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Bollywood choreographers and their weighty issues

Priyanka Sharma
22 January 2012

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) They have made several Bollywood stars lose inches with their dance moves. But ever wondered why the industry's top-notch choreographers - be it Saroj Khan, Farah Khan or Ganesh Acharya - are themselves on the heavier side of the weighing scale?

Most of them were lean when they started out. So some blame it on the oily food on the sets, the lack of physical exercise and the stress of coordinating with assistants and artists.

"Choreographers are like visualisers. They plan the choreography, not actually dance. They know what to tell the artist, they know the technique of the dance, but they don't stand and perform all the time. Add to that the food on the sets," young choreographer Terence Lewis told IANS.

"As a choreographer, you are stressed all the time as you have to concentrate on the artist and many times you end up neglecting yourself. Many of these choreographers were very fit when they started off, but in an attempt to take care of others, they have neglected themselves and that is why it has taken a toll on their body," he added.

However, the "Dance India Dance" judge adds that though it is important for all dancers to be fit, choreographers can be a little lax as they don't have to face the camera.

"As a choreographer, you don't need to be superfit because you're not actually dancing, you're just using your choreographic skills and choreographic vision. You don't need to dance, you just need to guide," he said.

Choreographers such as Vaibhavi Merchant, Ahmed Khan and Geeta Kapoor started out lean.

"As long as you are just a dancer, and dance actively, your body's metabolism is faster. The moment you become a choreographer, half of your work slows down. You are not physically doing a lot of things, you just get people to do things," said Kapoor.

She has assisted Farah Khan in movies like "Fiza", "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham", "Saathiya"and "Main Hoon Na" and even in hit number "Sheila ki jawani".

Why did she gain the inches?

"It is strange to see how all of us have shot up (in terms of weight). I think it is very important to be fit. I have a slip disc problem, which is why I am not always dancing. If god had permitted me to be fit, I would have immediately jumped up to it, but because of my severe back issue, I'm not allowed to do much," said the "Dance India Dance" judge.

"But other than that it is very important for all dancers to be fit because they have streneuous things to do," she added.

Earlier, Ahmed Khan had told IANS how a choreographer's role is akin to that of a director these days. A choreographer is not just about teaching the dance steps, he also decides the location, the setup, the lighting, the costume -- a dance is a film in its own way, and the choreographer ends up becoming a director for it.

Among the fitter choreographers in Bollywood are Shiamak Davar, Ashley Lobo, Remo D'Souza, Ganesh Hegde and Rajeev Surthi.

But one point worthy to note is that weight has not taken a toll on any choreographer's dance skills. The grace and chutzpah still remain -- a point well proven by Katrina Kaif's latest sizzler "Chikni chameli", choreographed by Acharya.

And as he rightly says: "Difficult steps come with experience." We guess age - and weight - have nothing to do with it!

(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at priyanka.s@ians.in)

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