Deepika Padukone’s solo dance number “Mohe Rang Do Laal” in “Bajirao Mastani” may have been a hit but Pt Birju Maharaj, who choreographed the number, says the actress was initially worried about performing the song.
“I met Deepika in Delhi before the final shoot in Mumbai. That time I taught her some basic mudras of Kathak. Deepika told me that she was worried about the dance number as she was not Madhuri (Dixit)… I told her not to worry and she worked really hard to get the steps right,” Birju Maharaj, 77, told PTI.
The exquisite dance number, set in the backdrop of a fort, has Deepika performing on a thumri to express her love for Bajirao (played by Ranveer Singh).
“I am very happy with the way the piece shaped up. Had it been a fast footwork and movement piece then there would have been a problem. But Deepika still managed to bring out a small fast paced piece brilliantly. She was not scared and did it beautifully.”
Birju Maharaj watched the actress’ “Happy New Year” to learn about her dance skills. In the 2014 film, Deepika plays a dance enthusiast.
“I had gone to watch ‘Happy New Year’ only with one motive that I have to see how Deepika dances as I have to choreograph her next. I believe, Deepika does brilliant acting but she should do more classical dance so that she can improve her dancing skills,” he said.
Asked why he does not choreograph much for Bollywood, the dancer said, “I am not comfortable with every song. For me, dance is like connecting with the almighty. I cannot choreograph something, which is raunchy and demands loads of skin show. I know these are important for a film but I prefer to stay away from it.”
The Kathak exponent credited the movie’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, with whom he collaborated in “Devdas”, for shooting the songs aesthetically in his films.
“Sanjay bhai has a brilliant aesthetic sense. He knows what suits better. He is a trained Odissi dancer. We share a strong bond since ‘Devdas’. Our viewpoints match and that helps to bring out the best in both of us.