Meet the UCL student performing in Britain’s Got Talent’s live semi-final TONIGHT

The Bollywood team got a standing ovation from three of the judges at their audition

There are some people who are just a little bit more impressive than the rest of us. Aniket Bharadwaj, a third-year UCL medical student, is one of those people. You might have seen him in Rangeela, UCLU Hindu Soc’s Westend show, but he’s taken a step up from that.

In January he auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent together with his team from the London School of Bollywood. The performance had a twist that surprised all the judges and got them four yeses as well as a standing ovation from the audience and three of the judges. In March he found out his team was through to the semi-final of the competition.

We caught up with Aniket before the live semi-final tonight.

How did you get into Bollywood dancing?

My family has always been interested in Indian cinema and so I always had that as a part of growing up. When I came to uni, I started getting really involved in Hindu society and since then I’ve been dancing and dancing.

I did a lot of shows in first and second year and I was one of the choreographers for Rangeela this year. Then in December, I got scouted by Prashanth from London School of Bollywood who’d seen me dance and phoned me up to ask if I’d join their team. I asked what projects they have and he was like ‘Oh it’s a really big one, you can’t tell anyone about it – it’s Britain’s Got Talent’.

I’m not a trained dancer, I just started dancing at uni and I was with this team of professionals who are 25-26 years old. At first I struggled to get the rhythm of it and the technicality level.

Aniket with the London School of Bollywood team

What was it like to perform in front of thousands of people?

The audition was in the London Palladium, just off Oxford Street. I was really scared. I’ve performed at Hammersmith Apollo with a show at uni and that was about 2000 people so with the BGT auditions it wasn’t so much the number of people; I kind of blur the audience out anyway. It was the panel of four judges – you’re so used to seeing them on TV so seeing them in person seemed really surreal. Seeing them with the buzzers on their table was quite nerve-wracking. But I loved it, it was a really exciting new experience.

What was the message behind the dance?

Bollywood cinema mostly has a male and female protagonist and I think something that the society around Bollywood is tackling right now is the introduction of liberalism in terms of gender fluidity. So in the dance we tried to challenge and push the boundaries of what is normally expected in Bollywood cinema to make more people able to access and feel a part of Bollywood cinema. To have just binary male and female protagonists is not representative of what our society actually is. So the dance kind of challenges that message and promotes inclusivity. Bollywood’s for anyone as long as you’ve got the energy and happiness to do it.

What’s the reaction been like?

We’ve had so many warm messages from people. I’ve had all my friends messaging me like ‘Oh my god, it’s amazing!’ The guy they see playing football with them on weekends is now on Britain’s Got Talent, so that’s a shock! From Rangeela to Britain’s Got Talent is a step up. I had to keep it quiet for a while, I only told a couple of my mates and my family. Then when it got aired I could tell people about four days before and everyone was like ‘Oh my god, how could you hide this?’

What’s in store for this next dance?

For the semi-final performance, the work on the set  is really different, we’ve got a bigger stage and we had a lot more prep for this. The routine’s a bit harder so it’s been a long two months of rehearsals.

I’m not sure what will happen, whether we’ll make it to the final or not, whether the judges will like it, but the London School of Bollywood really wants to get their name out. We only formed a year ago even though some people in the team have been dancing for quite a while.

Aniket also does Bhangra, a traditional Punjabi dance

How are you managing this along with your degree? Aren’t you really tired? 

I am tired but now the adrenaline is kicking in and we’ve been prepping for so long. We’ve had six hour rehearsals, eight hour rehearsals, so much stress. April was really tough in terms of rehearsals as I had my third year Medicine exams to revise for as well.

As you get closer to show day, the team choreographer really pushes you to make fewer mistakes and brings out the energy in you. I’m really excited for this performance.

Let’s get behind Aniket and his team as they perform live TONIGHT on Britain’s Got Talent at 7.30 on ITV. You can vote by phone or via the Britain’s Got Talent app.

You can check out the team and follow Aniket’s progress on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Watch their audition here: