Darsheel's success spurs youngsters to join dance schools

By Shweta Thakur

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Cute and buck-toothed Darsheel Safary, who played a dyslexic kid with aplomb in "Taare Zameen Par", has turned into an inspiration for youngsters who are now joining dance schools run by choreographers to make it big in the film world.

Safary is not the only one to have made the transition from being a member of a dance group to becoming a film star. There is the "Jab We Met" dancing sensation, Shahid Kapur, who too used to be a dance troupe member before becoming a film hero.

Darsheel Safary, 11, is a student of renowned choreographer Shiamak Davar, who recommended him to actor-director Aamir Khan. The reference catapulted Darsheel to stardom and he won several awards including the critic's choice best actor Filmfare award.

Similarly Shahid too has been a student of Davar before joining the film industry as an actor.

"Darsheel and Shahid have made it to films and are the products of our institute. Aspirants have understood that dance training institutes and troupes open the door to the film industry," Rajesh Mansukhani, spokesperson for Shiamak Davar, told IANS.

"With Bollywood dreams, a lot of youngsters join dance groups. Over 100 new entrants join our courses every year," said Mansukhani.

Samir Malhotra, executive director of Ashley Lobo's institute The Dance Worx, said apart from the Bollywood influence, a boom in media is attracting many to the institutes.

Lobo is a well-known dance master who has choreographed songs for the upcoming film "U, Me Aur Hum", blockbuster "Jab We Met" and "Dhoom", to name a few.

"The increased media exposure and increased number of TV channels have stimulated the aspirations of youngsters, especially those belonging to small towns. They want to be dancers to get a break in movies."

Besides Shahid and Darsheel, others whose dancing shoes helped them enter the silver screen include Pearl Barsiwala, Isha Sherwani, Ruslan Mumtaz and Mumait Khan who featured in the 'Seekh Le...' song of "Munnabhai MBBS".

Pearl played the role of Sarika's daughter (Dilshad) in the critically acclaimed film "Parzania".

However, dancing diva Isha Sherwani's mother Daksha Sheth, who runs the Daksha Sheth Dance Company, said: "Today the youth want instant money and fame. So they take shortcuts like joining dance groups to be a part of the idiot box and the glamour world."

Renowned female choreographer Saroj Khan said: "Unlike common perception, the dance troupe members are paid really well, both in films songs and stage performances."

"These days, youngsters are very keen to pursue dancing as their profession. It is no longer tagged as a hobby," she added.

For performing in movies a dancer is paid between Rs.1,000 and Rs.20,000 and for a stage show Rs.3,000 to 7,500. If one opts to become a faculty member, then the remuneration ranges between Rs.50,000 and Rs.80,000 per month.

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