Malaika Arora, actress, dancer, model, VJ and television personality, will soon be seen as a judge in the first season of Sony Entertainment Television’s production, India’s Best Dancer. Known for her presence as a judge on another highly popular television show, India’s Got Talent, has made quite a niche for herself in the dancing universe.
We decided to get on a conversation with the about what dance means to the immensely talented 46-year-old. Below is the excerpt of our interaction with the Chaiya Chaiya girl.
Q Dance training has consistently moved on from the guru-shishya paramapara to coaching classes and now online classes, thanks to technology. What do you think about this shift?
Response (R): Back in my childhood, I had to go to a teacher to learn to dance. Today, things are different; children are learning dance on the Internet. There is a shift from the human element to dependency on technology, but that being said the level of dance has undeniably undergone a huge change, which is much ahead of our times.
For instance, the performances of all the participants in this dance show convinced us that every one of them is a winner. I also believe the level of dance for these participants is only going to get better and more challenging.
Q Please share experiences from your professional journey.
M: I started off modelling at the age of 17 years, and then one thing led to another, and today I have started judging talent hunt shows. While I am grateful that my journey has been quite fulfilling, during the course of my journey, I did face my share of challenges. That being said, I believe it is only because of these trials and tribulations that I could push myself to reach wherever I am today. So honestly, I feel fortunate for all the experiences that I have accumulated and am thankful to all the people who have helped me through it.
QWho is your inspiration when it comes to dance?
M: Whomever I have worked with have in some or the other way inspired me. So many dancing legends have carved a niche for themselves with their own dancing styles. I believe Vyjayanthimala and Rekhaji are some of the iconic dancers. In addition, Terence Lewis, Geeta Kapur and Farah Khan have inspired so many people, bringing so much new to the table with their talent and finesse. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to work with some reputed names in the industry. Their devotion and dedication to the craft will always remain an inspiration.
Q Who according to you is the best dancer in the industry and why is that so?
M: It is rather tough to pick just one name. We have many fantastic dancers in the industry. For instance, Hrithik Roshan and Madhuri Dixit have, time and again, proved their mettle as dancers. What they have contributed to the industry is commendable too. From the current generation of actors, I’d say Tiger Shroff is quite good at what he does. Having said that, my all-time favourite will always be Michael Jackson, for his legacy in dance is phenomenal. He was truly the greatest trendsetters.
Q If not dance, what would have been your fall back option for your career?
M: I guess it would have been modelling. I began my journey as a model, and I am glad to have walked the ramp for some supremely talented designers.
Q How much has dance helped you in real life?
M: Personally, dance has added another feather to my cap, and I am glad to have had some amazing songs in my career. They wouldn’t have been that huge a success had it not been for the impeccable dance and moves. In movies, Chaiya chaiya (Dil Se) with Shah Rukh Khan became my big break and since then there has been no looking back. I also believe that helped me get to a position where I am able to judge dance shows today.
All said and done, I believe dance is not only about letting your creativity have a form, but also about helping develop discipline and dedication in life. While one should dance for the pure joy of having a good time, to be able to master anything it’s important to cultivate consistency and commitment because only then will you succeed.
Q What is your take on parents who do not support their children who want to pursue dance?
M: I feel the mind-sets and sensibilities are changing across the country. However, there are people who still don’t consider dance as a feasible career option. To them, I’d like to say that no profession is small or big. It is about how serious and dedicated you are about the choices you make in life. When we started off, though the competition was not as stiff, we didn’t have so many avenues. So, many dancing legends that have made a name for themselves are great examples of what dance has done to their careers. On the other hand, today is a great time to make your career in dance, as there is a plethora of opportunities available to the current generation. I would urge parents to recognise their children’s potential and let them choose their dreams and support them. A little word of encouragement will go a long way. It’s important to have faith in them.