Bollywood dancing has become very refined and graceful – Caesar
If the dreams are different, the path cannot be the same. This could be the reason why the famous choreographer duo Bosco-Caesar decided to part ways last year. Though they now walk on different roads but their bond remains unbreakable. We caught up with National award – winning choreographer Caesar Gonsalves who opens up about his 26 – year – old friendship cum partnership with Bosco Martis, the life of a Bollywood choreographer and his upcoming projects including Cabaret, Half Girlfriend, Dangal, Rock On 2, Great Grand Masti, Reloaded and Manmarziyan.
Would Cabaret be the first film where you are not collaborating with Bosco (Martis, choreographer). What kind of an experience was it?
The brand name that is Bosco-Caesar remains the same. Earlier also we didn’t work together on every film. Out of around 500 songs that we have done, we may have worked together only on 100 songs. Though at times we may have worked separately and together as well, but the brand name has been the same. If he was doing the creative, I would do the choreography and vice-versa. Before Cabaret, it was Rock On 2 and Dangal.
The experience (working on Cabaret) was the same. There was not much of a difference, but of course I had to work more in terms of Richa Chadha’s body language, which I had to make sure was right and her costumes. There is a contrast between seeing cabaret and doing it. The film is about a girl who comes from a very small town and loves dancing. She goes on to become the top-most item girl of Bollywood and that is how the story flows. Pooja (Bhatt, director) and the director (Kaustav Narayan Niyogi) were very helpful in explaining the script. I did this movie because Pooja is a dear friend.
Were there any specific requirements for the choreography from the director ?
Not exactly. But of course the brief was to make it look very real and something that would look nice on Richa and she would be able to carry off as well.
How many songs have you choreographed in Cabaret and what are the various dance forms used in them?
There are two numbers – ‘Paani Paani’ and ‘Aakhri Shaam’ – choreographed by me. ‘Paani Paani’ is a song where Richa’s character grows from a nothing to something. So we have used jazz, hip-hop and waacking.
What kind of practice has gone into choreographing both the songs?
We had around two or three days of rehearsals with the artists for each song.
Was there some kind of research that was done for the dance forms in these tracks?
Whenever I did any research, it wasn’t to do with burlesque or cabaret as actual burlesque and cabaret is completely different from what the Indian audience understand. The movie was not about actual cabaret dancing. It was named Cabaret because of something in the movie and not the dance form.
Having worked on numerous films, do you still have an unfulfilled dream of choreographing any particular kind of song?
Yes! I would love to do songs like Nimbooda Nimbooda, Dhola Re or Hoton pe essi baat. These are the songs that I really admire – they are not typical Bollywood and involve Indian folk or classical.
From your initial days to date, what kind of transition have you witnessed in Bollywood dancing?
The dancing has become tougher and the styling has become more fabulous. It is more sensitive, sensuous and hotter than being vulgar. So the taste has become very refined and graceful.
Post Cabaret, which are the other films that you’re working on?
I’m working on Half Girlfriend starring Shraddha Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. I’m also working on Reloaded that features Siddharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez. Great Grand Masti is another film of mine while I’m also working with Aanand L Rai who is directing a film featuring Shah Rukh Khan. I’ll also be choreographing for Manmarziya and a few other upcoming films by Aanand L Rai.
What are the dance forms that one will be able to see in your forthcoming projects?
Rock On 2 has a rock concept where the choreography of the camera will be the highlight. Dangal is more of Indian folk like Gidda, which I have earlier done in films like Yamla Pagla Deewana. I was happy to do that but I want to do more of Indian songs. The songs in Reloaded have a lot of variation while Half Girlfriend will have hip-hop, lyrical etc.
Is there a specific process you follow while choreographing a number?
When I get a song I first listen to what the director wants me to do. I then do referencing from YouTube, Google and even magazines and look for pictures of the kind of costumes, background or theme that should be used. Post that I make a video cut to show to the director. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to express, what one has to say, through words. So a video helps. Once the video cut is approved we move on to shooting the song.
Having been in Bollywood for such a long time, what would you say is the scope for choreographers here?
India is a big market as it has Bollywood, Tollywood and many other woods (smiles). And there are a lot of music videos, concerts, reality shows, stage shows etc. But being a Bollywood choreographer is not easy. Just being a good dancer is not enough in our industry. You need to have the vision of a director because here you have to direct your own song. On the other hand international choreographers don’t have any sense of camera or shot taking. For instance, when I worked on The Fall with international ad filmmaker Tarsem Singh who is considered the God in advertising, he was amazed at my knowledge of camera angles, lensing, lights etc. He told me that choreographers in Hollywood don’t understand these things. In Bollywood you have to learn everything. It is tough but if you have talent and luck you can go pretty far. It is not that you’ll become a choreographer by just going on set and dancing. You have to work hard for it.
What is it about Bosco that you really miss while working on any project? How different is it choreographing as an individual after coming from a duo?
Recently I was in Guwahati to open the Bosco Caesar Dance Company. So we haven’t really split. But it is going to be different.
He is like my younger brother and I miss him. We worked together on Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’s ‘Senorita’ and that got us a National award for best choreography for it. That shows how different it is when the two of us worked together.
From Remo D’Souza to Farah Khan, Prabhudheva and now even Bosco; a lot of choreographers have turned directors over the years. Is direction also on your mind?
Of course, it is. But I don’t want to hurry in to it. I’m going to direct a stage musical first. I will then direct a film by the end of this year or next year once I find the script. My movie is not going to be about dancing but about killing. It will be a psychological thriller. It will have songs but the story won’t be based on dance.