A legless Indian man has become an overnight sensation for his incredible dancing skills.
Vinod Thakur, 21, shot to fame after performing on reality show, India’s Got Talent, an offshoot of the popular Britain’s Got Talent.
The mobile phone repairer, who taught himself over the Internet, baffles onlookers with his swiftness and deft dancing skills and has become a darling in his dingy neighbourhood of East Delhi, India.
“Whenever I saw foreigners doing it on the Internet, I would ask myself, why can’t I do it?” he said.
“After watching me on TV, people have changed their opinion about me and want their children also trained in dancing and are approaching me to train them.
“But I tell them that I am busy these days.”
Vinod was born with no legs, the result of an unknown birth defect.
Throughout his young life he fought hard to be like his peers. He quickly learnt how to walk on his hands and could climb stairs faster than his friends.
Despite being offered prosthetics, he chose to continue without them claiming they were uncomfortable and difficult to balance on.
Instead he uses a wheelchair to get around his neighbourhood.
His former schoolteacher, Kamta Chopra, 62, who has known Vinod since he was three-years-old, said: “Despite being legless he would move up the stairs faster than his normal classmates and from that day I knew that through his hard work he will make it big someday.
“I don’t have words to express my happiness. I wish him all the best and pray to God that he wins the show and helps his poor parents.”
The son of a lorry driver, Vinod finished school this year and works in a mobile repair shop to support his college studies with a meagre monthly income of £85.
He lives at home, sharing a cramped bedroom with his older brother and younger sister.
The economics student had always wanted to become a bodybuilder but five months ago his friend suggested he try dancing.
Surfing the web in a local Internet café, Vinod quickly found hundreds of moves and set about learning them with friends.
He trains every day in a small room at his brother’s house. There is no lamp and no fan to cool him off as temperatures outside reach 40 degrees.
A mirror covers one wall and music blares out from an old CD player in the corner.
Alongside his gruelling dance training, Vinod visits the gym regularly.
A fellow trainee, Akhilesh Mishra said: “It was surprising how a guy with such a deformity could practice in the gym, but he proved it through his hard work.”
In five months he has mastered various different styles and choreographed his own five-minute routine.
It was a friend who suggested he audition for the second series of India’s Got Talent – which offers the winner a cash prize of £68,000.
“I was so nervous when I was backstage because the judges were criticising all the participants,” he said.
Cheered on by three close friends, Vinod gave the performance of a lifetime in front of a live audience.
He received a standing ovation from shocked judges and was immediately put through to the next round.
“It just couldn’t believe it when they said I was through,” he said.
“I am very excited about the next round. I have been getting a lot of support from my friends, family and neighbours.
“They want me to make them proud and I will do my best.”
Vinod is not shy of performing and happily gives an impromptu recital to passers-by near his home.
Traffic came to a standstill, crowds of people assembled in a ring and rose to a thunderous applause as Vinod performed his favourite ‘rolling’ stunt.
His ambition is now to open a dance school in his neighbourhood.
“I want all the children to learn the dance as if you don’t know dance, you know nothing,” says Vinod.
His proud mum, 45-year-old Urmila Thakur, said: “I was sad to see him handicapped but I was always sure he would do something great and he proved it recently by his performance and showed it to the whole world that he is special.”
Speaking from their tiny two-room house, his 16-year-old sister Reema Thakur, added: “All I want is for him to be successful.”