Shahrukh Birthday Month Songs Post: Best Dances!

We were talking in the Jab Tak Hai Jaan review about how “Ishq Shava” was such a different style of dance for Shahrukh and that got me thinking about the other songs that really showcase his dancing. If I miss one, feel free to add it in the comments.  Oh, and this is NOT “Best Songs”.  There’s all kind of amazing song sequences with perfect performances from him that are not included here, because they didn’t highlight dancing.

I’m just gonna start at the top with “Chaiyya Chaiyya”.  The whole song is fantastic, with the train going around the mountain and all of that.  But if you isolate it down to just Shahrukh’s moves, it’s a varied combination of movements and he keeps going for most of the song.

 

And then there’s the song that inspired this, “Ishq Shava”.  Or rather, the opening wordless sequence when he dances with Katrina.

 

Maybe it’s something about “Ishq”, because “Ishq Kameena” was similarly difficult and elaborate.

 

As he’s gotten older, his dancing in general has become less athletic.  His knees-back-shoulder-collarbone issues tend to restrain him.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean the dances have become less difficult.  “Chammak Challo”, for instance, has a wide variety of complex movements (check out the complicated scarf flip/drag at about 1:20).

 

It’s amazing how little he actually dances when you look back at his career.  In his first several movies the song sequences involved him doing motorcycle stunts, sexily looking at the heroine, or just walking a few steps, standing, walking, standing, more than actually dancing.  It wasn’t until “Kaali Kaali Aankhen” that he really let loose.  His moves are less defined and precise than they will be in “Chammak Challo” years later, but he makes up for it with the energy.

 

During this era he was far less likely to be leading the chorus, and far more likely to be showing up for a simple gesture here and there as the heroine and the back-up dancers took the lead.  He brought his acting performance to the song more than his dancing ability, his expressions perfectly matching the words.  For an example of that, look at “Sachi Yeh Kahaani”, one of his first songs with Farah (the choreographer who knows best how to work within his limitations and strengths):

 

With Farah guiding him, Shahrukh had years of similar dances, a few simple movements heavy on the knees and shoulders, the chorus backing him up, and quick edits to hide any mistakes.  “Ghunghte Main Chanda Hai” from Koyla is a good example of this.

 

It’s not that he couldn’t do more, and it is no coincidence that the era of “kick forward, kick back, PUNCH” dance moves overlapped with his era of the most film output.  These dances were quick to learn and quick to film and enjoyable to watch.  But when he slowed down and started making fewer films, the dancing began to get complex.  “Chaiyya Chaiyya” I already covered, and then a few years later he made “Soni Soni” from Mohabbetein.  He was the lead dancer in a remarkably fast-paced and complex dance.  The moves were still the same familiar Bhangra-like knee and elbow movements, but sped up and bigger, not just a kick but a leap, followed by a kick, a punch, a kick, all in just a few seconds.

 

By now Shahrukh’s years of dancing had begun to pay off.  Even in something like “Yeh Ladki Hai Allah” from K3G, his moves were smoother and faster.  And when he was handed a real challenge, he perfected it easily.  Like “Preity Woman” in Kal Ho Na Ho.  Hardly a repeated move, at a fast pace, while lipsynching, and using both hand and leg moves at once.  Not to mention leading the chorus.

 

The Farah-Shahrukh collaboration reached it’s peak with Main Hoon Na, he gave her all the time she needed and she gave him the biggest dance challenges yet.  “Gori Gori” in particular is both complex and athletic, while still having that distinctive Farah-Shahrukh feel in the strong rather than delicate movements.

 

Main Hoon Na was the culmination, but also the partial death of Farah-Shahrukh.  After a decade of working together almost exclusively (Saroj Khan and Shiamak Devar were mixed in, but it was mostly Farah), Farah was now too busy to always be at his beck and call.  So Shahrukh was forced out of his comfort zone, had to work with new people like Bosco-Ceaser who gave him simple and yet distinctly different movements in “Yeh Tara Woh Tara”.  More fluid, less bouncy.

 

As Shahrukh increasingly focused on his acting, his dancing began to fall by the wayside.  Films like Don, Chak De India, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, he remained in character during the songs.  Which meant little movement, the classic song sequences from those films are about him striding through the screen, making a small impactful gesture or expression, and moving on.  Even Om Shanti Om had his character taking control, the classic songs “Dard-E-Disco” and “Dhoom Tana” were about him reacting to the heroine, or posing so that others could react to him, not the actual dance moves.  It wasn’t until Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi that he had another real dancing challenge.  “Haule Haule” is the most difficult because it is the most simple.  A few movements, but he has to do them perfectly with no back-up dancers to support him, and while walking down a busy street or standing on top of a car.

