Best foot forward

Published Jan 26, 2014, 6:28 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 8:04 am IST
Vaibhavi Merchant says she is up for marriage, but as of now, looking forward to Rani’s wedding.

It is no exaggeration to say that Vaibhavi Merchant has redefined dance in Bollywood. In a world dominated by latka-jhatkas, Merchant’s belly dance moves in 'Ek Tha Tiger' and 'Aiyya' and acrobats in the 'Dhoom' series were a refreshing change. The choreographer who has a string of hit songs to her credit, believes that she has stuck it out in the industry purely on the basis of merit. “I come from a well-off background and never had to struggle for work. I have been lucky that way, but I have survived in this industry purely on merit,” she says.

With the upcoming nuptials of her close friend and actress Rani Mukherjee, Vaibhavi admits that she is extremely excited and looking forward to the event. “I have great love and respect for the Chopra family. They have always been there for me, much like I am always there for them. Honestly, Adi is a very low-profile man. I have been reading speculative stories about the Adi-Rani wedding, but I don’t think it’s going to be a very elaborate event — a small ceremony for close friends and family at best. I won’t be choreographing for the sangeet ceremony or anything myself. I want to just sit back and chill, and not take any responsibility,” she says.


Apart from Vaibhavi’s personal affection for the Chopra family, the two have collaborated for 'Dhoom', 'Veer Zaara' and most of the other films that YRF has produced.

Single and successful, Vaibhavi admits that she is now ready for marriage. “I hope it happens soon,” she adds. Not so long ago, there were talks about her and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali parting ways after their relationship went awry. “Sanjay and I still respect still respect each other as people and professionals. I am not the type who will crib if things don’t work out,” she says.


But in an industry as close-knit as Bollywood, how do they stay off each other’s paths? “For me, it’s not easy to disconnect or move on.  I’ve valued every relationship and friendship in my life. So it takes a while for someone like me to snap ties,” she says adding that the incident hasn’t made her the least bit bitter. “Life has given me so much success, love and popularity. I have no reason to complain. My parents made me the person I am — with the ability to walk with my head held high.”


Vaibhavi informs that she has learnt to keep her personal life away from her personal space. “When I get back from shoots, I never talk shop. Once I’m home, I’m a different person. That’s probably why I have decided to marry a man who isn’t connected to the film industry or the glamour world in any way. I believe living a life beyond work, is like escaping into another world,” she says.

On the professional front, the choreographer is upset with the jury members of the ongoing awards season. Reason? Vaibhavi feels that the jury has not taken note of the research, effort and hard work that she puts into choreographing songs — like 'Dhoom 3' for example.


“Normally, it takes less than a month to shoot an item number or a song. But I started working on 'Dhoom 3' while we were still shooting for 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. It took me four whole months to shoot the "Malang" track. Right from conceptualising the song, scripting and working on the fine details, I gave it my best. We had to fly down dancers from London and Paris for the tap dancing part in the 'Dhoom' track. It was quite a task! Has anyone seen choreography like that in India let alone Bollywood? How many times have you seen actors put in so much effort for one single song? Awards don’t really mean much. But it does help boost one’s confidence and makes you believe that your work is being appreciated. The ignorance that the so-called designated people have towards choreography is disheartening. I wish I could change the mindset of the people who believe that songs are nothing more than just a glamour element in film,” Vaibhavi says.