A home grown concept, Boogie Woogie was a dance reality television series created and directed by Naved Jafri and Ravi Behl. The show’s panel of judges comprised the duo and Naved’s brother, Jaaved Jaaferi. It went on to becoming one of the longest running shows in India.
Naved says, “Ravi and I weren’t doing much in the mid ’90s, so we thought on collaborating for a project. As new satellite channels were being launched, we worked on a reality show that focused on dance since it was our forte.” Ravi adds, “We felt that youngsters should get a platform to showcase their talent.”
Even though Ravi felt that people may not understand the show’s name, Naved knew that when one connects it to dance, people will get it. “After a year of pitching the show, we got a call from the channel’s representative, Sudesh Iyer. He gave us a cheque of `14 lakh to start the show. We were stumped as we hadn’t seen that much money,” says Naved.
“We put in blood, sweat and tears into the show and when we took the first episode to the channel, many people didn’t like it and told us to reshoot it. We were disheartened. Later, Sudeshji saw the episode and said it was bang on and predicted it would work. And it did,” adds Ravi. The show got decent ratings for first six months and post that it shot to fame and remained a top grosser.
Boogie Woogie aired in 1996 and ran successfully for two years. It then returned in 2003 and was on air for four years only to return in 2008. The show’s episodes had several themes such as Bollywood, horror, friendship and comedy, which featured kids and grown-ups in a dance competition on the show. There were several Boogie Woogie championships too including Kids’ Championships, Teen Championships, Mothers Championships and Celebrity Championships.
Naved’s favourite was the Mothers Championships as it “gave hope to all the mothers out there”. “When we spoke to the channel, they said they didn’t want old moms but younger ones. We felt mothers in their late 40s and 50s have lost all hope of achieving their dreams and think of their home as their be-all end-all. Younger moms still had the scope to fulfil their dreams in life. We got a great reception for the episodes and we became a part of their lives.” says Naved.
Ravi recalls many celebrity guests on the show including late actor Mehmood and Amitabh Bachchan. “When Amitji came on the show, we knew we had made it. Mehmood saab told us that he loved the show and watched it regularly. He was unwell and would move around with an oxygen tank yet he was thrilled to be a celebrity guest on the show. Such support boosted our morale.”