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World Dance Day: Bollywood choreographers reveal the toughest song they ever worked on

For some, it was the pressure of working with an excellent dancer, while some literally crossed boundaries!

bollywood Updated: Apr 29, 2018 13:01 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Saroj Khan,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,Dola Re
A still from the song Dola Re, which was choreographed by Saroj Khan.

Seeing our favourite stars dance on the big screen makes us want to shake a leg too, and sometimes even leaves us in awe of the smoothness with which they pull off those cool moves. But what we might not realise is the enormous amount of time, money, and hard work that go into getting the act right — a big part of making the song a hit.

On World Dance Day, five Bollywood choreographers talk about their toughest song till date.


L-R: Madhuri Dixit; Saroj Khan

Dola Re Dola (Devdas; 2002)

Two songs — Maar Daala and Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka — in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer had already been shot. Both songs were powerful, but when I heard the audio of Dola Re Dola (featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit), I felt it was not good, and felt the lack of dance in it. I told Sanjay Leela Bhansali (director), ‘You have so many good songs in your film. Why are you using this?’ He said, ‘Master ji, we will do one thing. You start composing (coming up with steps) for the song. If you still don’t think it’s up to the mark, we will change the song.’ I said ‘Okay, I will try’. When we began composing, I started feeling it’s tough, because it had to surpass everything. The movements were difficult.


L-R: Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez; Ahmed Khan

Jumme Ki Raat (Kick; 2014)

The biggest pressure was choreographing Salman Khan, who is known to give at least one hit track in each of his films. I had not worked much with him before. Kick was also Sajid Nadiadwala’s debut as a director. And to top it, the song was being compared to Jumma Chumma (Hum; 1991), in which the legend Amitabh Bachchan ji performed. I didn’t make Salman just put his hands in pockets or move his biceps; I made him go all out.


L-R: Ranbir Kapoor; Ashley Lobo

Nadaan Parindey (Rockstar; 2011)

It was the finale of Rockstar (directed by Imtiaz Ali) in Hyderabad with Ranbir Kapoor, where we had to shoot with a stadium full of people. We had to work with an uncontrollable crowd of almost 5,000 people. We had to keep the crowd occupied throughout the night, and keep the timing of the cameras right. 16 of my assistant were flying around the place to manage them.


L-R: Hrithik Roshan; Marzi Pestonji

Dhoom Again (Dhoom 2; 2006)

I have been assisting Shiamak Davar for more than twenty years now, and probably the toughest was the title track of Dhoom 2, because when you have Hrithik Roshan dancing in front of you, you get pressured anyway. Luckily, Shiamak knows how to push the envelope.


L-R: Ganesh Hegde; Vivek Oberoi

Jaan Mein Dum (Dum; 2003)

For the song featuring Vivek Oberoi, we needed a beautiful river bed and wanted him to ride a bike there. We found such a place in the Rann of Kutch, and went there in a chopper. However, while shooting we didn’t realise when we crossed the Line of Control (LoC), and from India, ventured into no man’s land. We could hear shelling around that area. We were immediately told by the pilot to get out of there. We did get the shots we needed, but it was scary.

Interact with the author on Twitter/ @RishabhSuri02

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 13:01 IST