 

 

“Haule Haule” was followed by “Chammak Challo” and “Ishq Shava”, Shahrukh’s late in career stretching of the hardwon skills of 20 years of dancingAnd then Happy New Year was supposed to be a movie about a dance team, but in fact it was Farah and Shahrukh’s little joke on how easy it is to fake dancing if you do it right.  The secret of the film is that the actual dance moves are not very good, it is the splash around them that makes them stand out.  It wasn’t until Jab Harry Met Sejal that Shahrukh once again attempted a truly difficult dance performance.  All the songs are fun and intelligent and complex, but it is only in “Radha” that the complexity comes from the actual dance movements, rather than the character performance he is trying to convey.  It involves multiple complicated movements, none of which are similar to what Shahrukh has done before (small hand gestures rather than big elbow pumps).  And it has to be done while going up and down a steep stone staircase.  And staying in character.  And perfectly matching with his dance partner.  And at a rapid pace.  An extraordinarily difficult challenge, which he could not have accomplished earlier in his dance career, although he probably could have done it with much less pain back then.

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23 thoughts on “Shahrukh Birthday Month Songs Post: Best Dances!

  1. I remember Farah talking about filming “Koi Mil Gaya” from KKHH, how SRK was the only performer who could handle it. In particular there’s one part where the camera spins around each of four corners, and SRK pops up right on time in each angle to do his part perfectly. She said anyone else they would have needed to do tricky edits to make it work but he just did it in one take.

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    • I have the feeling that you can give SRK any complicated bit of business or prop work and he will nail it precisely with exact timing, camera angle, and expression. Like that is where he excels, precision and timing, over trained dance technique.

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      • Which is another reason he works well with Farah, she likes experimenting with all the technical elements of filming a song, more than coming up with fancy footwork.

        On Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 11:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I loved his dancing in Udi Udi jaye – he seems to be really just letting go…especially at 1:43. At that moment, he seems like the Shahrukh of the DDLJ era…just having fun!

    Also, he and Mahira make a really really cute on screen couple.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I so wish we had gotten more Mahira/SRK in Raees! Or that she had been allowed to stick around and be in more movies so we could get more of them in something else.

      On Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 8:42 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • But Dil Se is so SAAAAAD! I don’t know if I want to spend the 2-3 hours with it that it would take to review it. And I am certainly not going to rewatch it!

      On Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 8:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Agree that Dil Se is tragic, but there is no stronger condemnation of violence and intolerance. Shah Rukh is brilliant in his despair to grasp Manisha motivations.
        As for the dances, beyond iconic Chaya Chaya there is Satrangi Re; the dance of the seven types of love, intriguing and fascinating even 20 years after.

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  3. My favorite SRK dance song is from K3G. Because it combines athleticism, more traditional dance, and his most charming flirtations.

    I’ve also always loved Maahi Ve because I love him and Saif dancing together. Even Saif is slightly elevated in dancing skill when dancing with him. I must just love SRK in traditional formal wear dancing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also have to comment that every time I see that still of Kareena in Chammak Challo from the embedded video, I realize how breathtaking she is! She really is one of the most unique looking actresses in the world. Though a friend did once point out to me that she looks like a young Cher!

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    • His tiny shoulders look so good in the traditional loose long shirts. Especially when he flips the scarf around.

      On Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 9:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  4. I want to save this post separately so I can go back to it in times of sadness! It makes me so happy. What will this be indexed under? I’m a sucker for Chaiyya Chaiyya every time. I agree about Mahira; he should star with her over and over. She is a great match for him and I love that song. I can’t watch that movie over and over because it is too sad.

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    • Ooo, I don’t know if this will be indexed. Maybe I should do an addition to my Shahrukh index page for all the other content? Anyway, I haven’t talked about Dil Se that much, so if you search “Shahrukh birthday dil se” it should pop right up any time you need it.

      Anyway, I am glad you enjoyed it!

      On Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 7:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Movies like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa,Main Hoon Naa are such fun films and then he ends up doing movies like Koyla,Jab tak hai jaan ,Shakti(seriously why was this movie even made) and jab harry met sally.You actually end up wondering what was he thinking.Thank You for not adding songs from Raees. Love Haule Haule and Yeh Tara Woh Tara.Chamak Challo definitely bearable.

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    • It looks like, from the tiny teasers we have seen, that Zero is trying to move more into the KHKN and Main Hoon Na zone, silly and over the top and happy instead of serious and dark drama. So there’s hope! Of course, it could also be unutterably stupid, but at least it looks like a brightly lit and happy stupid.

      On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 12:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Well have not seen the teasers yet but as long as they don’t make hurt the sentiments of people with dwarfism I’ll be fine with the movie. Shah rukh Khan movies can cross the limit when making fun of people like the one in Om Shanti Om. Speaking of which you forgot to add a song from that movie.I must say just like Kareena Kapoor he has the best songs.

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        • Didn’t forget Om Shanti Om, considered and rejected it. I love the songs, but as pure dancing, they are pretty terrible. “Dhoom Tana” is just him mugging around Dips. Dard-E-Disco only has like three moves in it. And everything else he is just walking and singing.

          On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 1:10 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh I meant only the songs(especially that song where he goes on a friendly date with Padukone) dance not included .Oh my god and Dard-E-Disco never liked it too much focus on his abs plus the song sucked.

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          • Yeah, it was a challenge in this post, trying not to think about the songs as a whole, only the dancing.

            On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 10:25 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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