Vishnu Deva is the new b-town choreographer to watch out for
His mentor Prabhu Deva has evidently tutored him well in the art of diplomacy. Vishnu Deva, who astonishingly sounds like the actor-turned-director, makes a candid chat with this latest sensation from the world of choreography an improbability. The R…Rajkumar’s dance moves featured on Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha are a scream, it’s Bollywood meets Koothu! Then there is Ram Leela, where Priyanka Chopra does some seductive steps for the item number Ram Chahe or Ishqiya Dishqiya, the raunchy number between Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. In both instances Vishnu Deva shows his mettle.
Just the fact that an otherwise, hard-to-please Sanjay Leela Bhansali roped him in for Ram Leela, is proof enough that Vishnu has truly arrived in Bollywood. I tell him that I almost thought he was Prabhu Deva’s brother and he laughs, “You are not the first one to ask me. In fact he is more than my brother. I have been associated with Prabhu Deva from his debut directorial Telugu film. Since then, he has always wanted me to assist him. In fact I was assisting choreographer Ganesh Acharya for a long time.” Vishnu has done choreography for roughly 40 films in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali and has been part of Prabhu Deva’s stage shows.
So how did he convince Bhansali? “He was impressed with my work in Rowdy Rathore and cameraman Ravi Varman put in a word for me. He told me to do something out of the box for Ishqiya Dishqiya and he loved it. For me, the fact that Ranveer and Deepika were game for any kind of moves helped a lot. They simply copied my expression and steps,” he tells me. But Priyanka Chopra’s item number is a clear favourite — “Priyanka is a quick learner. The song was a challenge and Bhansali clearly didn’t want a regular item number. She even worked with a bruised knee, such was her professionalism,” says the choreographer.
All about style
As for his equation with Prabhu Deva, he admits they are more or less on the same page all the time. He likes to think that there isn’t anything like Bollywood or South Indian dance style — “Everything is just dance. It’s the attitude that makes the difference. You give the same dance steps to Vijay and Shahid and you can be assured that they make it look different. Dance is all about style,” he tells me. He is tight-lipped when I prod him about the actor/actress and equally evasive about his favourite dancers — “All are fabulous dancers. Shahid is good. Hrithik is great, Salman is a good student,” he trails off.
— Neelima Menon