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How bollywood's choreographers got made

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By Faridoon Shahryar, IndiaFM

Monday, May 29, 2006

They work overtime to make your imagination sway with excitement. And it is due to their excited rehearsals running into several hours that the Hrithik Roshan's and Shahid Kapoor's of the film world make your heart beat flare up in joy. Earlier they were called Dance Directors, but with the changing times, they've been re-christened as Choreographers. They are charging a hefty sum of money for revving up the dance floor on screen and their demand for stage shows abroad is massive. Salman Khan paid a part of his remuneration from the ongoing Rockstar concerts in US to choreographers Bosco-Ceaser for their "exceptional work". Farah Khan has already moved on and is reckoned as a director-to-look-out-for while Rangeela choreographer Ahmed Khan is also holding the director's baton. We spoke to two well known Choreographers Raju Khan and Habiba Rehman about the change in perception about a typical 'dance master' in Bollywood.

Veteran Choreographer Saroj Khan's son Raju Khan has choreographed over 1500 songs and has also won a national award for Lagaan. He is starting on his directorial venture Showbiz under Mahesh Bhatt's banner. But his views about his first love Choreography are rather radical. "Filmmaking has changed. Choreography has changed accordingly. There was a time when along with the lead pair, dozens of chorus dancers gyrated their bellies needlessly. Songs then were meant as a breather where people went out and smoked. Today, the duration of a film has been curtailed. Mostly songs that add to the story are kept so the choreography has to be more meaningful and it has to take the story forward. I think the ego should go out of a dancer to make the song look more plausible. He doesn't have any other option if he wants to be around for long," he says. And what's his opinion on her mother who is instrumental in the success of Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi? "I sincerely feel she is the ultimate Choreographer. She actually knows what it means to make musical steps according to her own liking."

Habiba Rehman, a senior pro with an experience of twenty five years in Bollywood has learnt to move on with times. "I've Choreographed two generations of film personalities. I choreographed Amitabh in Saudagar and Abhishek in Refugee. I've also choreographed Randhir Kapoor as well as Karisma Kapoor. These days I choreograph all the dance movements in Balaji's K serials besides movies like my forthcoming Rehguzar starring Jimmy Shergill. I strongly feel that the next generation should take over from the earlier one. I am not jealous of anyone. Instead I've learned the new steps from youngsters and now I am incorporating them in my films. I strongly feel, whoever is good, the work will follow. Too much of competition stops the creativity," she says with a tinge of nostalgia.

The new generation of Choreographers is ruling the roost right now. They are young, hip and prone to fast-success. Maybe they should aspire for a longer career rather than doing too many things simultaneously. 

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