Ganesh Hegde
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Ganesh: I have the ability to surprise SRK..

Ganesh Hegde

By HT

Mumbai, Nov. 10 -- He has choreographed several hit tracks, including 'Mast mahaul mein jeene de' (Fiza; 2000), 'Khallas' (Company; 2002), 'Babuji zara dheere chalo' (Dum; 2003), and Chammak challo' (RA.One; 2011).

Now choreographer Ganesh Hegde has added another feather to his cap with the current earworm, Sharabi', from Happy New Year. On his birthday, today (November 10), Ganesh talks about choreographing the new chartbuster, his bond with Shah Rukh Khan, and how post singing and dancing, he now has acting on his radar.

The track 'Sharabi' has brought you back in the spotlight.

When Shah Rukh Khan calls, you know he wants something special. I was in the middle of working for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival at that point, and he called, saying, "You have to do it. There's no one else I know, who can pull this off." He sees excellence in anything I do and I was obliged. So, I took time out to do 'Sharabi', and I'm glad that it has come out so well.

Shah Rukh and you go back a long way. Tell us about your friendship.

I feel that Shah Rukh and I share a bond of excellence. When I see him, I see excellence, and I can tell you with confidence that I have the ability to surprise him. There are many stars in this business, but no one is as intellectual and competitive as Shah Rukh. He does everything in such a way that it turns out to be better than the others.

You only had four days to work on the song before the film's premiere. Do you always work on such short deadlines?

This is the first time that I did a song on such a short notice. The day I got the call from Shah Rukh, I conceptualised it. The next two days were spent in erecting the sets, and we shot for two days, just in time for the premiere. It was madness because we had limited time, and on top of that, the team was busy promoting the film. So, I literally had to grab stars when they were available, and push them into the spotlight.

When you have an ensemble cast, how do you deal with the diverse levels of expertise in dance that each of them possess?

It is quite difficult to do justice with everyone when it comes to screen time. But this song was all about going whacky. So, I cashed in on that. I had five good-looking people, who are great actors as well. Keeping that in mind, I gave them a few simple steps, and focused on their expressions. If you see Deepika, she has gone berserk in the video. Shah Rukh saw one shot, which had me replicating the step in frame; he took it and made it look even better. Boman was so innovative; he got the idea bang on.

People still remember you for your song, 'Main deewana'. Any plans of going back to singing?

Actually, post 'Main deewana', I got many acting offers as well. But I didn't want to take them up because there was nothing different for me to do there. If I'm in the right space, I would sing, dance and act. But if there's no innovation, then I don't see the point in taking up projects. I did one more album, Let's Party, which had Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, but then I realised that India is not like the west, where artistes are encouraged and songs are promoted on various platforms. In India, everything is Bollywoodcentric. India is very filmi.

You seem to be selective when it comes to zeroing in on projects. What is the reason behind this?

I take up projects when I feel I would be able to live up to my expectations. Currently, my entertainment company just wrapped the mammoth task of working on the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. People who've lived there for as long as 30 years said that they have never seen anything like this before. That's the kind of success I'm aiming for. Just doing things for money does not work all the time, although money-making is also an important aspect.