Tell us about your association with Farah Khan?
My association with Farah Khan has been for the longest time. She is like my second mother. I feel very protected and looked after whenever I’m with her. I’ve never known any other Guru. Whatever I am today, its all because of her. She saw the potential in me and gave me a break. I wouldn’t want to change this for anything in the world. If need be, I’ll leave everything at the drop of a hat and go and assist her.
Ha..ha..honestly, its very overwhelming and touching! its like having multiple children. Its not only the contestants in my team who call me ‘ma’ but also the ones who watch the show or come for auditions. The kids look up to me and so do their parents; because they have entrusted their children to me with certain amount of trust. Its scary at times because I don’t want to fail the trust. It feels strange because at this age I should have had two kids of my own, but now I have infinite number of children who shower me with so much of love and affection all the time.
Did you expect Sheila ki Jawani to become so popular?
We did not expect it but of course we worked towards making it a hit! I’m very happy that all the hard work that was put into it finally paid off. In fact, the song has become a benchmark in the item songs genre. Plus it also got tagged as a ‘classy’ song and not a vulgar number which generally item songs are portrayed as. I think that was a big achievement.
Which song that you have choreographed, you think, has been a turning point in your career?
A lot of songs actually. Songs that helped me establish myself as a choreographer were, Alisha Chinai’s very popular , ‘Made in India’ and Suchitra Krishnmoorthy’s ‘Dole Dole’. The instant popularity of these two songs catapulted me from a dancer to a choreographer. Whereas, ‘ Roshni se bhare bhare ‘ from the movie Asoka gave me recognition in the film industry. Then ofcourse, the biggest turning point in my life has been coming on board Dance India Dance as a judge. The kind of name, fame and recognition that I have earned from this show is phenomenal.
Which stars of our industry is easy to work with and which ones are difficult?
Every star is difficult to work with. They always try to manipulate the steps as per their abilities. We at times have to mould our choreography as per their wishes. Most of them come with a set of norms and want the choreography to be twisted as they seem to think that’s how it should be. So I would say its definitely a very challenging task and not easy at all. However, there are also those few who are willing to stretch themselves and are comfortable to work with.
What do you feel about DID Season 3?
From the time you had started dancing till jow, what changes have happened to dance as an art form?
The scenario has changed massively. The perspective has changed entirely. When I started pursuing dance, nothing was available to learn apart from classical dance and music. There wasn’t any awareness. These days dancers have become so much responsible and evolved. So many institutions have opened up who give holistic training to dance enthusiasts. Its nice to see that at this day and age, people are considering it as an enviable career option when in earlier days it wasn’t even considered an option. The approach has changed. One of the biggest accoplishments that we have achieved through DID is that the show has changed the mindset of people. They have started looking at dance much respectfully. At times, I wish DID had started then. We struggled so much to learn dance as there were no amenities. Its so much easier and nicer now.
Do you plan to open a dance academy or make a film?
Film, I definitely don’t want to do.i’m good as a choreographer and I want to evolve as a choreographer. I don’t want to make too manny jumps. So making films will definitely never be a career option. But someday I would defnitely want to invest in an institution which will enroll those people who have the passion for dance but cant afford it. I want to provide for them. For that I would need good teachers in the institute who would train the kids. But to afford good quality faculty , I have to mint enough to money myself to pay them…(laughs). But god willing, this is one of my dreams, and hopefully, like many others , even this wil come true very soon!