Bollywood rarely gets far without music and dance. In the eyes of the masses, dance numbers are essential for a good masti-filled movie. We look at the talented choreographers responsible for some of the best B-town dances.
Saroj Khan's style exhumes traditional Indian moves blended with authentic Bollywood steps.
There are very few people in this world who can make the most popular men and women dance to their beat.
Choreographers are one such breed who can make the most diva-like heroines bend down to their wishes and the most egotistical heroes shake a leg as they see fit.
In India, the plot of a movie may or may not be a flop when it hits the cinema screen. But if it has even one hip or popular item number, then the entire film can turn into a super hit.
In the world of Bollywood where the importance of dance and music in a film surpasses a good storyline, the value of choreographers is much greater than any film technician or employee.
DESIblitz dives into this world of Indian movers and shakers and uncovers some of the most successful choreographers of Bollywood.
Fondly known as ‘Master Ji’, Saroj Khan is the reigning queen of all choreographers in the Indian film industry. Born in 1948, she started her career as a backing dancer at only three years old.
While working as a dancer she also used to learn dance under B.Sohanlal ji and used to assist him too. Climbing the ladder of hierarchy, Saroj ji got her first opportunity as an independent choreographer for the film Geeta Mera Naam in the year 1974. For most of her youth she was a dancer but once she became a choreographer her popularity knew no bounds.
Having choreographed ‘Ek Do Teen’ (Tezaab, 1988), ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’ (Khalnayak, 1993), and ‘Dhak Dhak Karne Laga’ (Beta, 1992), Saroj ji started a long and fruitful partnership with her muse, Madhuri Dixit. Her style exhumes traditional Indian moves blended with authentic Bollywood steps.
Saroj Khan has won three National awards for Best Choreography, many Filmfare awards and also international awards in the field of choreography. She remains by far the most acclaimed Bollywood choreographer of all time.
Known as the ‘Michael Jackson of India’, Prabhu Deva’s dancing and choreographing style needs no introduction. Having been trained in classical Indian dance of Bharatanatyam and western styles like ballet, Prabhu’s style is heavily influenced by that of Michael Jackson.
His song ‘Hamma Hamma’ (Bombay, 1995) remains top of the charts and is a baton of his unusual style.
He has choreographed for many outstanding films like Lakshya (2004), and Varsham (2004) for which he has won the Filmfare for Best Choreographer and the National award for Best Choreography. Apart from choreographing, Prabhu has shown a real talent in acting, directing and singing for films too.
Talking about the flavour of the season, Vaibhavi Merchant proves herself to be a perennial taste which continues to enhance our sense of dance. She has choreographed for recent films like Bhag Milkha Bhag (2013) for which she has recieved rave reviews.
Although Vaibhavi was born as a granddaughter to the legendary Indian film industry choreographer, B.Hiralal ji, she proved her mettle in her first song, ‘Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje’ (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, 1999), for which she won the National Film award for Best Choreography.
She then went on to choreograph for Oscar nominated films like Lagaan (2001) and Devdas (2002). One cannot forget her ‘Kajra Re’ (Bunty Aur Babli, 2005) for which she again received several awards. Having appeared on many television dance reality shows as a judge, Vaibhavi is one of the best choreographers of our generation.
If one is a Bollywood dance enthusiast then one must have come across the viral item song, ‘Chikni Chameli’ (Agneepath, 2012) where Katrina Kaif moves her slender waist in the most aesthetic manner. To teach her those moves Ganesh took just one day.
Having choreographed for almost all of Govinda’s songs, Ganesh reportedly said that in the same way that Saroj Khan has Madhuri Dixit, he has Govinda.
Ganesh has choreographed songs like ‘Beedi’ for the film Omkara (2006) for which he won the Best Choreography award from Filmfare. His style remains truly Bollywood without any undue influence of the west or even traditional Indian moves. His dances comprise of all the hip jutting and masala moves one expects an authentic Bollywood dance to have.
One choreographer who has changed the way dance itself is perceived in India is Shiamak Davar. Being the first to introduce styles like jazz and contemporary western forms, Shiamak rapidly went on to become the most sought after choreographer of Bollywood. He proved his mettle in his first film, Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), for which he won the President’s National award in choreography.
Having honoured prestigious designations like the Director of Choreography for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and Delhi, he has done many successful tours and shows like the IIFA awards, The Unforgettable Tour (2008), and The Shiamak Davar Tour. His dance academy has also taught many current Bollywood stars like Shahid Kapoor and Varun Dhawan.
For an industry that produces the highest number of films a year, naming just five choreographers is a difficult task as the list and pool of talented choreographers in Bollywood is endless.
But these five remain top in the line of choreographers who have changed, shaped and moulded the current choreographing scene in today’s Indian film industry.
Their contribution remains unparalleled to the world of entertainment and dance and will always prove to be a source of inspiration and creativity not only to the Indian film industry but the entire world.
Win FREE tickets to see the wonderfully funny Dead Sheep at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) on 1st October 2016.