The spirit of dance, of creativity, of altruism imbues every move of the gifted Shiamak Davar. No wonder he has created so much more than the famous ‘Shiamak Style’, says PRATISHTHA MALHOTRA.
You have always maintained that you are inspired by what is created around you.
I think all of us have a reason for our existence. We choose this life with a mission and I think performing arts is that for me. From childhood, all my memories are of me singing, acting, dancing and performing. This is the only thing I’ve known. I was a legend in my living room singing for family and friends! So like you said, if you do what you’re created for, it will come naturally to you. I’ve never tried to be someone else or do something that isn’t me. I think that is what people like – originality. My mission is to spread the joy of dance, so whether it is through my dance school or through shows, I love what I do and I think that translates into how everyone else perceives it!
Singer, dancer, choreographer, music composer and many more… What is the secret behind your untiring self?
I just love what I do so I don’t look at it as work. I think when you’re passionate about something it inspires you to keep going ahead. It’s a continuous process of learning, teaching and learning more. Whether it is singing, performing or choreographing; any form of the performing arts is therapeutic. So as against tiring me, it in facts strengthens, rejuvenates and heals me!
Your Victory Arts Foundation initiative has proven dance to be therapy as well.
From the time I started my classes nearly 30 years back, I’ve had people who had physical and mental challenges come and dance. It was unbelievable to see how dance helped them, healed them. So at the Summer Funk shows they would dance on stage and, even though they couldn’t move much, their spirit would fly. This is when I decided to take my motto of ‘Have Feet, Will Dance’ one step further to ‘Have Spirit, Will Triumph’ with my not-for-profit organisation Victory Arts Foundation. I set it up with an aim to reach out to more people who could use dance as therapy. Today, it reaches out to thousands of people with special needs, HIV/ AIDS affected/ infected and the lesser privileged.
When everyone was dancing larger than life before ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’ in Bollywood, you came and changed the face of it…
I was very apprehensive before choreographing ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’. I thought my style was too western and not Bollywood. Gauri Khan was my student and Shah Rukh was the lead actor in ‘Dil Toh…’ Yash (Chopra) Uncle had complete faith in me and knew that he wanted my style of work in his film. He gave me complete creative freedom. Shah Rukh and Gauri also insisted that I must do the film. Choreographing Madhuri was another highlight so I agreed. I just did what the music told me. I didn’t know that it would change the face of dance in Bollywood and I would go on to win a National Award for it!
The Shiamak Davar impact is so strongly felt in everything that you do. How do you explain that?
I have never tried to be someone else, or copy anyone. I think it is this originality that people recognise in my work. Whenever people see shows or films, they always say it is so ‘Shiamak’ to the extent that, for lack of a better word to describe it, it’s now coined as The Shiamak Style!
You share a very close bond with Shah Rukh, Aishwarya, Hrithik and Shahid of course. What is that one quality about each of them that makes them sparkle?
Passion! All four names taken by you are extremely passionate people who respect the talent they have been blessed with. They are professional, hard-working and very dedicated. A person doesn’t become a legend just by their talent, it is what they do with their talent and how they grow it that makes people admire them.
You and IIFA have become synonymous with each another. How do you keep it grander yet fresh year after year?
This has been one of the oldest and
finest associations for more than a decade now. IIFA is a great platform not only to showcase Bollywood to the world but also celebrate Indian culture internationally. The film fraternity comes together every year at a beautiful international location.
Every year with IIFA, I find a new home away from home. Each star I work with,
I paint it with an imagery that best brings out their personality and their body of work. Also, my style is a mix
of the east and the west, so each time
I take up a challenge of presenting India and Bollywood that the audience of that country will be able to relate to.