A Heart to Heart Sit down with Sashin Kandhai
Durban’s treasured Desi dancer, actor and stage performer Sashin Kandhai, graced us with some insight into his life! South African born Dance Deewane and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa SA winner is well known for his killer dance moves, his bubbly personality and above all big heart! Sashin has made a name for himself internationally and worked with many A-list Bollywood stars! A part from his amazing talent. We just could not help but want to know more and likewise, Sashin was willing to share more!
Being the jhalak dikhla jaa SA winner in 2016 and the dance deewana JHB winner in 2018, you are known as quite the artist when it comes to the art form of dance, how would you describe yourself as an artist?
” I’m the type of artist who dances from the soul. I rely a lot on passion more than technique although technique is a very crucial element of the craft. I’ve always been the kind of artist who makes my own rules and follows what my heart says. I never want to fit in. I always aim to be an artist who stands out. “
As part of the crown the brown community, we are exceptionally proud watching you live out your dream internationally, what has been the biggest achievement in your career as a dancer thus far?
“Over the last 3 years I’ve had lots of praise from alot of big Bollywood names. Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh amongst others. But the highest point in my career was shooting for Dance Deewane in Mumbai. Having THE Madhuri Dixit call you an inspiration and then agreeing to come dance with you on stage. What more can an Indian, Bollywood obsessed dancer ask for. This experience will forever remain the most magical I’ve ever had.”
Apart from your killer dance moves, what are your other hidden talents that we should know about?
“I make a mean chops chutney lol. My family and friends can vouch for that. I’m also really good at Volleyball. But apart from the dancer side of Sashin, there’s the actor as well who I’ve kind of neglected for the last three years. During my days at campus I did so much acting. I was even nominated for a Durban Theatre Award in 2013. But I’ll definitely be doing more of that in 2019. I’ve also got a huge passion for writing so I’m planning to give time to that as well.”
You are regarded as a very big role model within our Desi community, how do you handle the continuous pressure of being such a public figure?
“There’s absolutely no pressure. I think the people who admire and appreciate me and my work have loved the fact that I’ve never tried to be something or someone I’m not. I’ve always been true to myself and my art and that’s what they appreciate so that’s what I’ll continue to do. It touches my heart when I get sent videos of little kids watching my videos and dancing in front of their TV screens. I love the fact that I’m able to inspire so many people in so many different ways by just doing what I love and being myself. “
It is evident that you are no stranger to advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community, as a South African Indian what are the challenges you faced as an Indian male within the community?
“In the beginning it was rough. I’m talking about when I was in school and wanted to dance. There was this uneducated notion that dancing was only meant for girls.
So it was extremely difficult growing up. Being a boy and a dancer, not possible, Indian and gay, unheard off. Being a gay male dancing Indian. Naheeeeeeeeeee!
But as the years went on it got better because I just stopped caring what people thought. I stopped placing focus on the negativity. I put myself and my art first because I knew what I wanted and where I was headed. Most importantly I had the support of my family and friends.”
How has your support towards the LGBTQ community impacted on your dancing career?
“I love to represent my community in interesting but subtle ways through my work and in many of my performances. Whether it’s me dancing to a female vocal song or raising the rainbow flags on national and international stages. It could be me in heels or the pride colours somewhere in my costume. I’m proud of my community and I’ve only just begun to raise that flag all over the world through my art. Supporting the LGBTQ through my work has given me more depth and purpose as an artist and people appreciate it.”
There are surely many critics that you might have encountered within your dancing career, what is your message to these critics?
“Criticism and compliments, I don’t take either one too seriously (unless it comes from Madhuri Dixit). But you’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. I’ve made peace with that. I’m having a blast, living my best life and I’m not apologetic about enjoying the success I’ve worked so hard for so to the critics….
Achievements aside, what are two things you regret not doing or ever attempting to do that you wish you could have done?
“There is only one. I wish I had gotten in aerial, acrobatics and circus from a younger age. I wish I could have started building that skill and technique from back then. But nevertheless I’m enjoying my experience with circus as it is.”
Being an LGBTQ advocate, what is the best advice you would give to anyone feeling stagnant within their way of living and how did advocating for others impact you as an individual?
“I never had a rough coming out. My mother embraced me when I told her. My family and friends supported me without giving it a second thought. So I never experienced the kind of hardship that most go through.
But here’s my advice or my simple recipe to being happy. Put yourself first! Learn to love yourself unconditionally because there’s nothing wrong with who you are. Those who don’t accept you, don’t understand you and people fear the things they don’t understand. That’s not your fault. Love yourself and that will give you the strength to be the best version of you that you can be.
That’s what I follow. I am proud of who I am. I’m proud of the community I belong too and I put myself first hence, I’m happy. “
It seems as if you are quite well-known to many. You are seen as being relatable in various aspects as a son, friend, LGBTQ supporter and exceptionally talented dancer. Being relatable means being exposed to supporters and haters. What advice would you give any other young aspiring Indian dancer afraid of sharing their passion for dance?
“How will you ever experience magic, if you’re too afraid to believe in it. It all starts with belief. Believe that you can do anything. See it in your minds eye, want it more than anything else and most importantly stay grounded and be respectful. Don’t live your life with regrets. Take the risk, dive in, what have you got to lose? “
A part from our fun filled interview, Sashin Kandhai brought in some nostalgia by letting us know more about him through a RAPID FIRE ROUND:
1. Coffee or tea?
2. Curry or pasta?
3. Chocolate or vanilla?
4. Movies or series?
5. Hollywood or bollywood?
6. Dancing or acting?
7. Shahruk or Siddarth?
8. Madhuri Dixit or SriDevi?
Madhuri Mam although I love Sri Devi ji as well.
9. 4 Favourite bollywood songs?
Mohe Pangat Pe, Ghagra, Tip Barsa Paani, Kajra Re, Dola Re… the list is endless.
10. Top 3 Favourite Bollywood Actors:
Ranveer Singh, Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan
11. Rank your Favourite Actresses:
My ranking would be:
1. Madhuri Dixit
2. Priyanka Chopra
3. Kareena Kapoor
4. Aishwariya Rai
6. Katrina Kaif
12. Hindi music or mainstream?
13. Keeping up with the Kandhasamys or
Keeping up with the Kandhasamys!
14. Durban or India?
15. One thing you’d put on your bucket list?
I want to make a film! That’s definitely on my list!
16. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
I can’t think of anyone, they’ll have to cast me hahaha.
17. Anywhere in the world that you could go?
Rajasthan! I’m dying to see it.
18. Celebrity Crush?
Ranveer Singh is bae!
19. Describe yourself in 3 words
Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment!
20. Favourite movie quote?
“Main apni favourite hoon.”- Geet from Jab We Met.
21. What are you afraid of the most?
Letting myself down. That’s why I’m always so hard on myself.
22. One Bollywood celebrity that annoys you the most?
Farhan Akthar. Not my cup of tea!
23. First thing you notice about someone?
Their posture because it speaks volumes!
24. What is your best feature?
My hair lol jokes! Never thought about it.
25.If you were stuck on an island, who would
you take with you?
Is it compulsory to take people? I would enjoy the alone time lol.
26.Who would you want to work with?
Karan Johar. He’s my idol. I’ll choreograph his film someday!
Be sure to follow Sashin Kandhai , trust me he is certainly worth looking out for! A man with a dream, a lifelong passion and a heart of gold!
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