For the longest time in the history of Indian television, drama has been privy to saas bahu serials and daily soap operas have been raising the bar of anticipation in everyday households. No less pronounced when it comes to dramatic entertainment has been popular reality shows that take over the position of pride every weekend as the whole of India ushers and lauds and celebrates a bevy of emerging artists and performers, talented dancers and singers, newbie actors and comedians trying to make it matter in the world of plentiful opportunities and even aplenty performers. But even as scores and tons of fresh faces line up every season to prove their worth with their phenomenal talent, having the nation go gaga over that incredible move or making fans out of every perfect note hit, it is unfortunately only a handful of these amazing entertainers and exemplary artists who manage to hold their identity in the days and years to come.
And one such breakthrough star who has managed to keep viewers and fans captivated with his surreal dance moves as much as with his energetic personality is dancer and choreographer, anchor and actor Raghav Juyal. Famous for his slow motion dance style, in particular the Slow Motion Walk which he helped reinvent, Juyal has been a mainstay presence in the entertainment industry for more than a couple of years now. And why just dance, the affable lad has charmed one and all with his charismatic on stage personality as well. With a knack for humour that is as spot on as his dancing heroics, this goofy, adorable lad from Dehradun sure is going places and how!
Popular as Crockroaxz, a name which Juyal has bestowed on himself, one can well make out just how fun and innovative and cool this young gun can be. The name in fact is a reference to his dancing prowess, as he does a style that imbibes the power of a crocodile with such movements that mirrors the ‘moves’ of a cockroach! Whatever that might be, it indeed is this peculiar attribute of his identity that renders Raghav Juyal somewhat unique amongst the other lot of dancer- performers and actors buzzing in the entire entertainment scene.
Ironically though, for a dancer to emerge so popular out of a dance reality show, Raghav’s claim to dancing fame wasn’t a very smooth process. The irony here is indeed not in the fact that Juyal wasn’t the winner of Dance India Dance Season 3- for the record he was adjudged the second runner’s up of the show- but rather the manner in which he rose to fame. Having auditioned for the Zee TV show and gotten through the audition round, Raghav Juyal could not find himself amongst the top 18 contestants of the show in its mega audition round. Call it a stroke of luck therefore or indeed a testament to his unique dancing skills that Juyal had to be brought back into DID as a wildcard contestant in view of popular public demand. It is indeed to the credit of this phenomenal performer that post his reentry into the show, Juyal emerged to be not just the most popular contestant but also one of the podium finishers of the season.
Raghav Juyal’s brush with on screen appearances stems some time beyond his debut on DID. As a part of Saurav Benjwal’s dancing crew D-Maniax, Juyal made his television debut as a contestant on the Colors TV show Chak Dhoom Dhoom. The group failed to make much of an impact but Juyal was noticed by season judge Terrence Lewis who took him on board as an assistant to help train his team ‘Terrence ki Toli’. That itself was an incredible experience for Juyal, who had never received any formal training in dance. Even his parents weren’t very supportive of his passion. Born to advocate father Deepak Juyal and a teacher mom Mrs Alka Bakshi, Raghav’s penchant for dance however had been a childhood talent. Often a times he used to practice while evading the eyes of his parents. Juyal even quit dancing for some time in his life to fulfill the aspirations of his parents who wanted to see their son as an army man. However, his undying love for dance and his dedicated pursuit of it made Juyal turn the tables on destiny as he charted his own course courtesy the art he describes as an angel.
While starring in the second season of Dance India Dance was indeed the breakthrough to his professional career, Juyal did not limit himself to being just a dancer. His stint in DID was nevertheless rewarding, not just because of the fame it lent unto him but also because he performed and comepted against the same Terrence Ki Toli contestants he had helped train earlier! Whatever that might be, never for once did Juyal falter in his dancing expertise, delivering swashbuckling performances with such finesse and seeming ease that rendered him the ultimate favorite of a lot of his fans and supporters. His popularity and entertaining dance moves held Juyal in good stead in his future ventures as very soon he became the the skipper of team Raghav Ke Rockstars in DID Li’l masters (Season 2). Raghav also was the choreographer on the sets of Dance Ke Superstars where his team emerged as the winner in the Grand Finale.
