's another matter that these moments got edited out. But if as a judge you are confused about dance forms, what are you doing in that chair?

Q: You sound agitated.
A: All my life I've been a fair person. I don't want to feel ashamed when I look at myself in the mirror. When I did Samba which is a dance of celebration and I put it into Rang de basanti which is a song of the nation –replete with colour flags—the judges were left cold.

Q: So maybe they didn't like your mix 'n' match style
A: The song was two minutes long, and they said I wasted forty seconds in putting tilak on the judges. Arrey, first understand the Indian sentiments. I'm 30 and I know how to respect my country. And how could I have wasted forty seconds doing Tilak. Does that mean I hardly danced at all?

Q: So do you think you were treated unfairly?
A: What I said last night on the show, I'll say again and again. I was just saying what came to my heart.

Q: Even your choreographer is quoted as saying you are a bad loser.
A: That's complete crap. Bindi thinks of me as her mentor. She hasn't given any interview about me. None of these comments attributed to me are mine. Look, this is the way I am. I can't learn to be manipulative at 30. Maybe the judges didn't know they had wronged me. It was my duty to point it out to be. The whole Rang de basanti item represented the the spirit of India.

Q: So you feel victimized?
A: No, they aren't big enough to victimize me.

Q: People say you were being nasty because of your broken relationship with one of the judges
A: I spoke because things weren't looking right. Why would I choose the show to tell her what I felt? I'd have called up three years ago and told her what I thought. I got calls from all over the country. Everyone is saying, 'What a show! What a great person you are!' Main junta ka aadmi hoon.

Q: You are quoted as saying you shouldn't have gone on the show because Farah Khan is a judge.
A: Yeah I thought she was professional and must have grown out of whatever happened. But I no longer regret going on the show. This was a reality show where everyone's true self came out in the open. I'm happy people saw me the way I am. I kept saying 'Thank you, God bless you' throughout. Did any of the judges show me any of the courtesy that they did to the other contestants?

Q: What next?
A: I had kept my film Ahsaas: Key To Life on AIDS which I'm producing, on hold. I'm going back to it. The story, screenplay, dialogues, art direction, choreography, direction....they're all mine. I've even a sung for it. I continue to be part of Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Babu Thi.

I was stealing on my sleep and working round-the-clock to accommodate Jhalak. After giving all my energy to it I was told by the judges that my energy level was low. But I'm patting myself on the back for going from non-dancer to dancer. I don't care if some others aren't proud of.

Q: Apart from yourself who's your favourite contestant on Jhalak Dikhla Jaa?
A: Definitely Mahesh Manjrekar. He's entertaining. He's got all his share of appreciation.When I did my bit I wasn't appreciated. I'm not a two-year old kid who doesn't understand what's going on.

Q: Why were they victimizing you?
A: I've no clue. Whenever I came on stage I felt I was a student and they're teachers. But when other contestants came on they were treated like celebrities. But I was called as a celebrity. Don't give me marks. But don't single me out for harsh words. Don't just make films about Indian sentiments. Feel them.
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