If you are new to Bollywood, you will find that these actors are as good as (or sometimes better than) Hollywood actors - they can romance their costars, perform stunts and action sequences, and deliver dramatic dialogues in multiple languages.
But what often separates Bollywood stars from their Hollywood counterparts is their ability to dance.
While some Bollywood superstars can shake a leg better than others, there are a few heroes that stand out as both actors and dancers par excellence. One of these is Hrithik Roshan, who most recently starred in the 2014 action film Bang Bang. In this film, Hrithik shows his on-screen prowess for romance, daredevilry, dialogue and dance.
While Hrithik showed us he was a lord of the dance in Bang Bang, the following five favorite dance numbers also highlight why he rules the dance floor. In these songs, he moves so effortlessly that he encourages the rest of us to join in the dance!
English Translation: "What does my heart say to yours?"
Film: Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (14 January 2000)
Director: Rakesh Roshan
Music by: Rajesh Roshan; Lyrics by: Ibrahim Ashq
Sung by: Babul Supriyo
Choreographer: Farah Khan
Why I Love This Song: Some sort of magic happens in a Bollywood film when the music, choreography and performance all come together to further the storyline. This grand-scale stage performance brings together two recurring musical themes at the climax of the film as Raj Chopra (Hrithik Roshan) takes the stage pretending to be Rohit (also Hrithik Roshan). Though this was his first film, Hrithik performs in front of the large audience like a seasoned professional. He works the crowd as he entertains and the theater audiences took note. According to a sify movies story, Farah Khan said of Hrithik Roshan:
"He dances beautifully. He is the new dance machine. I have never seen someone move so beautifully."
While there are many moments in this film where Hrithik Roshan dances his way into our hearts, this onstage performance beautifully foreshadows his future stardom.
Why I Love This Song: The film portrays a fictionalized account of Operation Vijay of the Kargil War. But the song comes chronologically before our hero, Karan Shergill (Hrithik Roshan) even thinks about joining the Indian Army. At this point in time, Karan doesn't have any objective in life and as his friends make decisions about their futures, he wonders why he can't find any direction. The song lyrics reflect his frustration:
Why am I like this? Why am I the way I am? When did I ever know what I am supposed to do? Looks like I'll be singing this song all my life! What will happen to me? Will someone please tell me? Why is it so difficult? Will someone help me understand? Now I feel like doing this, but then again it's that. But why? I just don't know what it is that I must do! What now looks clear and simple tomorrow will seem all twisted. I feel like my life is completely upside down! Will I ever change? Will I ever believe? Will I ever improve? Will I just remain the way I am?
Karan's body language in this song indicates he is bored, confused, and has quite a lot of growing up to do. At the same time, his dance moves challenge the status quo - his style is cool, quirky, and full of the youthful vibrance of someone who hasn't become one of the cogs in the machine of society. In a 2004 reddif.com article, Prabhu Deva talks about choreographing this song:
"...when I heard the song, I liked it very much! Just by listening to the music, I knew I could choreograph it well. As I have seen many of Hrithik's songs, I knew it would come out very well. Everybody knows he is a very good dancer. Once we started rehearsing, I found he was even better than I had imagined. He is a superb dancer and grasps whatever you tell him in no time. While choreographing a song, you have to keep the actor and his abilities in mind. You can only ask them to do what they are capable of. I knew Hrithik was a very good dancer, so I gave him difficult steps. He did it superbly. He had no difficulty grasping the movements. We finished the song in four or five days. If you were to ask me if there was any difference in choreographing that song and the other songs that I have done before, I would say, there was no difference at all. There was no difference in my commitment. The difference is in the dancer. Because he did it wonderfully, everybody is talking about it. ...People tell me that Hrithik's movements remind them of mine. That is because he danced exactly the way I asked him to!"
Recognition: National Film Award for Best Choreography; Filmfare Award for Best Choreography.
Why I Love This Song: One of the highly entertaining Bollywood title tracks, Hrithik is loose and wild in this dance celebration. His performance lets you know that the story you are about to watch is going to be a full-on entertaining blast. His street style dress and the synchopated beats of the song help showcase Hrithik's mastery on the dance floor. In a 2007 Filmbeat article, choreographer Shaimak Davar talked about Hrithik and choreographing "Dhoom Again":
"Hrithik is the best dancer we have in films today. He is simply fantastic in whatever he does. The guy is like a machine, a robot that can do anything. He picked up my steps so well that I was mystified by his flexible and agile body movements. He becomes the dance and not the dancer. ...My choreography was at its best in 'Dhoom again...' because of Hrithik. ...As the song was being played, I felt each instrument was telling me something. The piano had something to say. The strings were talking to me, the violins, the drums; each instrument was conversing with me. I tried to interpret what they were saying and I had worked out the movements in my mind. If you notice, my dance steps are very simple but with a lot of grace in the movements. Hrithik dancing to my steps made grace in the movements. Hrithik dancing to my steps made all the difference to a beautiful song."
Recognition: Most Stylish Song in A Film (Shiamak Davar, Choreographer)
English Translation: "I'm Going Crazy"
Film: Luck by Chance (30 January 2009)
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics by: Javed Akhtar
Sung by: Shankar Mahadevan, Rajasthani ensemble
Choreographer: Vaibhavi Merchant
Why I Love This Song: This is song is one of those over-the-top outrageous numbers that leaves you asking, "Why?!?" The title of the song, in part, addresses that question. Hrithik Roshan's high energy and agile dance moves manage to keep the production on track in the framework of the circus-like atmosphere. This song also gives Hrithik the opportunity to briefly romance a heroine. Throughout his performance, Hrithik seems to thoroughly enjoy the dance and the lunacy going on around him - which speaks to his professionalism. In a 2009 rediff interview, Vaibhavi Merchant explained:
"The brief given to me was to create a circus atmosphere. It is a folk song with a fast tempo. Dancing to this was a little difficult. ...A lot of things happened during the shoot. We had terrible rainfall. Four days out of six were ruined because of the downpour. Then Hrithik injured his knee. All this delayed the shoot. Since he had to go through intensive therapy, we modified his steps. As all his weight was on his left leg, his steps had to be modified accordingly. And he carried it off so well that looking at him, no one will realise that he had injured himself."
Why I Love This Song: The film tells the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) a former magician who is now a quadriplegic. This song takes us from the current reality of his life into a magical sequence that is both beautiful and poignant. In this number, Hrithik performs a ballet with unbelievable grace that leaves us awed and amazed. In a 2010 Hindustan Times article, choreographer Ashley Lobo explained some of the challenges of filming this number:
"...the song was important to convey the power and agility of this magician showman who can bounce a ball in air and make it disappear to counterpoint the harsh reality that follows an accident soon after and leaves him completely immobile in a wheelchair. It seemed like an almost impossible task when we started on the week-long rehearsals but Hrithik is a courageous actor. And even though he couldn't bend his knee at right angles, for one particular sequence, he was on and off the dance floor and flying, in what seemed like an improbable miracle. I guess, if you can free your mind, it frees up your body too. What made it even more difficult was that Hrithik had a ball for a partner. And it was a ball with a mind of its own. It would bounce off in a different direction. But Hrithik is very focused on his work and soon, was controlling it with almost magical precision."
The following playlist features the available videos for these songs, followed by "Tu Meri" and the title track videos from Bang Bang.
If you liked this, check out our other Hrithik Roshan posts.