The last few months have definitely been a tough phase for performers: says Shantanu about lockdown

Shantanu Maheshwari, the Boogie Woogie contestant who is today one of the poster boys of the country’s multiple dance reality shows, who has also performed on the international stage of America’s Got Talent along with his dance group, the Desi Hoppers, as part of a special act, is currently gearing up to mentor new talents in the field as the League Ambassador, BREEZER Vivid Shuffle Season 4.

On the acting front, this cute Kolkata boy, who made his small-screen fiction debut with Channel V’s dance-based TV series Dil Dostii Dance (2011) and became a household sweetheart with MTV’s Girls On Top (2016), is all set to graduate to the big screen with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi, where he will be seen opposite Alia Bhatt. Excerpts from a quick chat:

With Bollywood changing and OTT content still not providing much scope for dancers and choreographers, and the live concert scene not picking up any time soon, how do you see the future of the profession?

The last few months have definitely been a tough phase for dancers and performers whose main way of sustaining is through major live events and shows, but due to the huge growth in the digital and social media space, there have fortunately been alternatives like music videos and virtual concerts and shows, which have not only helped keep the charm of such things alive, but have also helped them earn a living, and ensured that the people working behind the scenes for these events like technicians, production teams etc also earn their livelihood. Luckily the entertainment industry has been slowly opening up now with shoots resuming, so I am sure things will surely get back to normal soon.

Kolkata, the city you grew up in, isn’t known much for its hip-hop…

The scene was not that great back then in Kolkata, but there were a few senior dancers who had just started exploring Hip Hop. I used to watch them and that’s how I gained interest in Hip Hop. Now, when I visit Kolkata I see the scene has changed a lot. There is a lot of emerging talent and the scene is overall growing quite rapidly. The fact is that today the scene is pretty good though it just lacks a bit of exposure.

What do you think of the current hip-hop scene in Mumbai?

It’s amazing that the hip-hop scene in the country has recently garnered so much mainstream attention. It’s opening up opportunities for upcoming hip-hop artists to showcase their talent and enthusiasts are getting a chance to learn their favourite skills and be a part of the community.

What’s happening with Desi Hoppers, did things change on ground post the international win?

Our crew Desi Hoppers is still very much in action and we are in fact even working on a couple of International projects at the moment. Our International wins gave us a lot of exposure and recognition all over the world, as well as a tremendous boost in regards with us putting India on the world map for dance.

Tell us your association with BVS

BREEZER Vivid Shuffle brings artists, talent and enthusiasts under one roof for their love of hip-hop, and help shape the journeys of upcoming artists. As league ambassador, I get to own and lead an entire dance team. In this all new digital avatar for the fourth season, it’ll showcase talent across the country, and leading a team of these upcoming artists is a great responsibility.

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