It can be easily said that rapper Raftaar has completed a 360-degree circle from being a contestant on a reality show to judging the same one. Many are not aware that, Raftaar, then called Dilin Nair, once participated in Zee TV’s dance reality show DID Doubles (2010-2011). Although he couldn’t make it to the finale, he left a mark in the show. Soon, the then contestant went on to become a rapper and then participated in a celebrity dance reality show as a contestant once again. Now, Dilin, who has taken his stage name as Raftaar, is one of the judges for the seventh season of Dance India Dance, alongside Bollywood’s diva Kareena Kapoor Khan, who is making her TV debut with the show. Raftaar was present at the launch of the dance reality show. The Dhaakad singer looked quite uber-cool in his blue tracksuit, which just went with his personality. Raftaar sat down for an exclusive conversation with BollywoodLife and spoke at length about his journey from being Dilin Nair to Raftaar! “(It’s a) Complete journey! See, I never wanted to be inspiring, however, I knew it was bound to be inspiring. My main aim was to go towards my goal and stay focused. And I didn’t want to be trapped in a box. ‘Why is a rapper dancing or a dancer rapping?’ I didn’t want to be in that idea,” Raftaar said while talking about his journey, adding, “I’ve never been in a box. I always wanted to do creative things. (So) The journey is of an artist.” The musician-dancer who likes to call himself “an artist” revealed that many criticised his move to be a dance reality show judge. Talking about the hatred that he received when he was announced as a part of the jury panel, he said, “Initially, a few people had commented (on Zee TV’s Instagram post of the show’s promo) saying, that this is how reality shows work, they do anything for reality shows and all. (But) I didn’t feel bad, because they don’t know me and my journey. Those who know my journey, know very well why I got selected.” As the conversation flowed further, Raftaar revealed that the fact that he is judging the show still hasn’t sunk in. “Till I reached the set (on the first day of shoot), I didn’t believe the fact that it is happening. Now, when the show has launched, there were paparazzi clicking me, the media asking me questions, it has just hit me. Also, I feel today, I deserved being papped. I have been papped earlier as well on the red carpet and at various events, however, today is different. This is happening solely for me. So many things are happening, there are going to be so many people who will come on the show as guests. I’m just all excited for it,” an elated Raftaar quipped. Raftaar, who is also mentoring contestants in Roadies, feels that both the shows have something in common. “In both shows, everybody comes to become a star. However, the path for both the shows is different. In DID, their approach is different. In Roadies, since it is a survival show, they come there thinking the show will give them more approach and fame.” However, he doesn’t think that Roadies is a shortcut to fame. “Roadies is a survival show. And to survive and even to become famous, you need some talent. Not everybody is a Prince (Roadies winner). He is so busy today that you feel good to see him. His skill is not of a dancer or a singer, his skill is to be an entertainer and that surely requires some skill set.” Rumours were rife that Raftaar will be judging a rapping-based reality show on a youth channel with his old foe Emiway Bantai, however, the rapper declined the reports out right. “When we become the judges, there is a lot of experience that matters as well. I have been offered several reality shows in the past but then I didn’t think I was ready to become a judge. I’m sure within 2 years, he (Emiway) will get some experience so that he’ll start guiding others. That (the two coming together to judge) is not happening. Coming back to Dance India Dance, the show is still remembered for its original mentors Remo D’souza, Geeta Kapur and Terence Lewis. However, Raftaar is quite clear that the new lot of judges aren’t really replacing them. “Nobody is replacing them. They are still on TV doing bigger things. DID made them what they are. Before DID, nobody knew how important they were. Even for a throne, there is an heir, maybe we are that heir. And say even if I stick around for 2 years on this show, somebody will step into my shoes and I’ll do something bigger then.” While professionally Raftaar is reaching new heights, personally, the actor is in a satisfactory zone. “Married life is going crazy; I don’t talk about it because my family and my wife don’t like media attention. So, we keep it simple.” So, is Raftaar thinking of embracing fatherhood soon? When we asked him this, the rapper gave the most hilarious response. “Natural hota hai, button thodi na hai (It’s a natural process there’s no button to it). I have to be home to make it happen, but I’m here,” he concluded.

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