Since time immemorial, Bollywood has had icons known for their dance and styles. Be it Neetu Singh, Vyjayanthimala, Helen, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh, Hema Malini, Madhuri Dixit, Karisma Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty or Urmila Matondkar, we′ve idolised their dance. But it′s been quite a few years now, the industry has seen a new dancing sensation.
As if to fill in the void and rock the floor, here comes US-born-and-bred Gayatri Patel, all set to storm Bollywood with her debut movie ‘Let′s Dance’ releasing on June 19. The film has the girl playing a simple but determined dance teacher, who on her path to fame, changes course, to motivate a group of underprivileged kids.
This petite dancing tornado aims to make everyone groove to her moves. She can, as she is no novice to the world of dance. Gayatri is trained in Kathak and is also a pro at Yoga. A lethal combination this, it helps her attempt the most daring dance steps, breath-taking whirls and swirls and some awesome splits.
“I could have very well been a doctor like my father, rather than an actress, had I not started performing on stage at the age of eight,” she reveals.
At the tender age of seven, Gayatri went to a local Indian dance competition in Dothan, Alabama and decided that she was going win the trophy the coming year. She did win the next year and the year after that and the year after that, till they stopped the competition as she had none. Now that′s something!
While in the United States, the spunky girl graduated from high-school and went on to study at the acclaimed Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, she also won the ‘Miss India Georgia’ title and later emerged the first runner-up at ‘Miss India USA’.
“Around this time, I realized that I loved theatre, dance and acting, more than studying science,” she quips. Finally, her family decided she shift base to Mumbai to pursue acting. Reaching here, Gayatri spent time taking tips from theatre top-guns Satyadev Dubey and Makrand Deshpande, did an acting workshop with Veena Mehta and played the role of Ophelia in Neeraj Kabir′s play ‘Hamlet’. She also did three music videos for Venus opposite Inder Kumar and Jugal Hansraj, till one day, National Award winning editor Aarif Sheikh decided to launch her as the lead in his directorial debut ‘Let′s Dance’.
So here she is, urging one and all to don their dancing shoes. Now let′s see, if ‘Let′s Dance’ helps Bollywood find its new groove.
Having music by Vipin Mishra and another National Award winner Tarali Sharma, her movie′s songs have been choreographed by none other than Longinus Fernandes (of “Jai Ho”-‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and “Pappu Can′t Dance Saala”-‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ fame), Rajiv Goswami (of ‘Veer-Zaara’ and ‘Dhoom’ fame), Pappu-Malu (of ‘Saawariya’ fame) and the evergreen Saroj Khan.
Produced by Dr Arvind Patel, the film co-stars Ajay Chaudhary, Aqib Afzaal, Sugandha Garg, Asif Basra, Abhaas Yadav, Nikuunj Padaya, Paras Arora and Anjan Srivastav. “I′ve done jazz, hip-hop, filmy, Kathak and Natwari dancing in the film,” informs Gayatri.