Bollywood Actor-Host Maniesh Paul Talks Season 2 of 'India's Best Dancer', COVID Experience

Maniesh Paul - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2021
Bollywood actor Maniesh Paul made it big by hosting popular television reality shows such as "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa", "Indian Idol", "Dance India Dance", "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar", and more. He is back on stage to host season 2 of "India's Best Dancer" that airs on Sony Entertainment Television and the SonyLIV OTT platform.
Taking the entertainment level up a notch, actor Maniesh Paul is once again creating magic on stage as the host of one of the biggest reality shows in the nation "India's Best Dancer" that will see a competition of talented contestants from across the country.
As super talented dancers win people's hearts with their mind-blowing performances, Maniesh opens up to Sputnik in an interview about how he is making the show all the more interesting as host and bringing new flavours along with his witty and spontaneous responses.
Sputnik: How was the experience auditioning and shooting for "India's Best Dancer" during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Maniesh Paul: It was a very different experience to shoot amid COVID as we had limited people on the sets and we missed the cheers from the live audience.
It was a kind of low-key affair but the energy and fun we created on stage along with the mind-blowing dance performances by the contestants left everyone coming to the sets more. The audition round looked like a finale. If this was the level of competition, we can't imagine where this show will go at the end. Despite the pandemic, we had to return to work and follow all safety protocols in order to make the show go on.
Sputnik: You have been hosting reality shows for quite some time. How challenging is it for you to do something different and innovate your hosting style for "India's Best Dancer"?
Maniesh Paul: As a host, it's not easy to keep creating magic on stage all the time. My style of hosting is never scripted or made up. There is no put on on-stage.
Instead, I like to keep experimenting on stage by introducing new things which stay back with me when I watch movies, series, or read something. That helps me a lot along with a good team of judges like Malaika (Arora), ‎Terence (Lewis), and ‎Geeta (Kapoor) who are like family and keep the entertainment quotient higher. This was one of the reasons for me to say yes to the show.
Sputnik: As a host, how do you help contestants deliver their best on stage and not get pressured or overwhelmed by the competition?
Maniesh Paul: I keep encouraging them whenever their morale gets down or they feel nervous or low. A host's role is crucial as we have to not only anchor the show but also build a strong connection with the contestants so that they feel a sense of security.
I tell them not to take any pressure. And if they couldn't perform well or get eliminated, I tell them that it's not the end of their dancing journey. If not today, maybe later on, things will work in their favour. If the performance is not up to the mark today, that's fine and we should not be so hard on ourselves because of this.
Sputnik: You have been hosting reality shows for quite some time. Do you feel you have been typecast as a host?
Maniesh Paul: Yes, I do feel typecast at times. People sometimes tell me that they get a reflection of a host in my acting whenever they see me in a movie or series. But I take that as their lack of vision and not something that I'm lacking.
As an actor, I try to bring the director's vision alive on camera. I'm an entertainer and not just a host or an actor. During the COVID-induced lockdown, I tried my hand at singing and making podcasts. I don't like being put in a slot.
Sputnik: There was a big controversy a few years ago about kids dance reality shows practicing inappropriate gestures, and choreography. What's your take on this?
Maniesh Paul: Yes, it was a big issue two years back but after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued stern guidelines over vulgarity on children's dance reality shows, channels and show makers are keeping a check on this.
This was indeed a good move as I strongly believe that when it comes to kids, some things look good after a certain age, whether it's about making adult expressions, language, and dance moves.
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