Dancer and choreographer Paul Marshal, who started off his career as a background dancer and later went on to choreograph legendary Prabhudeva, opened up on his journey in Bollywood and how being a part of several dance reality shows helped him make a place for himself in the industry.
Paul, who is currently a part of Dance Deewane 3, during an interaction with the Free Press Journal, shared how amid the pandemic, they are managing to entertain the audience. "It is quite difficult to shoot in such circumstances. We have to maintain social distancing and wear masks while shooting and even during rehearsals. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to give the count with mask while practicing and even keep distance from each other but we are following all the rules and trying our best to entertain the audience."
One of his recent acts was appreciated a lot by the judges - Dharmesh, Tushar Kalia and Madhuri Dixit Nene. Paul said it was one of the most memorable moments when Madhuri lauded him for the act. "Every time mam (Madhuri) is impressed with an act, she blows a whistle for the contestant. However, for the first time, she took my name and did it for me. I was elated and when the episode was telecast, my mother also became emotional on seeing ma'am appreciate my act," he said.
Paul, who is now choreographing the contestants on the show, has previously been a part of several other dance reality shows. He started as a background dancer and used to perform Marathi folk dance. Talking about his journey, Paul said, "The first show I participated in was Krazy Kiya Re. There I met Dharmesh (Yelande) and Rahul Shetty for the first time and we became good friends. Then I assisted Dharmesh in Dance India Dance (DID) Lil Masters and finally participated in the third season of DID. Back then, we didn't have many options and we never thought that we could make a career in dance. It was only after DID that people started recognizing me and my family also started taking me seriously. Earlier, they had second thoughts about me taking up dance as a career, however, they always supported me."
Paul avers that the turning point in his career was when he got the opportunity to choreograph Prabhudeva for one of the songs in the film ABCD 2. "I very well remember the time when Remo Sir called me and Rahul and made us hear Happy Hour from his film. We loved the song and the very next moment he said that it will be picturized on Prabhu Sir and we will have to choreograph it. Never in my life, I had thought that I will get a chance to work with Prabhu Sir," Paul said.
Talking about his inspiration, Paul said that he never had the money to join dance classes so he used to see Prabhudeva and actor Govinda dance on TV and try to copy their steps. "That is actually how I learned to dance. They are my idols. Dharmesh has also been my inspiration and I have always looked up to him. How to work hard and how to handle fame with grace and maintain a good relationship with people are the things I've learned from Dharmesh."
Paul further added that whatever he is today, is because of dance. "Today, if I could buy a house in Mumbai, it's only because of dance. My mumma gets a smile on her face everytime someone praises me. Dancing has helped me find find a new and better version of myself," Paul said.
However, the dancer maintains that he never had any plans to make a career in this field. "Dancing was not at all in my list. I wanted to open my art gallery as I love painting and sketching. I had an interest in music as well and I used to do drumming. But as soon as I got out of the boarding school, I came to know that the price of drums set was around 15k at that time and I didn't have that much mone. In those days, dance, music and painting were considered just as hobbies and not career options," he added.
Amid the second wave of coronavirus, Paul, along with his friends, has been providing ration to those in need. In less than a month, he has helped over 100 families. When asked about their initiative, Paul said, "Rahul came up with the idea of healing with humanity. Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and the lockdown, he had shared a simple social media post saying that whoever is in need can reach out to us. Slowly, we started getting messages from across the country. Initially, we were spending from our pockets and eventually many people came forward to donate. We also have volunteers in different cities and are trying to reach out to as many people as possible who are in need of help."
"Several celebrities including Ravi Dubey and Karan Vahi are also involved with us," Paul added.
When asked what advice he would give to budding dancers, Paul said, "If you are planning to make a career in dance, please figure out what exactly you wish you to. You need to understand if you want to start your dance academy or become a choreographer or work in films. Once you decide, it will be quite easy for you. Family support is also equally important. So, figure out, plan and proceed further.
Life has completely changed for Paul over the years, however, he believes that whatever he has achieved is through sheer hard work and determination.