After doing a stint in the dance talent hunt show Nach Baliye and working with Ganesh Hegde, Rajeev Soorti the talented choreographer has finally found his grounds. His prominent works include Aaj Ki Raat (Don) and Zinda Hoon Main (Zinda) and he continues to be bombarded with more offers.
In his interview, he talks about his experiences and upcoming films as a choreographer.
How did choreography happen to you?
I used to dance with Ganesh Hedge. After I left him I did not want to dance anymore, I wanted to do computer graphics, and so I left the industry. Then one day Suniel Shetty's entertainment agency Popcorn called me and asked if I would like to choreograph for the BBC awards in London. I said why not and grabbed the opportunity.
And how did you bag 'Aaj Ki Raat' in Don?
I did two songs in Don, one Aaj Ki Raat and other was the Ganapati song. I was a contestant in Nach Baliye and was choreographing for Varun Badola and Rajeshwari Sachdeva. Farhan was a judge on the show; he liked my work and offered me the film. First he offered me the Ganapati song, he liked the way I choreographed it. So he called me from Malaysia and asked me whether I would like to do 'Aaj Ki Raat' and I said of course I would.
And Aaj Ki Raat shaped up superbly
Aaj Ki Raat required a very 80's kind of a look. I wanted to give a very Saturday night, John Travolta look to the song. Even Farhan got the set designed in a very 80's kind of a look.
What is your basic approach while choreographing any track? Do you define the steps beforehand the shoot or just go by the flow on the sets?
I always rehearse for everything. For Don, Farhan was in Malaysia and I would shoot the rehearsed steps on a handy cam and send it to him. He would subsequently send it back with his comments if he wanted something changed in the song.
How was your experience choreographing for Baabul?
I have done a song for John Abraham and Amitji. Amitji did not have any steps, only John is dancing in the song and Amitji is just watching him dance. I did not want to give John tough steps as the song was very slow, but he was very co-operative.
You recently choreographed a song for Amrita Rao that had a very Pehla Nasha kinds feel
Oh, that is for the film My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. And it's not similar to Pehla Nasha. It's a very fun loving song where Amrita Rao plays an assistant director. She along with the other crew members in the film are dancing in a theatre when the director is out.
You are also choreographing for Namastey London
Yes, I just choreographed one song called Virania which was shot in London with Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif
How does it feel to make so many actors dance to your tune?
I have danced with a lot of actors earlier when I was working with Ganesh. I am quite comfortable working with them. But what I do is that I understand actors and actresses body language before, and accordingly choreograph steps for them.
Who according to you is the best dancer in the industry?
I won't be very diplomatic, but everyone has a different style of dancing. If I have to choose then it has to be Prabhu Deva and Hrithik Roshan. And amongst actresses I think it is Aishwarya.
And which choreographers in the industry inspire you?
I like Saroj Khan, Prabhu Deva, Ganesh Hedge and Farah Khan's work.
Do you think choreography in Bollywood has evolved over the years?
Yes definitely. With the help of technically advanced equipment which we have nowadays, it helps the shoot to go faster.
With dance based shows like Nach Baliye and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa coming on television off late, do you think choreography and choreographers are getting more recognition?
Of course they do. You know, I was a choreographer even before Nach Baliye, but it was very difficult to get work. That program gave me a platform and recognition. I proved that I can do a lot of stuff through that show. Farhan sir saw me in that show and gave me work. Thus anyone who feels that they have the potential should definitely participate in such programs.
What are the forthcoming films that you are choreographing?
I am doing Abbas Tyerwala's Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Sanjay Gupta's Woodstock Villa and Dus Kahaniyaan, and an Aamir Khan untitled production.