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Ghungroo, grace and grandeur

Updated on: 10 April,2024 07:16 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu |

Richa says Bhansali’s Heeramandi revived her love for Kathak as she practised for months before filming web series’ elaborate dance sequences

Ghungroo, grace and grandeur

Richa Chadha in Heeramandi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for not only presenting his female actors beautifully on screen, but also giving them author-backed roles. 

Richa Chadha says that her upcoming show Heeramandi did that and more. The auteur’s maiden web series, which revolves around courtesans in Lahore, also revived the actor’s love for Kathak as she filmed several dance numbers, beginning with Sakal ban. “Preparing for the dance sequences in Heeramandi was a labour of love. Months of dedicated practice were essential to ensuring that every step was executed with precision. I am thankful the show put me back in touch with Kathak,” she says. 

Sanjay Leela BhansaliSanjay Leela Bhansali

In her growing-up years, Chadha learnt Kathak under the guidance of Pandit Abhay Shankar Mishra in Delhi. The actor says, “However, life took its course, and my passion for dance was left behind. [Before the shoot], I feared I might have lost my skills. Yet, it felt like riding a bike. This year, I aspire to attain my degree in Kathak, under the guidance of my mentor, Pandit Rajendra Chaturvedi.”

She will remain grateful to the Netflix series—also starring Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sanjeeda Shaikh, and Sharmin Segal—for taking her back to the dance form. “Classical dance serves as more than a means of artistic expression; it embodies our cultural legacy. While actresses from the south frequently excel in Bharatanatyam, I’m occasionally dismayed by the limited acknowledgment Kathak receives in our film industry. I believe actresses should explore learning Kathak. It’s often employed as a tool to convey emotions through facial expressions, something we, as actors, often endeavour to master.”

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