His skills as a choreographer and dancer earning him fame and acclaim, Raghav soon moved on to wade in newer waters. He continued to make waves though, this time as an actor in Bollywood. Debuting with Sonali Cable in 2014 alongside Rhea Chakraborty and Ali Fazal, Juyal took no time to prove his mettle in acting as well. Lauded by critics for his vivacious performance his screen presence, the film fanned further aspirations for this young gun forever open to the idea of trying on newer things. His tryst with dance continued in his next Bollywood project. In starring in the 2015 dance movie ABCD 2, a sequel to the hugely popular ABCD (2013), of which Juyal was also speculated to have been approached, the King of Slow Motion established himself also as a man of many talents. Continuing his association with films, Raghav Juyal also starred in the 2018 film Nawabzaade and in Street Dancer 3D in 2020. Marking his entry into a different mode of acting courtesy his web series Abhay2, Juyal is all geared up to explore his darker side. That, even as he awaits the release of his fifth full length film, a satirical comedy titled Bahut Hua Sammaan alongside the likes of seasoned veterans Sanjay Mishra, Swanand Kirkire and Ram Kapoor, and Dibyendu Bhattacharya. With roles as diverse in comedies and satires and thrillers, Raghav Juyal can very soon emerge to be the next big thing in tinsel town as well!
Even when Juyal has it all it takes to be a hero, be it in terms of his acting not to mention his dance, he still comes across as as dedicated and as flamboyant an anchor as well. The host of numerous reality shows, as different as Dance Plus (across all its five seasons), Rising Stars, Dance Champions, Dil Hai Hindustani, Prem Ki Diwali and Crazy Wheels, Raghav has made a name for his own when it comes to his fun experimentations with hosting. His spirited presence, endearing personality and a keen sense of humour is what makes Juyal such a enjoyable presence in the anchoring arena as well.
Particularly with his on screen banter with fellow hosts and judges and contestants, Raghav lightens up the stage whenever he takes to it. He is some bit of an adventurer as well. Having grown up amidst the mountains of Uttarakhand, Juyal is a daunting spirit himself. Trekking and rafting are all pursuits that has graced his childhood days and that another trait of younger days probably was what found expression when he took part in another reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi in its seventh season in 2016. That indeed is only apt for this energetic lad whose immense running and scampering ‘abilities’ meant he was rusticated from school innumerable times in his childhood. Juyal though went on to complete his education from the Doon School in Dehradun before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Dav PG College. It indeed is incredible that despite making a remarkable mark in the showbiz industry within a short span of time, this grounded guy from Dehradun remains so conversant with his roots. No wonder Uttarakhand remains his favorite hangout, even when he is as effortlessly at home in the city of Mumbai that has seen all his struggles and his success. From rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the dance world, whether that be ace choreographer Remo D’Souza whom Juyal considers as family or Dharmesh Yelande with whom he is the best of friends and whom he also considers his inspiration, there’s still an easy going way around Raghav Juyal.
A dyslexic kid who is now one of the most well known faces in the industry, Juyal is also one among the select few who rarely submits to conventionalities. He might not be the in your face kind of rebel, but in his own standings, Juyal has conformed to what he feels like and not what he is expected to feel like. Whether that be creating his own genre of dance by admittedly getting inspired from others or refusing to hit the gym to fit into the current scheme of chiseled demands, Juyal is one person happily contended within his means. Creatively however, he is unrestrained as ever- from acting and dancing and anchoring to penning down poetry and exploring painting, the talented boy on the block does not shy away from anything that can be a medium for him to express. That’s of course only what the world would expect of an artist, specifically from one who vouches in remaining committed to the honesty of it. In all his goofball eccentricities and ever exuberant spirits, Raghav Juyal is indeed your happy go lucky, guy next door as well!