After the box-office debacle of Khamoshi
, Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to make a musical love triangle story with over the top opulence. For the Rajasthani folk song ‘Dhol Baaje Re’, Vaibhavi Merchant was given a free hand to choreograph the song the way she liked. She didn’t disappoint. Being the grand-daughter of ace choreographer Hiralal, choreography was in her genes perhaps. The song turned out to be the best choreographed song of the movie and fetched her a National award.
As movies grew bigger, so did her choreography. Lagaan
put her in the league of Saroj Khan and Farah Khan
. But the major triumph came with ‘Kajra Re’ from Bunty Aur Babli
. The song became the craze of the nation. The Bachchan pair of father and son along with Aishwarya created a ‘Kajra Re’ mania. All three danced their hearts out to the steps of Vaibhavi. Even today, the song is prominently featured in all of the tours that Bachchans perform at in India and overseas.
After watching Dil Toh Pagal Hai
, many film-makers realised the importance of choreographers specialising in modern and Western dance styles and the effective use of costumes and props. Subhash Ghai was the first to take advantage of Yash Chopra’s choice of Shiamak as his choreographer for Taal
. The result was a notch above the Chopra film. Taal
purely succeeded on its music and song picturisation. The settings were different and a lot of Jazz and Western-influenced dance routines were picturised. Dhoom 2
with Hrithik Roshan further enhanced Shiamak’s aura of a typical Western choreographer.
Like all the other departments of film-making, choreography too has come a long way since the era of just facial expressions. For some film-makers like Yash Chopra, Karan Johar and Subhash Ghai, choreography is as important as music is to their movies. The sweat, time and money that go into producing a big budget song has increased ten fold in the last decade itself. The various reality dance competition shows now ensure that there will be a non-stop supply of aspiring choreographers who will be ready to challenge the existing top ones.
The ever changing demands of the audience will force film-makers to offer something different all the time. But rest assured, as long as there are songs in our movies the hero and heroine will not shy away from shaking a leg.(This is the concluding part in a series on Choreography in Hindi Cinema).