The name Master Marzi was lovingly conferred on Bollywood dancer Marzi Pestonji after he became one of the judges on reality TV show, Dance India Dance, aired on Zee TV. However, this director of operations, principal dancer and senior faculty at Shiamak Davar’s Institute of Performing Arts (SDIPA), Mumbai, says he owes his success to one of B-town’s most revered dancers, Shiamak Davar.
In Chandigarh on Saturday to conduct a dance workshop at the newly opened Oakridge International School, Greater Mohali, the vivacious Parsi boy talked about an early but studied start in dancing and his experiences with stars.
Realising his passion for dance when he was 16, Marzi joined Shiamak Davar’s dance classes. “In 1993, I came to know about Shiamak’s dance classes and I knew I wanted to join these since I had a passion for dance and wanted to check out pretty girls,” he laughs.
However, the irony is that Marzi never really wanted to be a professional dancer, hoping instead to bag a 9am-5pm job. “In the early ’90s, people’s mindset was such that dance wasn’t considered as an honourable activity to pursue; neither was the platform offered by reality TV available then like it is today. My father had said to me, ‘If you break your leg, at least you won’t be a peon (if you have a degree in hand)’. So, I made sure that I was a graduate before focussing on dance,” recalls he.
But the dancer is disappointed with youngsters today who don’t take their education seriously. He explains, “Every dancer can’t be a choreographer; and a dancer’s career span is only till he or she is 35 years old. Have today’s aspiring dancers thought of that? They need to know that education is very important since everyone won’t be as luck as I was.”
Marzi also offers advice to parents, saying, “Parents shouldn’t pressurise their children to win competitions since this puts undue stress on the children’s psyche. In fact, I have observed that have 80% of the kids who come to TV shows want to enjoy, but their parents, especially those from smaller cities, bring them in to make them famous. That’s not the right approach. Dance is a medium to de-stress, not to make life more stressful.”
Marzi, who has been associated with Shiamak for 18 years now, has been assisting him in choreographing for Hindi films such as Dil To Pagal Hai, Bunty Aur Babli, Dhoom 2 and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and film award shows such as those hosted by IIFA (International Indian Film Academy). “I am a suitcase to my boss (Shaimak) and I am happy to assist him in Bolllywood.
Though I have got offers to handle project individually, but I feel it’s a huge responsibility and so, I want to focus on SDIPA and bring that up better,” he adds.
Having worked with ‘almost all film actors and actresses’, Marzi picks his favourites: It’s former Shiamak Davar student-turned actor Shahid Kapur and Hrithik Roshan amongst the men.
“Shahid is one of the best dancers in the industry, though unfortunately, his potential in films hasn’t been tapped the way it should have been,” he says, going on to add some interesting bits about Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan. “Hrithik is brilliant, but can drive a choreographer up the wall if he gets paranoid about his dance move lacking perfection. In the case of Shah Rukh Khan, he practices at the last hour for he believes in rehearsing for at least six hours before giving the final shot.” Amongst women, Marzi likes Rani Mukerji and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
What about the notorious star tantrums? “The big names of the industry have zero tantrums. It is the B-grades actors who have them.”