Salman Yusuf Khan: I am disappointed about leaving Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa halfway

Salman Yusuf Khan: I am disappointed about leaving Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa halfway

He moves like a dream and ends up partnering some of the hottest babes on Jhalak. The choreographer talks to BollywoodLife about Isha Sharwani and his upcoming B-town projects

Salman Yusuf Khan, the first winner of Dance India Dance (Season 1), is all set to foray into mainstream cinema with his first movie as a choreographer. And even as he gets candid about his future plans, he mulls over his journey with Isha Sharwani on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5. Read on…


You’ve become a star choreographer and a known face on Indian television in a very short span of time. What is the secret of your instant success?

I think it was me as an individual that worked. I have always given my 100 per cent to whatever I have done. I have always aimed to do better each time and I think that is what has worked for me.

What is your equation with Remo D’Souza?

I consider Remo sir my mentor. I consult him before anything and everything I do.

So who did you learn dance from?

I have been a dancer ever since I can remember. Of course, it became more serious once I came to India. I was a part of a dance studio, learned a lot of things watching YouTube videos and sometimes took part in workshops held by foreign instructors. That’s been my foundation in dancing.

You’ve got your first big Bollywood break as a professional choreographer…Is this what you really dreamed of?

Not really! Honestly, I never dreamed of anything this big. I am a very practical guy and I never really thought I could make it this big. Coming from a conservative middle class Muslim family, I was very rooted in my aspirations as well. My dreams were just about settling down – finishing my engineering, doing my MBA, getting a nine-to-five job, and getting my sister married. I had my priorities and life sorted until it took a turn with DID. Now, I have more options and I let my creativity and hard work flow through my acting and dancing.

So would you say you have achieved all your dreams?

So far I am fulfilling my dreams one at a time. I am still on my way.

Would you describe yourself as a taskmaster?

I am a very tough person to work with. When I imagine something in my head, I want it to turn out exactly how it was in my mind. In that way, I’m definitely a taskmaster.

What did Vivek Agnihotri say when he offered the film Freedom to you?

My conversation with Vivek Agnihotri was my first job interview. He asked me if I could choreograph a song. I immediately said ‘yes’. Then he asked me if I was willing to do the entire album? There was no reason to say no. He asked me how was I different from my mentor Remo? Is there anything I could do that even Remo couldn’t? I just told him that I have never compared myself to anyone. I always think out of the box. Being conventional is just not my thing.

Then he gave me a situation and asked me how I’d shoot it. I gave him a few ideas and he was impressed.

What is Freedom – the film all about?

The movie is set in the ‘80s. It is about three friends. The film revolves around how creative people make a breakthrough in life, and the role played by our education system.

Coming to Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5, do you regret Isha Sharwani’s decision to withdraw at the last moment?

I was very upset and disappointed. Whenever I take up something, I am in it to win it. I am a very competitive person. It’s just the way I was born. Talking just about me – I am a fighter. I have never backed out of anything I have taken up – no matter what the situation was. I give it my all. I had put in a lot of time, effort and patience into the show. I knew that Isha is a brilliant dancer and I could use her to her full potential to achieve the title. So yes, I was disappointed. Nonetheless, I have made my peace with it now.

Did you try convincing Isha?

Yes I did. I tried my best, but it was just not meant to be. Jhalak this season was not in my naseeb (fate) that’s how I take it.

Two things you like and dislike about Isha?

I like Isha’s dedication and perseverance. On a professional note, there’s nothing I hate about her. And personally, we’ve never really interacted outside of work. Whenever we met, it was always about work and sharing new ideas. I am a really boring person that way. You can call me workaholic. For the past three and half years, I have been running a race to be the best at what I do.

As a choreographer, who was your biggest threat on Jhalak?

Truthfully, no one! I have never considered anyone competition. I got into this competition to challenge and compete with myself. I keep testing myself.

What was your first starry moment?

I can never forget this. I was invited to Meerut for DID’s promotional event. There was a crowd of 5000 people waiting to cheer for me, catch a glimpse of me and shake my hand. I was moving with eight bodyguards and four gunmen around me. The crowd was shaking the car and I couldn’t move. Finally, I had to roll down my window and get on to the mic to tell them that I was overwhelmed by their love, but I have to leave. Now I know what it feels to be Shahrukh Khan. And how can I forget the day I won DID. Twenty-five thousand people shouting my name was an experience I’ll never forget.

Films or reality shows?

After this reality show, I think I prefer films.

Ever thought of going international?

I would love to. I want to train myself and learn the LA style. If I get an opportunity, I will.

A Bollywood star you would want to dance with?

I have danced with Remo sir and Prabhu Deva – the Indian Michael Jackson. Nothing can be bigger than that. But I would love to dance with Hrithik sir once.

Moving to choices: Isha Sharwani or Yana Gupta?

It’s not a fair question. They were both blessed dancers. Both of them dedicated their time and submitted themselves to me as students. They didn’t have any starry tantrums, not that I would have taken it, of course. But I think Isha had lesser tantrums than Yana. But I managed to get what I wanted from them.

Who is a better dancer – Yana or Isha?

Isha of course, with the kind of training she has received. Isha any day!

Who is hotter – Yana or Isha?

Both are not my type.

Oh, so what’s your type?

I think a simple, cultured desi girl – someone who is a perfect blend of Indian and western values.

You seem very confused about that…

Yeah…of course I am. How would I know what kind of girl I’ll get? Insha’Allah whoever it is, it will be forever. I believe I am a one woman man, very old fashioned and romantic. So I am going to take my time to find the right person.Subscribe to me on YouTube


  • munira

    hii salman..u r the most amazing person i’hav ever known..a sweet heart..luv u..:)

  • shruti

    hiiiii salman u r the outstanding choreographer…luv u dear. insha’allah aap apne life me aur grow karo nd my good wishes r always with u….llllluuuuvvvv uuuuuu.

  • shruti

    hello salman . u r the simply WOW.. luv u

  • kinky

    salman please dont lie about isha not being of ur type in the show i have seen love for isha in ur eyes but i guess the only problem is that isha is going to marry virat kohli. i have seen real real love for isha in ur eyes

    • shriya

      HeLLooOOo SALMAN i LUv uUUu
      u r my inspiration
      Hooope u wil be bac in jdj season 6

  • yousuf haji

    saLman love you man i wana see you big sereen TO ME YOU ARE WINNER JDJ 5 LOVE YOU BRO

  • swathi

    hiiiiiiii salman, you are the outstanding,awesome dancer i hav ever seen. for me u are the winner of jdj 5. And of course winner of jdj 6 if actually u were or not. I loveeeeeeee uuuuuuuuuuuu salman. From jdj 5 u r my inspiration for hardwork. With u in my mind i get back my first rank. soooooooo u r my mentor. I loveeeeeeeee uuuu sooooo much.

  • ayesha

    aslamalaikam..,salman,,, i love u ..will u marry me..i m just 20 yr desi girl.

  • ayesha

    aslamalaikam..,salman,,, ..will u marry me..i m just 20 yr desi girl. and i am studying now,, i will come with my dad ,after my exams will finish…. after march,,, i.e, 2014,,.

  • fidha nouhadh