MJ is an Eternal Star: Remo D’souza, Vaibhavi Merchant
It’s that time of the year when fans worldwide would remember the King of Pop who left planet earth much too early, in an unfortunate turn of fate. One of the most influential figures of global pop culture, Michael Jackson’s influence can be seen in music and dance worldwide.
Two of Hindi cinema’s top choreographers tell us why MJ remains an enduring icon of pop culture.
Remo D’souza- The Ultimate MJ Fanboy
“I think he was unique. The way he used to dance, the way he used to stage his performances, everything was very, very attractive. He didn’t have a usual voice; it was different, so different that when he sang, you knew that it was the one and only Michael Jackson singing. When he did the moonwalk for the first time, people couldn’t believe what they witnessed. It seemed like special effects, the ease with which he moved on the floor.”
“His music had the stamp of originality. Be it Thriller or any other song you hear, you know you can’t replicate or reproduce such kind of music even in today’s advanced stage of music making. Because what he had in him was special, very special.”
I was in class VII or VIII when I came to experience the magic of MJ. There was no television in our house then. And in the era of VHS, going to a video hall was a huge craze. Once when we went to watch a film, they told us that the movie hadn’t arrived yet, and decided to play a music video to fill in the gap. And then I saw something I had never seen before. As soon as it got over, I asked him about what I just witnessed. He told me about this new craze of a music video called Thriller.
– Remo D’souza, Bollywood Choreographer
“Because of that ‘random’ video, I kept thinking that I have to move like him. I asked him to give the video to me for which he demanded Rs 25. That was huge sum for a student like me. Since the owner of the video hall was a friend of mine, I made a little deal with him. Whenever he used to open the shop, I took the job of cleaning in lieu of watching this video.”
I tried copying him, and thus began my fascination with dance. And when I started earning money, the first VHS I bought was Thriller. And Michael Jackson changed my life forever. He personifies the energy and grace of dance for me. I have a made a tattoo on my arm as a tribute to the man who made me what I am today.
– Remo D’souza, Bollywood Choreographer
“Many artistes come by generations, but geniuses are rare. And Michael Jackson was a mega one at that.”
“He didn’t have a great childhood, and it’s unfortunate that he had gone through so much, both physical and emotional. Great artistes are extremely sensitive, and what they see and feel is different from a normal person. Because for an average person, it would be too much to bear. Unlike the rest of us who can douse their sorrows in drinks, they stand on a different ground.”
That’s why they say the greatest of artistes are churned out by pain. It won’t be wrong to say the greater the amount of pain, the bigger the success becomes. Because only when you suffer so much, with so much of repression, you can burst out with such energy. Creative calibre like this can’t be faked. Because MJ wasn’t a formula. Either you are a genius or you are not. With the churn of trying to be the outlaw, he was far ahead of his time, while also keeping in with his own time. The rare balance of great art, he could do it because he was truly a destiny’s child. – Vaibhavi Merchant, Bollywood Choreographer
I never liked emulating anyone, but I have always been wowed by him as an audience. Though his dance gets spoken about the most, he was much more than that.
His songs, the way they were interpreted through dance, devising sets and costume to bring out a music video like a storyteller, he was nothing short of a visionary. He revolutionised the audio visual medium by taking it to the next step, the glorious step. He was out of the ordinary.
– Vaibhavi Merchant, Bollywood Choreographer
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