Choreographer Ganesh Acharya is an uncomplicated man. He speaks his mind and lets people speak theirs. It’s a task to offend him and honestly, you wouldn’t want to, considering he’s gifted with such a friendly and warm bonhomie
You parody him, label him the ‘fat man’ of the industry, scorn his directorial abilities…nothing affects him, he simply continues being the humble and modest guy that he was when he entered the industry at the tender age of 21. “I’ll continue being a technician; I can never be a star,” he declares emphatically and just when we though the fat guy was in a mood to have an intense conversation, he proves us wrong with the loud guffaw that he indulges in every now and then, in between the paragraphs of our tete-a-tete. He just wrapped up an item number with Mallika Sherawat for Tezz and it seems there’s a lot on his plate right now…so we take this confab a li’l further to unlock his mind and mouth and get us some juicy goss…
So what was it like making Mallika Sherawat dance to Laila O Laila?
Mallika is superb. We have also worked on Jalebi bai together. I think she’s a good dancer and also she’s very comfortable with me. You have to wait for it – it’s quite a catchy number and different from the rest of the item songs. It has a very hip-hop and western touch to it.
You have claimed that Laila is going to be better than Chikni Chameli? What makes you so confident?
I have been misquoted. I just said that with Laila I tried to bring something new to the table. The costumes, sets, rhythm, lighting, movements…everything in the song is larger than life. In fact, it’s very similar to the number I shot for Ghatak with Mamta Kulkarni. It has the same energy and vigour. After a long time I am doing something so exciting.
So who’s a better dancer, Mallika or Katrina?
Ganesh Acharya! I am hands down the better dancer (laughs). Every actor is a good dancer these days ‘coz they are well aware that if their initial song becomes a hit, they will end up getting more offers. So they come pretty much prepared thinking that they have to dance well, come what may!
You are quite diplomatic…
Trust me, I have to be (laughs again)!
Govinda has always been your fave dancer – who do you think is ‘Govinda’ in the present lot?
I think Govinda is the best. I have always maintained that dancing is not about moving your body, it’s about moving your face and playing with expressions. And honestly, I haven’t seen anyone doing that till now, apart from Chi Chi. These days it’s about grooving to a set number of beats, but according to me dancing is when you put on the ‘Nashik dhol’ and dance as if no one’s watching. That’s the reason I set very easy steps in my films which the common man can easily ape. If you seen Hrithik dancing, you will appreciate his body and the way he moves, but you can’t do what he does ‘coz his steps are complex. A person should feel the sudden need to join you when he watches you dance.
And among the heroines, I haven’t found anybody like Madhuri Dixit yet who plays with the face the way she did.
What do you think about dance reality shows; would you judge one?
I am extremely choosy and my plate is full at the moment. I will be making my debut in a film titled ABCD very soon, opposite Prabhudeva . So I am not very interested in reality shows, unless it offers something different. Giving points and making comments is not my cup of tea. Also, if it promises to offer aspiring dancers something more substantial than 15 seconds of fame, I’ll definitely take it up.
Who do you like of your contemporaries?
I like Sundaram Master from the South. And about present choreographers in Bollywood – I think they all simply follow my style (guffaws)!
Direction didn’t work well for you, so what’s your next plan of action?
Right now I am extremely busy choreographing Son Of Sardar, Dabangg 2, David Dhawan’s Chashme Badoor and a Neeraj Pandey film. But this time if I get into direction it has to be a film made in typical Ganesh Acharya style with big stars and loads of commercial elements.
Don’t you think people will start labeling you the king of item numbers very soon, considering you are only taking on such projects?
I don’t mind, honestly. Technicians can be moulded in whatever way you want, whereas stars can’t. Technicians are flexible and chilled out and you can give them whatever name you want. I fall in the latter category.
But you are a star already – you are acting in a movie!
Whatever I do, at the end of the day I do the job of a technician who has to give satisfaction to his producers and directors. I have to mould myself every now and then. And about acting – I don’t really intend to continue with it.
Don’t you think Bollywood dancing has evolved over the years? Does it still have that old-school charm?
I am every clear about the answer: Bollywood dancing can never change. A long time ago I choreographed Chamma chamma(China Gate) and if you see Chikni Chameli now, both are almost the same. If you’ve seen Ooh la la (The Dirty Picture), it’s very similar to Tathaiya from Himmatwala.
Who you think is a better dancer? Rate in order, 1 to 5, Vidya Balan, Madhuri Dixit, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif…