We all love the magic created on the 70 mm celluloid screens in theatres and enjoy crooning and dancing our hearts out to our favorite stars dancing on the screens but how many of us do actually take a notice towards the background dancers in the film behind the main actors who are main pillar of the song and even in starry glamorous award nights, the background dancers crew dancing with the bollywood film stars on stage are often neglected by audiences and also filmy fans and this is where things are not right. During his recent interview, ace Bollywood choreographer Rajit Dev says background dancers deserve better recognition and pay.
Speaking in the favour of the background dancers who are often taken for granted in this highly competitive industry, during a recent interview celebrated choreographer Rajit Dev says background dancers deserve better recognition and pay.
Rajit Dev who is best known for Pachtaoge (female version) with Nora Fatehi and Tehas Nehas from Khaali Peeli (2020) that featured Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday, says that these back ground dancers need to be cherished more. Explaining the same, he said, “I became a choreographer because I worked as a dancer for a good 10 years and assisted for 5 years. I’m proud to be a dancer. From the age 18, I’ve travelled to so many countries that no other profession offers. There are a lot of good things that you get by being a dancer in Bollywood. But there are few things that should change for dancers. Starting from the hygiene on the sets, dressing room. This is in a very bad condition during stage events. I believe dancers are as talented as any actor so they should not be looked down upon. In fact, the next time, after an award show, you should thank the dancers on the podium. They were the ones running the show. From rehearsals, technicals and no sleep, back-to-back work, they put in so much effort. They deserve better recognition and a better pay scale”.
Being a dancer is not easy feat and throwing light on same, he told, “The most amount of hard work put in in an award show is by the dancers. The number of acts they have to remember are way too many. These dancers have to perform with actors, do quick costume changes and manage the props. There are huge props on stage which the dancers manoeuver with great poise. These props are actually heavy and it needs great skill for a dancer to make them look good on stage. There’s no room for error. Mistakes do happen but the way they cover up, only they know. The audience will never come to know”.
Further, he also said about how their hard work can be very rewarding as well and stated, “Nothing is easy in Bollywood. You have to really work hard towards your goal. But seeing the hard work that Shahid Kapoor and the late Sushant Singh Rajput did and became actors from being dancers, is really inspiring. It has given confidence to many dancers that they can also become actors or take up any other work in Bollywood”.
Rajit mentioned that how having background dancers helps the actors as well during award shows and film shootings and said, “I think India is well-known for Bollywood and when people say Bollywood, they often refer to big Bollywood songs and dance numbers. I’ll share my personal experience. I’ve toured to more than 35 countries and every time I meet different people, all they say, ‘India? Bollywood?’ and they start dancing! So, Bollywood is all about big dance numbers with lots of Bollywood dancers. When there’s so much of backup, the actors always feel pumped and it gives them immense confidence”.
In fact, Rajit also told that how having foreign dancers is indeed a good move and said, “I think the whole white dancers being used in a Bollywood song actually started when we started filming a song in a Mumbai studio, while, in the film, the song is supposed to happen in New York or on the streets of London. So foreign dancers were often called to work and I think it’s common now to use them in any song sequence. You can see many foreign students, tourists in India. These dancers are very well-trained dancers from all parts of the world. So, there’s always a cultural exchange of arts, which is great”.