The Best Dancers in the Movies
For art's sake or fun, dance is easily one of the most vibrant languages of expression. Needless to say, it has greatly influenced Hindi cinema and its undying obsession with musicals and celebratory sequences. And so, even today, the aptitude to romp poses as one of the foremost requirement among an actor's credentials.
Considering the medium's impact on our movies, it's not surprising to notice some of our top stars with extraordinary dancing prowess have essayed a professional performer on celluloid as well.
While in the past the likes of Waheeda Rehman, Madhubala and Vyjyanthimala foot it to perfection in Guide, Mughal-E-Azam and Amrapali respectively, others like Asha Parekh, Hema Malini, Sudha Chandran and Sridevi set the stage on fire with some hot-stepping action in Caravan, Abhinetri, Naache Mayuri and Chaalbaaz.
The men aren't far behind either. If Mithun Chakravarthy demonstrated some inspiring footwork in Disco Dancer and Dance Dance, Govinda channeled the Michael Jackson within with his free-styled moves in Street Dancer.
On that note, here's a look at Bollywood actors playing reel-time dancers in recent times.
Shahid Kapoor, Chance Pe Dance
After working with director Ken Ghosh on Ishq Vishk and Fida, Shahid collaborates again to work on Chance Pe Dance, a young musical featuring him as an aspiring actor struggling to make it big in Bollywood.
Meanwhile in order to make some living, he starts giving dance lessons to a bunch of difficult kids.
Now that mustn't have been too difficult for the Kaminey star. It might be recalled how he used to do something along the same lines in Shiamak Davar Institute for the Performing Arts.
Image: A scene from Chance Pe Dance
Hrithik Roshan, Kites
He's not called the best dancer of Bollywood for nothing. A complete natural when it comes to boogie-woogie, Hrithik Roshan is a master of nimble.
In his keenly anticipated Kites, the actor plays a salsa tutor to a super hot Barbara Mori. A sexy dance and a sexier student-teacher combo, brace yourself for some explosive on-screen action.
Image: A scene from Kites
Madhuri Dixit, Aaja Nachle
Her comeback vehicle may not have set the big bucks rolling in. That, however, doesn't conceal the fact there's no one quite yet like Madhuri Dixit.
As perhaps one of the reigning dance queens, the actress and her lithe figure move gracefully to enact a focused choreographer in Yashraj Films' Aaja Nachle.
The theatrical theme and execution didn't work well with the audience but Madhuri certainly had us tapping our feet in merriment of her return.
Image: A scene from Aaja Nachle
Karisma Kapoor, Dil To Pagal Hai
Speaking of Madhuri and dance, how can one forget her sensational jugalbandi with her much junior colleague Karisma Kapoor in another Yash Chopra offering, Dil To Pagal Hai.
Even though the musical was mostly a pastel-hued romance co-starring Shah Rukh Khan, the two lively ladies played passionate dancers engaging in a euphoric 'Dance of Envy.'
If Mads stuck to her classic style, Lolo brought in a blend of contemporary. The combination, without a doubt, was nothing short of mind-blowing.
Image: A scene from Dil To Pagal Hai
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Umrao Jaan
Twenty-something years after Rekha's elegant and artistic rendition of the tragedy-ridden courtesan in Muzzafar Ali's Umrao Jaan, a dazzling Aishwarya Rai Bachchan stepped in to portray her in J P Dutta's tame version of the same.
The movie was no good but Ash's intricate thumkas and dainty adas ensured she would not be judged too harshly for this reworked monstrosity.
A treat to watch in motion, the 36-year-old is rumoured to be playing a dance teacher in the upcoming Mani Ratnam-directed Raavan.
Image: A scene from Umrao Jaan
Vidya Balan, Bhool Bhulaiya
A whole lot of baloney ensues in Priyadarshan's Bhool Bhulaiyaa. And a major chunk of it involves Vidya Balan being possessed by the spirit of a vengeful Bengali court dancer, Manjulika leading to fancy flashbacks or horrific impromptu dance sessions.
That all of this happens to be a figment of her own overactive imagination is another story.
Any other actress would have made a joke out of the whole deal. But to Balan's credit, she actually makes the part scary and mysterious at once, especially when she's indulging in some heavy-duty classical dancing in the eerily picturised, Mere dholna.
Image: A scene from Bhool Bhulaiya
Antara Mali, Naach
One doesn't hear of Antara Mali so much anymore. The Ram Gopal Varma discovery, who tied the knot with GQ's editor Che Kurien last June, played a free-spirited, fiercely independent choreographer running her life and career on her terms in Naach.
The overtly stylised film, directed by Varma, sank without a trace. But Antara's daring albeit outlandish wardrobe and self-styled ballet in the rain didn't go unnoticed.
Image: A scene from Naach
Urmila Matondkar, Rangeela
Unlike Antara, Urmila Matondkar's association with then mentor Ram Gopal Varma earned her immense success, Rangeela being the foremost.
In her breakthrough role, the actress plays an extra in a choreographer's dancing troupe who gets noticed by a reigning superstar and is offered to play a starring role opposite him.
Besides her stunning makeover, Urmila stunned one and all with her terrific dancing and lissome movements, despite having no formal training in the same.
Image: A scene from Rangeela
Akshay Kumar, Dancer
Dancer is the kind of embarrassment every successful actor wants to shove under the carpet.
During the struggling phase of his career, Akshay Kumar signed on to play a singer-dancer in a lame version of Disco Dancer brand of filmmaking without an ounce of style, charm or melody.
Having said that, even in a tacky, forgettable fare, like this one, Akki's trademark energy and rock-star charisma (even if at its rawest best) is impossible to miss.
Image: Akshay Kumar