He has come down 16 floors from a building from his BMX. Shahid is running away from the bad guys and enters the lift of a building with his BMX. It reaches the top floor. These goons run behind him. From the terrace there is a cloth hanging till the ground. Then he leaps on the ground and rides the bicycle down. He has done it himself and you will see it in the movie. It's a risky stunt and Shahid had got vertigo. He did it for me. I don't think he would have done it for anybody. He woke up in the morning, didn't have his breakfast, just began rehearsing and took the shot at 1:30.
You see Shahid Kapoor the way youngsters want to see him as. The next song will begin soon and you should really see his dance in the next song. It's out of the world.
From being a child artist in Mr. India to turning choreographer, did you always want to direct a film?
When I was a child-artist in Mr. India, I was 11 years old. We used to help out Shekhar Kapoor in menial things. I used to see him directing and I felt that it was a nice job. A director works like a dog - get this, get that, get everyone's dates together, etc. but the moment the film goes on the floor, you are the captain. That struck in my mind. After it's a cut, everyone looks at you, waits for you till you say 'one more take or OK'. I felt this is the position one should be in. whether you are an actor, cameraman or choreographer, the final call is the director's.
It struck me at a young age but then I was interested in dancing. So I assisted Saroj Khan and then came Rangeela when I was 19. Today I'm 32 and have finished my second film.
Did you work as a child artist in any other film other than Mr. India?
I did a film called Raakh starring Aamir Khan. It's was a beautiful film. You can imagine, while doing Mr. India, Jackie Shroff used to come to visit Anil Kapoor because they were good friends. I called him Jackie uncle and he used to make my hair and make us laugh. And imagine today I am directing him. Apart from that, for my first scene as a choreographer I handled Aamir and Jackie together for Rangeela. I felt so weird telling them cut and do something else. It was very nice of them to hear me out and support me when I was 19. I also taught Sunny Deol to dance in Angrakshak along with Saroj Khan. So I used to wait for him in his hotel suite and he would tell me that I'm the new boy. Today it feels really different. Such a senior man and I'm directing him.
Which choreographers do you think are doing good work today?
There are many choreographers today. Ganesh Hegde does a good job at times. Then there is Remo who is quite good. He was my assistant. Then there are Bosco-Caesar. I started out at 19 so I sound very senior now but they are all older than me (laughs). Now that I'm doing many songs and also directing, which gives an image that I'm 45 plus.
Who do you think is the best dancer in Bollywood?
With all my heart, I think it is Shahid Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan. You also have to watch out for this new boy Harman Baweja. He is also my childhood friend and will make his debut soon. All my childhood friends are becoming heroes. I couldn't do his entire film because I was busy with my own film. I taught Harman dancing when he was 9 years old. You should watch him dance. He is too good.
And the worst? Be honest.
You want me to get beaten up. If I say Sunny Deol, he is not a dancer so I cannot call him a bad dancer. So if there is a song to do then somehow he has to manage it. So we can't call him a bad dancer because he is trying to act it out as it is a part of the film. He is not the best dancer but the way he presents himself in his songs you have to see that he has the biggest hits.
Shah Rukh is not a brilliant dancer but when he comes in front of the camera and when the song is played he exudes energy. I have done Yes Boss, Pardes, etc. with him and so whenever I have to put him in front of my camera, with his charisma and agility in his body, I have to forget about the dance and work on his expressions. In those terms he is the best dancer.
Then there is Govinda. He only used to do small steps like moving his shoulders or moving his neck.
I can say that once upon a time there were no dancers. That was the time of Jackie Shroff, Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt and Anil Kapoor. That was the decade where there were no dancing heroes. There were more action heroes than family men. Then the era changed when Aamir Khan came in. He got the college style. After that the era completely changed when Hrithik came in. It's getting better and better.
Now that a sequel to Mr. India is being planned, wouldn't it be interesting to have you and Aftab in the outing as grown ups?
I told Shekhar Kapoor that he will have to make Mr. Indias now because all the kids have grown big. Even Aftab and Karan Nath were in the movie and we all are adults now. To that he said a very nice thing - 'Ahmed, even though you have grown I'm still the same'.
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