“MY CAREER as a dancer, choreographer and director of more than 15 years has gifted me many amazing moments, which I’ll never forget. It’s been an incredible rollercoaster and I’m looking forward to more interesting work. Here are 10 of the most memorable moments so far on my journey.”
The first win: I was on television for the first time with a group called Techno Zone. We were four 12-year-old boys and won Boogie Woogie dance competition. I will never forget that moment when the distinguished judges
announced our group’s name. That joy of being on stage itself was a great achievement for us boys, who were from a place called Dombivli.
Lakshya break: I decided to help my family financially after high school, so started auditioning for dance related jobs. A friend asked me to come for a movie song audition and luckily, I got through. I was 18 years old and ended up doing a dance song with Hrithik Roshan and choreographer Prabhu Deva for the movie Lakshya. That song got a National Award for best choreography. I danced next to Hrithik for a lot of shots and was the only non-member from Cine Dancers Association from a group of 40. I consider myself lucky to be a part of that masterpiece song created by my idols.
Ganesh Hegde greenlight: Growing up, I had always heard Ganesh Hegde’s name and wished to dance with him. I got selected after auditioning and worked with him on major stage shows like Filmfare, Screen and MTV awards. The best moment was when I was a part of his music video Main Deewana, where only two of us danced with him for a sequence. That to me was like a dream come true. Even today, every young dancer wants to dance to that cult track.
Merchant magic: In 2006, I successfully auditioned for stage musical Merchants Of Bollywood, which toured globally and was choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant. I travelled all over the world with that show, from North America to Australia, but one of my best moments was dancing in London’s Peacock Theatre in front of a full house. The energy from the audience was incredible and during our finale, they held India’s flag and posters for us. There were tears in all the dancer’s eyes as we were travelling for a very long time, away from home. That gave me the sense of how lucky I am to be on a stage.
Just Dance: I couldn’t participate in dance reality shows when I was touring. Luckily, new Star Plus show Just Dance started airing with Hrithik Roshan, Farah khan and Vaibhavi Merchant as judges. I had experience, but did all the auditions and kept moving forward. The best moment was my audition for the top 13 from 100 contestants. I did a contemporary/hip hop piece, as it was a challenge given by judges to mix two styles in an act. Hrithik was completely blown away by my performance and said, ‘thank you for raising the bar of this platform’. Next level happiness!
Jab Tak Hai Jaan experience: I started assisting Vaibhavi Merchant and have done more than 100 songs with her. A favourite memory with her is shooting songs for the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan with Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif in London. I’ll never forget all the rehearsals with Shah Rukh sir for one of the songs. He worked really hard as he had to do a dance face-off with Katrina. He said, ‘Rajit this is the first time I’m rehearsing for a song so much’. He really worked hard and was amazing. I remember all the time spent with SRK sir. He’s an inspiration and I just love him to the core.
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa challenge: I did three seasons as a dancer/choreographer on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. My partners were Pooja Banarjee, Kavita Kaushik and Karishma Tanna. All beautiful, talented and hardworking ladies! This show is a challenge, as you have to come with something special every week. I remember my first dance with Kavita Kaushik, who was very famous for her role of a cop in Chandramukhi Chautala. My challenge was to make her look good as a dancer and a diva because people had only seen her in a cop’s outfit for years. I ended up giving one of the finest acts on Indian television and everyone was blown away by the visual spectacle. People still use it as a reference and I’m very happy about it.
Iconic moment: Another moment from Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa was with famous actress Karishma Tanna. I always believed in visual creativity along with dance. We played Raveena Tandon and Akshay Kumar from Mohra for the recreation of their iconic song Tip Tip Barsa Paani. So I decided to create the same vibe as in the film with rain on stage. Karishma and I were slipping on stage and it was a nightmare, but we managed to pull the act off. That dance is still one of the sexiest acts on Indian TV and went viral.
Paris perfection: I have now assisted Vaibhavi Merchant maam for more than five years. We were working on the movie Befikre in Paris for three months. The first song to be shot was Nashe Se Chad Gayee. She asked me to start jamming with her on the song and it was like a battle between us. She said challenge me with your moves and I’ll do mine. And that’s how we shaped the song’s choreography. If you see the song, it’s like a face-off between two people dancing. My brother Ranveer Singh worked really hard for that song and the whole film.
Instagram magic: Dancing sensation Nora Fatehi is a friend and one fine day asked me about doing a dance video for Instagram. Our videos went viral and since then, she loves to work with me. We have a great bonding, genre and ideas wise, along with strong commitment. I think the best feel was directing and choreographing her latest song Pachtaoge. I had always wanted to up the game and start a different type of storytelling. The whole process of making the song and doing post-production is something that I will never forget.
Visit Instagram: @RajitDev