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Komal Panwar


Jaipur’s ‘Dance India Dance Fame’ Nonie Sachdeva Talks About Body Shaming

  • JWB Post
  •  January 30, 2016


I can’t tell you how tough it is to sit professionally and ‘interview’ a friend, especially someone you have known since the age of 3. Yes, we go way back. We’ve grown up playing hide-and-seek, pulling each other’s hair, and now we’re at the crossroad of exchanging experiences.

I sat her down across the table and held a serious face before I burst into a fit of laughter.

Nonie Sachdeva, who is also a remarkable dancer, works as a freelancer for various Bollywood production houses. She’s also been among the top ten contestants of a reality show called Dance India Dance. She excels in the creative department. I rubbed my hands like a mosquito, expecting to get some juicy Bollywood gossip.

Me: I know you’ve worked with Akshay Kumar. Is he as fit as he looks on TV? Please say yes!

Nonie: Wasn’t it supposed to be MY interview, dear BFF?

Me: Alright, let’s begin talking about your passion, dancing.

Nonie: As you know, I was very young, so young that I don’t even remember when it started. But, it involved Buskers (the institute of dance in Tilak Nagar). I was a sincere student. So much so, that I gradually became one of the teachers. Oh, I remember, how much I tried to drag you to attend at least one class, but all in vain.

Me: Because I had already started planning to become a badass singer. Anyway, I remember how suddenly everyone was talking about you at school because you were selected for Dance India Dance. What’s the story?

Nonie: I know, right?! The credit goes to my parents for timely informing me about the show. Once I got selected, my entire family used to sit together and watch me on TV. Btw, I totally enjoyed my star status at school.

Me: And you nailed it! You know, even I remember watching you on TV and telling everyone that my chaddi-buddy is a star!

Nonie: Aww.

Me: Who was your favorite on the show? 

Nonie: This cookie is delicious.

Nonie: Oh, I’m sorry.  Answering your question… they were all so generous and wonderful though I loved my mentor Geeta ma.

Me: Clearly, your parents have been supportive of you. But, letting you be a part of the glitz and glamor world, they must have been worried.

Nonie: It’s actually the complete opposite. They loved what I was doing; my sister is away in the US, but really, not once did they expect me, or force me to stick around. In fact, if I stay in Jaipur for more than a week, they start packing my bags. (giggles)

Me: I love your hair color, dude. There was a point during the show where the judges said that irrespective of being “plump,” you danced so well.

Nonie: To be honest, it had happened more than just once on the show. But, that’s how reality shows work. They highlight your plus and minus points. Sometimes, it used to be depressing thinking that, “Oh my god, why me? Why is there a problem with me?” But one day, Geeta ma’am told me, “It’s not your weakness…”

Me: and you made it your strength.

You see our friendship is at a level where we complete each other’s sentences.

Nonie: Yes, I turned it around, I stopped being ashamed of it. In fact, we did a short skit about it as a performance on DID once. It was kind of a mockery of the glittery world of Bollywood, showing that no matter what they say, size does matter.

Me: That’s very brave.

Nonie: However, I gradually lost weight. I didn’t do it for the society, not for anyone else, but for me. And the reason was very simple. Health issues. I was young, and I could easily eliminate fat out of my system. A body should be fit and healthy; that’s all that matters.

Me: Now that you’re working with the creative for production houses, do you want to go back to dancing?

Nonie: I was never away from dancing. I have always wanted to be a part of this industry. As much as I enjoy dancing, I am happy with what I’m currently doing.

Me: And you will still continue to embarrass our moves with your kickass dancing abilities.

Nonie: (laughing) Yes.

Me: Before I wrap it up, I want to add that I’m so proud that you fought body-shaming on National television. You are a true inspiration.

Nonie: I love you and thanks for supporting me!

After the interview was over, Nonie and I did some of our own kinda fun that, of course, I can’t mention here.

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