'I was skeptical about reality shows'

'I was skeptical about reality shows'

It was only when we watched Meher Malik on TV, belly dancing, which was considered ‘indecent’ in our country, started creating a buzz. Her sensation belly moves in reality shows India’s Got Talent and Just Dance left everyone amazed and brought her into limelight. Recently, some of the students from her dance institute Banjara School of Dance also participated in the reality show Dance Plus.

But even before she agreed to be a part of such shows, Malik had a “skeptical” view about reality shows. She says, “I was not sure whether I should participate in reality shows or not. There’s a lot of scripting that goes into it. You have to provide entertainment to the audience and for that an artiste has to compromise with her art. But once I got into this, I realised the leverage it gives one.

However, I believe that these shows have not made me, my talent was always there. It just gave me exposure and a platform to show my talent. I was lucky that people embraced me with open arms and it led me into the entertainment industry.”

The 27-year-old spent 17 years in Middle East and hence Arabic music and culture did influence her. However, she never thought of taking belly dance as a career. It all happened accidently when she returned to India and started teaching this dance form. It was the distaste in India towards this art form that made her “rebellious” and she decided to take reputation of belly dance a notch higher.

“I can’t blame people for this because there were no professionals in India to educate them about belly dance. And people judge something when they are not educated about it. So, I started teaching in 2006. The response which I got from the people amazed me, making me realise the scope of belly dancing in India,” says Malik, who did a designing course from National Institute of Fashion Technology.

But was her journey as simple as it looks like? “It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of criticism that I had to face. A place where even Indian dance forms don’t receive respect, I was pursuing which was foreign and ‘not so popular’. There was a time when I wanted to quit. But with the support of my family, I decided to help myself and fight against all the odds. It has been ten years now and since then belly dance has gained a huge momentum. And I believe that in the next five years, India will be known for this dance form.”

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