Friday, March 23, 2007
Choreographer Ganesh Acharya has to his credit, some of the most zippy and zany latka-jhatkas in Bollywood some of his recent works being Beedi (Omkara), Masti Ki Pathshala (Rang De Basanti) and Pyaar Ka Signal (Bhagam Bhag). And now the dance director dons a new hat - that of a film director. He has completed directing his first film titled Swami starring Manoj Bajpai and Juhi Chawla in lead roles.
One wonders how Ganesh developed a sudden interest in filmmaking. Is he following his contemporaries like Farah Khan, Raju Khan or Ahmed Khan who have turned towards direction? "Not really", replies Ganesh. "I wrote the story for Swami around four years back and at that time I had decided that I will direct this story someday. But what surprises me today is the fact that I had never thought I would also be producing the film".
So with a title like Swami, what is the film about? "Well the story is about people who love us and are dear to us. It may be our parents, our siblings anyone. When any person close to us is on his deathbed and we are next to him or her, the person is not only watching us but is looking into our future. But unfortunately the person does not have time to do or change anything before he goes away forever. In that essence, Swami is the story about a person's ability to look into the future", explains Ganesh.
And how did Juhi and Manoj come into his casting? "I always had Juhi Chawla in mind to play the character of the wife who is a South Indian. For her husband who is a Maharashtrian, I decided to cast Manoj Bajpai as I thought he would suit the character". Interestingly Amitabh Bachchan has recorded his voice as the narrator in the film. Life comes a full circle for the choreographer as he reveals, "Incidentally, I began my career as an assistant choreographer with Amitji's film Toofan and since then we share a very nice relationship. I had always decided right from the beginning that I want Amitji to be the narrator for my film".
And while you expect a lot of music and dance from his film, Ganesh Acharya surprises you by saying, "There aren't any songs or dance sequences in the film. The film only has one track which will be used as a title song". But isn't it ironical that a choreographer's directorial debut has no song-n-dance. Does that mean that in his directorial venture, Ganesh will not be seen in the film's credits as a choreographer? There is a new theory to this. "In the credits, it won't be credited as 'a film directed by Ganesh Acharya' but will be credited as 'a film choreographed by Ganesh Acharya'. And you will understand this only once you see the film".
Also Ganesh who is usually associated with a fun-n-frolic impression through his dance moves goes against his image to make an emotional film. "A lot of people close to me including Akshay Kumar, Satish Kaushik and some more friends from the industry have seen the film and gave a very positive response. I feel very happy to know that the step I have taken is the right one."
So post Swami will Ganesh continue choreography or shift his focus only towards direction? "I will always continue to choreograph", replies Acharya firmly. Talking about his choreography, one of his recent assignments included the Himesh Reshammiya film 'Aap Ka Surroor' where reportedly some Indian auto-rickshaws were imported to Germany to be included in a song shoot. "Yes, we did shoot a song in Germany and even Himesh danced a little bit in it. But there weren't any rickshaws", laughs off Ganesh.
As a choreographer, Ganesh Acharya feels he has been inspired by only one choreographer - himself. "I am inspired by myself, I compete with myself. I don't compete with anyone; I only concentrate on my work. I don't think there is anyone or rather I haven't seen anyone today who has done exceptional work to inspire me". Has choreography in Bollywood evolved over the years? "I don't think so. Choreography toh wahi hai, building ka colour change ho jaye lekin building toh wahi hota hai na".
On an ending note ask him who according to you is the best dancer in the industry and without a second thought Ganesh replies, "Govinda". Has to be considering he has choreographed the maximum number of songs for Govinda and the two, team-up pretty well. "Govinda toh mere bhai hai. Yeh rishta toh god ne banaya hai", he concludes.