A few weeks back, an industry friend called to say, “Did you hear about the new Nach Baliye format? This time, the show will have ex-couples participating.” As the information sunk in, my first reaction was of disbelief. Nach Baliye is all about participating in the competition with your partner and how can it be about exes. But to my utter horror, the news was true. Nach Baliye 9 will indeed have a mix of current and former couples. From love being the ‘X factor’ of the show, ‘exes’ were all set to be the base of the season.
Another surprise element this year was Salman Khan turning producer for the season. While he is co-producing the show with Banijay Asia, the channel’s marketing team has been selling Nach Baliye 9 as the ‘Salman Khan show’. So much so, that it was said that he was even creatively involved in the new format. Salman, as we know, will even unveil the couples on the premiere night. When was the last time you saw a producer do that?
Talking to media outlets, Salman Khan had shared, “Yes, we are producing Nach Baliye as the concept is very unique as we have ex-couples dancing together. The positive part is that there’s no negative confrontation. You are not together anymore and you come back. You work together so past is forgiven, forgotten and you are working.”
In hindsight, who better than Salman Khan to back this format. The actor is probably the only star who still has cordial relationships with his former girlfriends. His recent pictures celebrating Sangeeta Bijlani’s birthday only proves how much he believes in the concept of having a strong friendship even after you part ways.
Now coming back to Nach Baliye 9, the promos only added to our fears of what could lie ahead in the season. The dialogues are cringe-worthy and seem to have been the work of a disinterested person who just wanted to rhyme the sentences. If not, how do you even justify Urvashi Dholakia and her ex-partner conversing with lines like- “nach ke bahane touch, no no”, “But why”, “Ex ho, that’s why. So don’t even try.” If this didn’t spoil your mood, the other promos are equally half-baked and a desperate attempt to spice up things.
The reality show that started in 2005 was about couples journeying together in the competition. There were disagreements, injuries, standing ovation and shocking eviction but the base remained love. There was also an eagerness among viewers to know more about their favourite stars and their relationships, especially if they had a non-celeb partner. The Nach Baliye stage also provided a platform for many couples to profess their love. Be it Ravi Dubey proposing marriage to Sargun Mehta in season 5, or Abigail Jain going down on her knees for beau Sanam Johar in season 8. Ravi and Sargun had even come back to the stage to invite the judges for their nuptial, as the stage was where the wedding bells rang for the first time.
Many contestants have even opened up about their heart aching moments, and how their partners stood strong beside them. We all still remember how on Nach Baliye 7, Rashami Desai opened up about her miscarriage and Aishwarya Sakhuja spoke on her ordeal with tuberculosis. The contestants even braved injuries together and came back with a smile. Be it Shilpa Agnihotri losing a couple of her front teeth in a freaky accident (season 1) or Asha Negi ending up with a deep gash on her chin (season 6)- they had their partners giving them strength and love all throughout.
But now with ex-couples joining the force, the entire show will mostly focus on the contestants’ relationships that went kaput. What, why, when, where, how – everything will be dissected on the stage and blown out of proportion to extract more eyeballs and ratings. And for the gossip-loving audience, things will also be spiced up with staged fights and sob stories. Well, the show has not even started and the buzz about how Madhurima Tuli abusing her former boyfriend Vishal Aditya Singh during the rehearsals made headlines. The actors agreed they had a disagreement but there was no abuse exchanged. If this is the pre-drama, we wonder how much drama will we see once the show starts rolling.
One may also draw a comparison with Bigg Boss when it comes to Nach Baliye 9. For starters, there is strict secrecy about the contestants in the season. Even as makers released promos of a few celebrities, their partners are yet to be disclosed. The other teasers also have the celebrities masked well. Salman Khan, who hosts Bigg Boss, seems to have been wonderfully inspired by the show. Even the premiere video of Salman on stage, that was leaked recently, has an uncanny resemblance to the Weekend Ka Vaar setting. The controversial reality show is known to stir up controversy but Nach Baliye has always been a family show. We don’t know how many in the audience would even be interested to know what went wrong in the contestant’s love story. But many would definitely assume or guess what got them to join hands again for a reality show. Well, your guess is as good as ours!
The former couples doing the show have shared that they believe in co-existing and how one can be mature enough to handle past mistakes. But only time will tell whether their decision will work wonders or backfire in the coming days. For Nach Baliye is all about fighting obstacles and challenges with your partner as you dance your way to take home the trophy. But with ex-couples, the individuals would first have to struggle with the ghosts of their past, before they can even call each other ‘baliyes’.
Star Plus show Nach Baliye 9 premieres on July 19.
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