Sophie: I think even I have a great fan-following
Excited and nervous about her reality show stint, the actress-singer discusses dance, and her chances at winning.
Actress, former VJ and singer Sophie Choudry may have featured in a hit item number in John Abraham starrer Shootout At Wadala, but her latest stint as a contestant on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa's new season is giving her the jitters.
She says taking part in the dance reality show is one of the biggest challenges of her life.
"People say that I am a good singer, performer, actor and a good dancer too because they have see me in film songs.
"But dancing in films is different from performing and competing live. You are literally being judged for expressions, technique etc. It's a huge challenge but I am ready for it," she explains.
Sophie has turned down several offers to participate in reality shows in the past.
"I have been offered many reality shows but said no.
"I was not able to do Jhalak in the past too. I never thought it will come back to me.
"If something keeps coming back, maybe you should do it. This is the best reality show on Indian television and it's been a while since Indian audiences saw me on television."
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Image: Sophie Choudry
'I'm like any Indian girl who loves dancing in front of the mirror'
The singer-actress has never been formally trained in any dance form.
"When people say I am a good dancer, I kind of explain that I'm like any Indian girl who loves dancing in front of the mirror since childhood. That's the kind of dancer I am.
"Maybe I have a knowledge of rhythm because I am singer. But in this season, we are going to have new international forms that we have not had before.
"It will be a huge challenge for us and for the choreographers as well."
Image: Sophie Choudry
'Deepak is a tough taskmaster but I am lucky to have him as my choreographer'
Sophie's partner, Deepak Singh, is focusing on improving her strengths, as she has had a few injuries due to tough lifts.
"He is a tough taskmaster and is making me practice for five to six hours a day. I know that's going to increase."
"I am lucky that Deepak is my choreographer. But he is strict and we argue a lot about our dance moves."
She hopes to be in till the end and wants to be remembered as "not just a good dancer but a fantastic dancer."
This season, the judges have made it clear that contestants have to learn to earn marks.
"The judges have decided to be mean and stingy with the marks, which makes me think that I should have participated in the earlier seasons!
"My friend Dia Mirza said something very nice when I told her that I was very nervous because all the participants are so strong.
"She said 'that's the best part. Why compete with the average, compete with the best. That's what you have always done, do it again.'"
Image: Sophie Choudry and Deepak Singh
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
'I am here to win hearts first'
Sophie will be competing with several television actresses who already have a huge fan base.
"That's very scary for me," she acknowledges.
"I am sure they will perform well, but they will gets votes anyway because they have a huge fan following.
"I think even I have a great fan following. At the end of the day, people are impressed with you and how you dance, how much you have improved and whether you can win their hearts.
"I am here to win hearts first. Dil jeet liya baad mein show jitlange."
The actress-singer doesn't follow any diet as such, "It's just eat, dance, sleep and repeat," she laughs.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, winner of the international dance reality show, Dancing with the Stars 2014, will be the new addition to the judges' panel.
Choreographer-director Remo D'Souza, actress Madhuri Dixit and filmmaker Karan Johar are the other judges.
"Maksim will be a tough judge to impress because he is the champion in Latin ballroom. I am lucky that Deepak (her choreographer) is trained in Latin styles. If I can earn the respect of the judges and the audience's love then I will have achieved what I came here for," she says.
Sophie, who has done dance numbers in the films Heyy Baby and Shootout at Wadala, is coming out with a new song album next month.
Also with a film about which "I will talk later," she signs off.
Image: Sophie Choudry