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‘Don’ is one of the most successful and satisfying remakes in Bollywood. The 1978 blockbuster was reprised by Farhan Akhtar in 2006 that starred Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra. While the whole album from the movie was a hit but there was one, in particular, that was it and it was ‘Mourya Re’. It was the debut project for Bollywood choreographer Rajeev Surti and that song and since that day been played every year at varied Ganapati celebrations.
While talking to Bollywood Bubble, Rajeev opened up about his experience while making Shah Rukh Khan dance to his steps. He said, “Yes ‘Don’ was my first film. Farhan Akhtar sir saw me in ‘Nach Baliye’ he was one of the judges. Then he called me for his film ‘Don’, that time I thought that maybe he is calling me to teach someone or for some classes. I never realised that he was asking me for a song in his film. It is a very big film with Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra. When I went there, he said that ‘I want you to choreograph this song’, I could not imagine because I was looking for a nice big break and I couldn’t believe it. It was a dancing song that’s why it created so much buzz. That time it was rare to see a Ganpati song. Shah Rukh Bhai was really supportive, the first day we had a break because we could only shoot one or two shots. Later, Shah Rukh Bhai called me, I was in the car, he said, ‘Mai Shah Rukh bol raha hoon,’ Mujhe laga koi hoga Shah Rukh; then he said, ‘Arey nai mai Shah Rukh Bhai bol raha hoon.”’ He told me he saw my work and he gave a lot of courage. He was very easy to work with and in so much of crowd, he was always on time. Shah Rukh Bhhai was very supportive.”
Later talking about his latest project, ‘Ginny Weds Sunny’, he spoke about the two songs, ‘Phoonk Phoonk Ke’ and Rubaru’ that he had choreographed, he said, “There were a lot of layers in one song, a lot of emotions because Yami and Vikrant’s character had a conflict going on. He is getting married and she was his girlfriend before. So there was dancing also and there was fighting also and then there was the realisation as well. This song, you can say in itself was like a short film. The second song was a nice peppy song for a trip. There was some romance going on between Yami and Vikrant.” Asked about his favourite, he said it was ‘Phoonk Phoonk Ke’. He said, “Because it had a lot of layers and it was very challenging for me and for Puneet also at the same time. Puneet shot that song first as in this is his first film and he started the songs with my song. I knew Puneet since ‘Don’ days as he was the assistant director.”
Talking about choreographing Vikrant and Yami, he said, “They are actors and this was more about the montages as choreography is not all about only dancing, its all about how you put your story forward in the song. So it was really really easy actually to choreograph them. But, to think about all these moments, it was really challenging. They told me about the story and how exactly the song is. ‘Phoonk Phoonk Ke’ was a very important song. A montages song is more time consuming than a dancing song.”
Talking about the phase after lockdown, Rajeev said it has become a bit time consuming but one cannot risk anyone’s health, “It is a bit time consuming now, like when we were filming for ‘Mumbai Saga’, we had to stop out rehearsal in two hours and sanitize the space. There were gloves and stuff like that, I mean you can’t wear masks and dance right! There was a lot of checking, people had to get checked for Corona two days in advance. So there was a lot of risk for 50-60 dancers and for us also. There are very few dancers in town now because many went back to their native place due to the lockdown.”
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