There’s something about Sanjay Leela Bhansali films which is magical. He treats the 70 mm screen like a blank canvas where he paints his vision in a way that truly redefines– ‘larger than life films.’ Ghoomar, the song from his latest offering — Padmavati is a testimony to the same. Featuring Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, the song, according to Bhansali, is a tribute to the fearless spirit of Rajputana women. Sung by Shreya Ghoshal and Swaroop Khan, the music has been composed by Bhansali himself. While one of the accomplished Ghoomar masters Jyothi D Tommaar trained Deepika formally and helped her with the nuances of the folk dance form, DID participant-turned Bollywood choreographer, Kruti Mahesh Midya choreographed Deepika’s moves.
For Kruti, this is her first ever independent choreography for a Bollywood film. The former Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa choreographer credits everything she has achieved in her life to her mentor, Remo D’ Souza.
In a telephonic interview with us, Kruti talks about working with Deepika Padukone, the ‘genius’ Sanjay Leela Bhansali and how Ghoomar shaped up. Excerpts:
How has been the experience of choreographing Ghoomar and working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali?
There’s something that I worship in Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He is a magician, a genius, and everything when it comes to cinema. With Ghoomar, it has been very overwhelming and very different experience. Ghoomar is a very authentic folk dance form. So, to kind of hamper with it or lose its authenticity is not something that we wanted for commercial cinema. We wanted to give Ghoomar to people so that they can love it the way it is, and it is supposed to be enjoyed. The other thing was, of course, Rani Padmavati is royal, so there’s a little bit of a difference between when a royal Ghoomar happens and when a local Ghoomar happens.
And how did you ensure that difference?
We had the Ghoomar expert on board with us (Jyothi D Tommaar), so the little nuances, her experiences that she had when she taught Ghoomar to Rani sa (royal women in Rajasthan), she used to add that in our experience. So, the little bit of wrist and hip movements, everything was very subtle. When you see Chirmi (another form of Rajasthani folk dance) dancers, it’s very loud and in your face. But, when the Rani comes to perform, there’s something very magical and sensitive about it. Deepika has nailed it from the word go.
How many days did it take for the entire team to complete Ghoomar?
It took us 10 days to shoot the song and before that, we worked for around 16 odd days. So, it was for around two weeks we kept rehearsing with her.
What about Deepika? What kind of student is she?
When I started assisting Remo D’ Souza for films, my first choreography was Balam Pichkari, which featured Deepika Padukone. Coincidently, my first independent choreography is Ghoomar which is also with Deepika. She is a brilliant student. She gives her 200%, she will listen, she will observe and then she’ll do it. She will do it until you are not happy and she knows it. She is very professional when she is on the sets. There are no two ways about getting anything wrong with Deepika.
Kruti, how far have you come today from your days in DID to choreographing probably one of the most awaited Hindi film’s song of the year?
It has been a journey which has taught me so many things. It’s taught me to be patient and keep learning. I think I have been blessed to have Remo sir as my mentor when I started in the industry. I have been blessed to have Sanjay Leela Bhansali to believe in me blindly and give me this big song. I think there’s something right in me that they have been a part of my life.
SLB is known to give a hard time to his people on the sets. Doesn’t that bother?
I don’t think he gives any hard time. I think he’s such a genius and there’s so much passion and drive to his visual that he will get it out of you. That is a true director. Someone who understands that psyche can work very well with him.
In one of his own interviews, he had claimed that he works without any planning. Like, he goes on the sets and completely changes the entire script in that very moment itself. Doesn’t that seem like a problem to you?
Yes, he does that. He always has that certain vision and he is always thinking. You look at him and you know there are 120 things going on in his mind. So, you have to be alert and quick to understand that he is somewhere not getting something he wants out of that shot. And he is probably going to change it. You have to quickly change it and give it to him. So, that’s a challenge. I don’t know whether it’s easy, difficult or good, bad but it’s a learning experience and an amazing one. You have to just sit back and benefit from it later.
Are you telling me that his behaviour actually contributes to your craft in a better way?
Absolutely, because you learn to cope up with situations which are not planned. In life as well, nothing is planned, right? I didn’t plan that I would be choreographing Ghoomar today. Everything everywhere is adding up to your experience. You need to learn to quickly adapt to the change, accept it and give your best. That’s the best part about Bhansali sir.
You have been speaking so highly of Remo D’Souza throughout this interview. Tell us more.
He is a gem of a person. He is like this saint. There’s an aura around him which is so adorable and pleasant. He is a giver. There’s no hold bar. There’s nothing inhibiting him, he is a free soul. He loves what he does and he does it with full heart and soul. He is upping talent everywhere. That’s very difficult to do actually.
Watch Ghoomar song here: