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Friday, December 8, 2023

Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 10: Dutee Chand Dances Her Way To Progression & Acceptance

Just days into its telecast, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 10 has already created history by presenting the first same-sex dance couple. Last week, India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand was announced as the new wild-card contestant alongside choreographer Ravina.

Chand’s first performance was to ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ from Ghulam. Following her dance, the show’s host Manish Paul asked her about the hero of her life. “In my life, there is no hero but a heroine. Love transcends colour, caste, and gender,” she said. A brave moment on Indian television where a homosexual relationship is discussed in a sensitive and mature manner.

Speaking about the love of her life, Monalisa, the 2018 Asian Games double silver medallist, said she met her during the Khudurkuni puja in her village in 2017. It was love at first sight for them. They stayed in touch and confessed their love for each other after one year.

Dutee also reflected on the criticism that came her way after she opened up about her same-sex relationship in May 2019. She was also fearful about its impact on her relationship. On the other hand, the Indian athlete received much support from various international figures after she announced her relationship status. The ace sprinter had shared pictures with Monalisa on Valentine’s Day this year.

“Monalisa had asked me to take dance classes before I came to this show,” Dutee said, adding that she loves dancing to the song Aashiq Banaya Aapne with her. Not only is this a cute moment, but momentous for Indian Television. This is the first time a celebrity same-sex couple openly declares their love on national television.

Judges – Bollywood director Karan Johar, and actresses Madhuri Dixit and Nora Fatehi applauded her performance for which she scored 21 points. “There are many girls and boys who are living their lives out of fear of revealing their identity. I want everybody to be inspired by her story. I salute you,” said Johar.

Jhalak is the official Indian adaptation of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With The Stars. In the wake of Dancing On Ice, another dance reality show Strictly introduced their first same-sex couple in 2020. UK’s former boxer Nicola Adams OBE became the first contestant in the show’s history to encourage the inclusion of such a nature. Despite some criticism, this move has won the hearts of many.

We are living at a time when LGBTQIA+ stories are surfacing across mainstream entertainment. Dutee’s decision to take up Jhalak and embrace her identity is a major win for India and the community.

Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 10 airs every weekend at 8 PM on Colors TV UK

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