Orissa prays for dance group's success on TV

Bhubaneswar, Aug 17 (IANS) Hundreds of slum dwellers are visiting temples in Orissa's Ganjam district every day to seek blessings for the success of 26 kids who have reached the final round of TV reality show "India's Got Talent".

The Prince Dance group that has 26 artistes from Berhampur town, nearly 180 km from here, has been nominated out of the 45,000 competitors to perform in the grand final round of the show to be telecast live Aug 22 on Colors channel.

Relatives and neighbours of the artistes have been praying for their success, seeking divine intervention. "Every day we are visiting temples because our children need the blessings of god," said Sabitri Das, mother of participant Srikant.

Most of the participants belong to underprivileged families and two of them suffer from polio.

Mostly below 22, none of them are professional dancers. Their 26-year-old dance teacher Krishna Mohan Reddy said he also never had any formal training.

They danced to the tune of "Sare Jahan Se Acha" and the audience and the judges -- Shekhar Kapur, Kirron Kher and Sonali Bendre -- were spellbound.

"It's a world class act. I have travelled the world, but today I can proudly say I am an Indian," said Kapur after thier performance.

Impressed by their performance, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sunday announced that he will personally vote for them and ensure that they get enough opportunities in their home state.

Patnaik, who watched the show on television, spoke to team leader Reddy over phone Sunday and congratulated him.

"He (the chief minister) congratulated me and said he was amazed to see our performance. He told me that he saw for the first time such an excellent performance in past 10 years," Reddy told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

"When I told him that we also require his help because the winner would be decided on the basis of votes, he said he will at least give his vote to us," he said.

Patnaik has also announced that his government will set up an institute near Berhampur to sharpen the skills of young artistes. The institute will be set up on four acres of land and Patnaik has assured to sanction Rs.1 crore, a press release said.

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