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'Don't learn dance just to participate in TV shows'

Choreographer Bhakti Naik, who has worked with stalwarts like Prabhu Deva and other Bollywood actors has a dance school in the city where she often conducts workshops. She has choreographed for several movies and will soon be working on the movie Tuzi Mazi Love Story and an untitled movie by director Raju Firake. Both are Marathi movies set to be released this year. Excerpts from an interview:


Bhakti Naik on the sets of a film

Classical base
I started learning Kathak at the age of four. I came from a small city, Satara, so I had to discontinue dancing. Then I found a Bharatnatyam dance guru from whom I learned a lot. When I passed my standard 12 exam, I thought of coming to Pune as I was sure I wanted do become a dancer or a choreographer. I joined Lalit Kala Kendra and did my further dance studies under experts like Dr Suchita Bhide Chapekar.


A dance choreographed by Bhakti Naik 

Choreographing for movies
One has to understand the camera movements, the subject as well as the dance to become a good choreographer. Every good dancer cannot be a good choreographer while every  choreographer need not be a very good dancer.

Start off
I started doing choreography with small groups in 2006. I started with stage shows and around that time I got my first movie break which was a Tamil movie; its shooting was done in Hyderabad. You have to be true to yourself to succeed in this field.

Marathi movies
I wanted to pursue a career in Marathi movies as I feel they still lack in good choreography. Choreography is an important part of movies and dance sequences need to be made more apt in Marathi movies.

Ups and downs
There will be a lot of ups and downs in this career. You have to sustain yourself and be true to yourself to succeed. I knew I will only do movies in which I was given a free-hand to choreograph a song and not work on the director’s terms.

Age factor
Age is not important if you are a good dancer but in Bollywood, if you are young you’re not taken too seriously. As I am in my 20s they always feel I do not have much experience and I am rejected.

TV shows
I would not like to choreograph TV shows as I feel there is no originality in the dance forms; it is a copy of Bollywood. The dance shows are good but one should not learn dance to participate in a TV show.

Tips for becoming a choreographer
Learn each and every style in-depth, and a classical base always helps. You should not copy any person, have an ideal but don’t copy as you can copy the techniques but not the expressions. Don’t mix dance types. You need an attitude and skill to succeed.

Favourite choreographer
Vaibhavi Merchant is a perfect choreographer. She is the best in front of the camera. Of course I like Saroj Khan a lot as well.

Guru–Shishya parampara
Youngsters should learn to respect their gurus. Students now come and say we want to learn dancing in three to four months, that does not happen. You have to give your full dedication to learn dancing. You should have at least one guru to succeed in life.

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