May 8, 2018
Is every Bollywood movie a dance movie? How does one define a
dance movie? Dance has always been an instrinsic part of films in India. But
choreographers like Shiamak Davar and Terence Lewis sense the brewing of a new
movement to their advantage -- all thanks to Remo D'Souza's "ABCD: Any Body Can
Late actor Shammi Kapoor prancing around to energetic numbers, Mithun Chakraborty's pelvic thrusts in "Disco dancer" and Govinda's dance moves in songs like "Sarkaye liyo khatia jada lage" and "Ankhiyon se goli mare" -- Bollywood has always had an affair with dance.
Now, fast forward to the present, and the rendezvous has got more sophisticated.
"'ABCD: Any Body Can Dance' is the start of dance movies. It is a movie which shows hip-hop and street. I don't see exactly a 'Black Swan' (in the future), but (we are) going into that space. We have dance troupes going on seven-month-long tours as a contemporary dance company because we don't have that kind of audience here," Ashley Lobo told IANS.
"There will come a time when that kind of work will be in films," added Lobo, who has choreographed in movies like "Rockstar" and "Guzaarish".
Choreographers Lobo, Melvin Louis, Terence Lewis and Ganesh Hegde spoke to IANS on behalf of Sony PIX, a channel which often showcases different installments of popular dance film "Step Up".
National Award-winning choreographer Davar, who has made icons like Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kevin Spacey and John Travolta sway to his steps, appreciates the growing culture of dance films.
"I think choreographers have a great vision and the ability to translate that into movement or film. It is great to see films that have dance as its core essence. It is a great opportunity for dancers also to find a larger platform and see themselves on the big screen," Davar told IANS.
After D'Souza hit jackpot with the "ABCD" franchise, a bevy of dance films charged up with star power of names like Varun Dhawan, Katrina Kaif, Sooraj Pancholi and Isabelle Kaif have been announced.
Louis feels it is all about staying in sync with the trend.
"Basically everyone wants to make money. It is no more just about passion. It is also because they want commercial success and it is a big market," Louis told IANS, pointing out that the new age dance-based films are captivating the younger lot.
Terence, who specialises in Indian folk, contemporary and neo-classical dance forms, said "all our films are dance films if compared to international films".
"It is not a new concept in Bollywood," said Terence, expressing the hope of seeing better quality dancing in the movies to come in the future.
In fact, the choreographers are working on their own version of dance films.
"I'm in the process of writing a dance film based on choreography. It is not in a genre of works which happens in India but more on what happens overseas," Lobo said, sharing that it will be about what an Indian company does on foreign shores.
The idea has found its way into the mind of Louis as well.
"I'm always thinking about it. It is on my bucket film. I will make a dance movie which will be a crazy dance movie. It will not be stereotypical. I will take it into a very different dimension."
Terence, who has choreographed international stage shows, Bollywood shows, Broadway Western musicals and music videos, is also writing a dance film and promises it will be very different.
But Hegde doesn't understand what the fuss is about.
"We had 'Disco dancer', there was Shammi Kapoor in 'Teesri Manzil' who was looking like Elvis Presley. He was a performer. Just because our stories do not revolve around dance that does not mean that dance movies were not there," said Hegde, known for his work in films like "Black", "Koi...Mil Gaya" and "Khamoshi: The Musical".
He feels if a plot is about dance, then it limits the range of the project.
"Because someone who is 60 or 70 might not be interested in who wins the dance competition. It might not be a universal subject for everyone."
The dance guru feels one should not "concentrate more on making a collage of various dance moves and various dance episodes throughout the film".
"It should be a movie first and then dance should help the movie. It should not be about how beautifully you have shot six dance sequences," added Hegde, who hopes to make a movie which stays long in the minds of people.