As a young boy, Ganesh was inspired by his father Gopi who was a brilliant dancer and choreographer. After his father's demise, Ganesh further learnt dance from his sister and subsequently, became an assistant to ace choreographer Kamal Master and worked with him for few years. At the age of 19, Ganesh became an independent choreographer for his first film Anaam (1992). In his three-decade long career not only has he established himself as one of the top choreographers in Bollywood, but he has also dabbled into acting and film direction. Today, he is also the secretary of the Cine Choreographers Association. In a candid chat, the ace choreographer talks about his journey so far. Excerpts:
How were you initiated to dance?
As a young boy, I used to watch my father dance... he was a brilliant dancer. I started imitating him and that’s how it all started. However, after my father’s demise, I was greatly disturbed as the responsibility of taking care of the family increased but my sister further taught me to dance and take dance seriously. Then I met Kamal Master and he encouraged me after which I started working as his assistant.
Tell us about your debut as an independent choreographer...
My first film as an independent choreographer was when I was hardly 19 in the year 1992. The film was Anaam — I was quite excited. I remember Armaan Kohli supported me a lot.
I believe Govinda is your favourite actor…
More than being my favourite, he is my big brother with a heart of gold and one of the best persons I have ever known in the film industry. He has completely absorbed my style of dancing with elegance of movements and spontaneous expressions, creating a lasting impression on the spectators. Madhuri Dixit is another favourite dancer and is always a pleasure to work with. She is so grounded, and dances with effortless grace and spontaneity.
What is your view on dance reality shows?
When we have so many different folk and classical dance styles in India, why are we trying to ape the West? In these dance reality shows, how can you differentiate between dance, acrobatics, gymnastics, circus or the typical jumps of a monkey? It is extremely dangerous to watch dancers jumping from top heights to create an impression and win the competition.
Tell us about your role as the secretary of Cine Choreographer’s Association...
As the secretary of the Association, my responsibility is the complete functioning of the organisation, particularly if a choreographer does not get his payment, then the association intervenes and sees to it that he gets his payment. The pandemic has been the worst period for the industry and we have been trying to do our best by distributing food supplies to those in need.
What is your advice or suggestion to dancers or choreographers?
I feel I am still learning… that I am a student, and I would advise the same for everyone. The moment you feel that you have learnt everything, you will not progress in life. It is always the art form of dance, which is much greater than the dancer or the artiste.