“My only regret after coming to Kerala is that I can’t eat the fish curry that all the others here are raving about because I am a vegetarian!” says Neerav Bavlecha with a chuckle. The charming dancer-choreographer might be familiar to those who have followed Zee TV’s ‘Dance India Dance’ (DID) Season 3, in which he was a contestant and ‘DID Little Masters’ Season 2 in which he was a skipper. Neerav, who hails from Gujarat, is now getting a taste of Malayalam television. He is the permanent jury member of Mazhavil Manorama’s dance reality show ‘D 4 Dance’, along with actress Priyamani and choreographer Prasanna. A star in his own right, Neerav has choreographed for reality shows and for movies such as Aisha, Pankh, What’s Your Rashee, and Naach and many television commercials. Excerpts from an interview:
Your tryst with Kerala…
In spite of the language barrier, I’m enjoying the show. I have judged dance competitions across India on college and school campuses and have been guest judge on shows, but this is my first experience as a permanent jury member. I have been able to connect with the people here through my dance. I am overwhelmed by the hospitality and the whole team is trying their best to make me comfortable. I am happy that I am sharing the dais with Priyamani and Prasanna master.
Do you think that the contestants are influenced by dance shows on Hindi channels?
I don’t blame them because they have grown up watching those shows that have set a benchmark in quality, improvisations and experimentation.
But they still have a long way to go?
That is because the dancers up north get better facilities and training than the contestants here. There are a number of dance schools with excellent choreographers to guide them. If the contestants here also get the same kind of training, they can also do very well. In fact, in ‘D 4 Dance’ itself there has been a tremendous improvement in many of the contestants. It is also about one’s outlook towards dance. Many parents don’t want their children to take up dance as a profession. But television shows have changed the outlook towards dance and I hope that happens here also. Even in my case, my dad wanted me to take up a job. However, dance was something I enjoyed from childhood and I did not give it up. Today I am proud that I am into a profession that I love. I also think that this show would help to change the perspective towards dance and dancers.
I recently choreographed a song for a Pakistani movie shot in Istanbul. I am busy with my stage shows and workshops abroad. In my workshops I try to blend different dance genres, for example Bollywood and hip-hop, Indian classical and contemporary and the like.
In fact, I have got a few offers from serials and I might take up one. Actually, I am keen on doing movies. Serials can be a stepping stone towards that. Dancing is my passion and acting is something I want to try at least once!
‘D 4 Dance’ airs on Mazhavil Manorama Friday to Sunday at 8 p.m.