“Dance is a meditation. It’s everything to me. It makes me happy…,”says Rajeev Surti, the 36 year old Bollywood Choreographer who has made stars like Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and those in their realms groove to his choreography and has hits like Aaj ki Raat, Moriya re and Love me to his claim. After tedious two days of work, the Hip-hopper relaxes on a comfortable black couch in his cool and cosy Oshiwara office, stretches his legs and gives us an insight into his world.
Ask him about his journey from being a Zoology Graduate to climbing the ladder of success as a master of dance and he takes you down the memory lane sharing his childhood, prodigious teenage years of following and fulfilling his passion, excelling with every move, endless victories, an adulthood of ups and downs and finally the Big break in Farhan Akhtar’s Don. Life at the other side of Don has been booming with multiple offers from the film industry, keeping the man immersed and engrossed in his art. His day begins at 5.30 engaging in some workout followed by a proper diet. Past 9 am he attends meetings or goes to his office or leaves for his rehearsals as according to his schedule. If he is ever back early from his work, say at 6 or 7 pm he catches up for a movie with his family. Time on the sets or at rehearsals is spent working hard, perfecting every line and step, taking breaks, laughing, sharing and resuming back the job. When you question him about when he usually gets back from work he gently replies, it’s unpredictable. “I remember once I was rehearsing from 7 in the morning and it went on till 7.30 the next morning,” explains Rajeev emphasizing the labour and dedication with an expression of utmost sincerity.
Trying to explore further into the artist’s world, it soothes his heart and those dimples go deeper as he expresses his fondness to perform on stage. “I love that feeling when the lights are all over me and I see thousands of tiny faces all looking at me. I love to perform on stage. I feel very good.” What makes him most happy about stage performance is the fact that it is three to five minutes of thrill and then it’s over. For him his joy lies in that tiny span, in those few moments. He also includes that it doesn’t works you up as much as reality shows and Film choreography do. As a performer he enjoys the stage, as a choreographer the film. When asked what a performer must do when he or she does a mistake on stage. He replies calmly saying “Mistakes happen on stage. The performer must bounce back and dance graciously. And that is real art.”
Desiring to close on a personal note, making those finishing touches as a painter with brushstrokes one is keen to hear the final words which reveal the aspirations of the self-made choreographer. Rajeev playfully replies, “I never plan anything. It just happens. I want to make a good film. Till I can dance I will.” The dimples go still deeper with a tinge of pink on the cheek augmenting his beauty.