India’s first 3D dance film, Remo D’Souza’s ABCD — Any Body Can Dance —has an eclectic cast. It stars choreographer-directors Prabhu Deva and Ganesh Acharya, and Lauren Gottlieb, the winner of the global TV talent hunt show So You Think You Can Dance. Salman Khan, Dharmesh, Prince, Mayuresh and Vrushali from the show Dance India Dance (DID), in which Remo is one of the mentor-judges, are also in the film. The only Bollywood star is Mithun Chakraborty, the Grandmaster of DID.
“Dada (Mithun) is my lucky mascot. He has to be in my movie, in a special appearance,” reveals Remo, who feels that apart from the Disco Dancer he doesn’t need any big names in his second film as a director, after the surprise hit FALTU (2011).
“I’d see stars being born on reality shows, then disappear when the season ended. I’d wonder why we didn’t see them in a movie given that the public had voted for them. When I started ABCD, some of these stars had to be part of it, along with Lauren. After watching her, I had promised myself that I’d get her down to India as my heroine and UTV helped me live out that dream.”
Another dream fulfilled was getting a chance to direct Prabhu Deva. Remo was a struggling dancer of about 19 when he watched the Chikku Bukku Rayile track in Gentleman (1993). “Prabhu inspired me to try my luck in Bollywood and today, he surprises me with his comic timing and calm presence on the sets,” he says.
Recently, one of his assistants pointed out that ABCD was a 3D film in another sense as well, given that Prabhu, Ganesh and Remo are all choreographers-turned-directors. The other two have turned actors too, what about Remo? “Let’s see, there’s lots of pressure,” he laughs, recalling the memorable musicals he grew up on, including V Shantaram’s Navrang and Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje. “I’m hoping to bring the genre back and pay a tribute to Shantaramji with a retro dance piece too.”