He has made Bollywood's who's who, including Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, groove to his moves. But star choreographer Shiamak Davar, who brought contemporary style to Hindi films, says the one artiste he has always wanted to work with is yesteryear's dancing diva Helen.
"One celebrity I've always wanted to work with was Helen, but haven't got a chance to work with her, " Davar, who is here for the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA), told IANS.
Helen, known for her twinkle toes, earned a fan following of her own with her smooth dance moves on Hindi songs like "Yamma yamma", "Piya tu ab toh aaja" and "Yeh mera dil", among other dance numbers.
For Davar, she is one of the "finest dancers".
"Helen, for me, is one of the finest dancers. In those days, doing the 'jhatkas matkas' and that too in such a classy way, without any vulgarity, is what I called pure dance, " he added, heaping praise on the 77 - year - old.
"A pelvic movement can either be done in a classy or vulgar way. The way Helen - ji did it. . . My goodness, it was phenomenal, " added the 54 - year - old, who juggles with multiple styles of dancing, and has also sung in the past.
At TOIFA, which is celebrating the best of Hindi cinema, Davar is choreographing a string of iconic stars.
Davar, in his over a decade - long career has choreographed dance sequences in films in like "Dil To Pagal Hai", "Taal", "Bunty Aur Babli" and "Dhoom 2". And he feels the dance as a profession has earned respect over the years.
"Dance was never really respected and that was a very hurtful thing for all of us. Today, dance is respected and for me that is so important and so powerful, " he said.
"When 'Dil Toh Pagal Hai' came, they (people) asked me if this type of contemporary Bollywood dance (would) work? Yash (Chopra) uncle forced me so muchÂ… I remember Shah Rukh Khan telling me, 'You better do this film. You do theatre and only 10 people see you in theatre and with this, the world will see you. '"
Davar also praised the work of other choreographers, who have made it big in the industry.
"Farah (Khan) is a phenomenal choreographer and director. I loved her because she always did new things. . . Also Ganesh Acharya, Saroj Khan. . . They are so original, " he added.
Davar is currently choreographing for actors Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif for their upcoming film "Jagga Jasoos".
(The writer's visit is at the invitation of TOIFA organisers. Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at durga. c@ians. in)