Imagine a life without air, music without rhythm and a body without a soul. Well, that is exactly how the Bollywood films will be without its 'soul'full and gracious dance, which is also responsible to keep the cinegoers swaying themselves for every reason and during every season! Dance becomes the bridge between the story, music, and the film's characters. In short, if there is no dance, there is no Bollywood. And with one of Bollywood’s greatest dancer, Madhuri Dixit, making her comeback with Aaja Nachle this week, IndiaFM lists down some of dance based films made in Bollywood.
Dil To Pagal Hai
Someone somewhere is made for you. This phrase brings Yash Chopra’s film Dil To Pagal Hai to our minds. The film starred Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor and was a love triangle. The entire film had a westernized feel to it, right from the clothes to kind of dance sequences. A larger than life special effect was given to whole film. The dance sequences added to that effect. Shiamak Davar choreographed the songs, with the emphasis on body movements, rather than steps, which made the whole performance, look grander. The whole ambience for every performance and practice sessions was very much unlike in India and closer to the western musicals. They had created a Manhattan loft kind of place where Shah Rukh lives and the troupe practices, the Pepsi vending machine, neon light, everything was made to look very western. The film went on be a cult film and dance became a major attraction. The music piece, ‘Dance of Envy’ that shows Madhuri and Karisma competing with each other, became the focal point. The choreography and technical aspects of the direction during the songs shows off the real beauty of Yash Raj Films. The film also established Shaimak who today is one of the best film choreographers.
A combination of A.R. Rahman and Shiamak Davar can create magic on screens. That was exactly what was seen on the screen when the film, Taal was showcased. Taal was again a triangular love story. It shows a major alteration from Indian to western.
The film shows a very remarkable transformation from the regional Indian first half to the western feel in the later half of the film. The film imbibed the regional feel to the dance and to the music. As the story moves forward to when Aishwarya meets Anil Kapoor a successful and famous music producer/director. A mix of classical and western freestyle combination was portrayed through Shiamak’s beautiful choreography. Taal probably has Aishwarya’s best dance performances onscreen.
Career is a very important aspect of a dignified person but any profession that obstructs personal relationship with a loved one must be made very carefully. In the film Naach, Abhishek Bachchan and Antra Mali are two middle class citizens in Mumbai. Both try to get a breakthrough in their individual professions. Abhishek wants to be an actor and Antra wants to be a choreographer. Both eventually falling in love manage to succeed in their career, but with a bigger price to pay. Shabina Khan Raoul, Maitria, Harshall, Vitthal and Terrence Lewis choreographed the dances in the film. Shabina, in fact, she is first-rate in bringing out the nuances that make Antra, the glum-looking idealistic passionate dancer she is, fiercely protective of her space and fiery in the dance sequences. She beats Urmila in body flexibility through her jazz-meets-yoga-meets-aerobics `naach' and in the costumes too. Antra’s dance sequences aped a lot of Urmila’s but the former surely gave a lot of competition to the latter. The movements were not only graceful and sensational but also poignant.
The rest of the film focuses on whether Abhishek and Antra can put their differences aside and if they get back together.
Nobody doubted his acting abilities. He had always been a good dancer, a rare thing for a gold medalist at FTII, Pune. Real success came with Disco Dancer for Mithun Chakraborty. This film made Mithun the national dancing sensation. The word disco owes a lot to Mithun Chakraborty and vice versa. Mithun danced and the nation danced with him. He sang and India joined in the chorus. In Disco Dancer, young Mithun sang and danced on streets for their livelihood. After becoming a star how a certain personal tragedy affects his career. When nothing works his old mentor, Rajesh Khanna steps on stage and encourages him. He brings back dance to his life and life goes on… the musical drama Disco Dancer has one of Mithun’s breakthrough performances. This was a huge success due to its hit music and remains a cult favorite to this day.
Another film Dance Dance showcased him as a talented dancer. The film topped the charts for his dance sequences. Dance Dance featured him and Smita Patel as siblings who danced to earn a living. Mithun gave a new definition to Disco and his dance moves are still imitated by his fans even today. He not only gave disco a new definition but also created a new trend of the ‘Jing-Bang’ clothes and accessories as well.
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
Sandhya, a dancing girl, is seen doing a cheap dance by an old time Keshav Rao Date and his son and disciple Gopi Kishen. Chastised by Keshav and shown what real dance is by Gopi she sees a new meaning in dance and begs Keshav to teach her. He tells her it will be a hard task but she is willing. Gopi and Keshav stay at her place, where her maintenance is paid for by one of her admirers Madan Puri. As Sandhya and Gopi begin their training for a prestigious dance festival, the two of them also fall in love. Keshav is furious as he is totally against any display of any emotion by the artist other than devotion to his art. She gives up everything so that Gopi may excel in his art. Keshav relents as he realizes the hardships Sandhya has undergone and he reunites the lovers. The film is a tribute to the Classical Dances of India. From lessons in Kathak to Yaman Raag to Dance of the Seasons to the Shiv Tandav sequence, the film is a series of sparkling vignettes and gorgeous ensembles of Kathak, Bharatnatyam, and Manipuri. The film is a feast of Indian Dance but never moving away from the story and is in fact an essential part of a tender romance of the Keshav's disciple, which ripens into love and is turned into drama and near tragedy before resolving itself happily at the end. Sandhya is an ace dancer till date and Gopi Kishen is considered as one of the best Indian dancers ever. V. Shantaram filmed with movie with the best technology and created some path breaking scenes and grand sets. The shots were not only done artistically but also given a larger than life feel to it. Among these is also the film, Navrang that changed the definition of dancing and choreography. This film too was made by V. Shantaram and starred Sandhya.
Sudha Chandran is a well-known Bharatnatyam dancer. During an unfortunate accident, she lost her leg. But the urge to dance never let her quit. She got a Jaipuri foot and continued to dance her heart out. The story of Naache Mayuri revolves around her life itself in which she plays herself. Today Sudha Chandran can not only do classical Indian but excels in western dancing as well, which is very clear through her performances on the tv shows. As a dancer, she not only raised the bar of performances but also of achievements. Today, she is an idol to many dancers who still cannot match her level of enthusiasm and commitment.
These were some of dance based films made in Bollywood. Hindi films are known for their melodious music and graceful dance sequences and this is one trait that will continue to distinguish Indian cinema.