While Bollywood prides itself on bringing traditional Indian dance forms to the big screen through the ages, the industry has also caught up with its time. This is the magic of Indian films. And while international dance forms are gaining popularity around the world, Bollywood has quickly adapted to this as well. Over the years, we have observed that Bollywood music composers create songs that give ample leeway to a variety of international dance forms to flourish.

Recently, “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety” evening number “Bom Diggy Diggy” featured Jamaican dance style, Dancehall, while “ABCD”, “ABCD2” and “Judwaa 2” used popular forms like contemporary and hip-hop. Of this trend, choreographer Terence Lewis says, “Bollywood music directors have really improved their game. They are creating new-age music, which is bold, creative and on par with international music. Of course, even the choreography has to match the tunes and therefore we experiment with different forms. For example, Dancehall mainly goes with Reggaeton and Caribbean music. The form is characterized by faster rhythms and beats.

Sound and audio production play an important role in giving a song its dance quality. There are even composers who design and maintain a bank of catchy melodies.

Composer Mannan Shah says, “Groove or rhythmic structure plays a key role in bringing a person to the dance floor and it’s the beat that gives a song a certain boost. We have programmers and arrangers who know how to capture the nerves of the audience, which causes them to stomp their feet as soon as they hear the song.

Composers and choreographers reinvent themselves

Choreographer Shiamak Davar, who popularized contemporary dance in Bollywood, says: “Dance is music made visible. Contemporary dance is a representation of emotions and therefore fits well into our cinema. He believes the industry is extremely competitive and this pushes musicians and choreographers to reinvent themselves and experiment with different forms of music and dance.

Exposure to international dance performances and world music has helped introduce new forms of dance

Composer Clinton Cerejo shares: “Urban audiences are exposed to international shows like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, and this has affected the choreography in Bollywood.” The landscape, when it comes to sound, has widened considerably over the past couple of years, all thanks to young composers and producers who have come onto the scene from various backgrounds and musical influences. Singer-songwriter and lyricist Yash Narvekar says, “The kind of exposure we have to world music is one of the main reasons why new forms of dance have entered our industry. Choreographer Suresh Mukund adds: “Bollywood mainly uses styles of fusion of dance forms. The current form of Hip-Hop dance was used in the song “Bezubaan Phir Se” (“ABCD2”).


Traditional Indian dance forms are just as cool


Some filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali have rendered an ode to classical dance forms. His films like “Devdas”, “Bajirao Mastani” and “Padmaavat” have presented traditional dance styles with beauty and grace. ‘Ghoomar’, a folk dance style was featured in ‘Padmaavat’. Other composers and choreographers also feel that while Bollywood is doing well right now with all kinds of international dance incorporated into films, more Indian dance forms should be used in films. Songwriter Shankar Mahadevan says: “All over the world there is immense respect for Bharatanatyam, Kathak and other Indian folk dances. We should also start respecting them. The day we start to believe that our dance forms are “cool”, we will start to incorporate more of them into our films. ”


Music and dance have always worked in tandem


In the 50s and 60s, the choreography had a classic touch. The songs often featured Kathak, Bharatnatyam, and other folk dance steps in the movies. Later, with the growing popularity of rock, trance, and Sufi music, the choreography also changed. The choreographers believe that at that time most of the musical directors were mainly from the classical background, while today many have also trained in Western musical forms, which has influenced their compositions. Fazal Qureshi, tabla player and instrumentalist, says: “Music and choreography are linked; they go hand in hand. Bollywood music has really changed from what it was in the 1950s and 1960s. Back then, if there were seven songs in a movie, five would be Indian and two would sound Western. Now, if there are seven songs, five are Western and maybe one or two will have Sufi or Indian influences.