MJ Soundar, the man who eats, sleeps and breathes the pop icon
In an extended ‘Billie Jean’ sequence, MJ Soundar does pop-locks, breaks, puppets, glides and moonwalks — in other words, the whole gamut of moves popularised by Michael Jackson. He performed at Express Avenue Mall, which organised a tribute show on the King of Pop’s birth anniversary on August 29(a day before the mall’s own birthday).
A parade of groups performed what each was good at — freestyle, hip-hop, break dance and songs across genres — but it was 28-year-old Soundar who paid the greatest tribute. To be able to execute the ‘Billie Jean’ sequence, he has lived as Michael Jackson for over 12 years. Freezing each frame in every available MJ video, Soundar has learnt how to look, act, and most importantly, dance like the pop icon.
“In the early years, I would force my friends to watch me dance like Jackson and insist that they point out mistakes. Later, I began to watch my own videos to find out if I was doing it right,” says Soundar.
A software engineer with a consideration for workplace proprieties, Soundar has not grown his hair long enough to have the trademark MJ ponytail. “My hairstyle matches the one sported by MJ in the mid-1990s,” he says. Keeping a strict diet to stay as slim as the pop star was is part of the effort at maintaining the MJ look.
In his spare time, Soundar does MJ ‘impersonation’ shows at college and corporate events, and has now launched a freestyle dance group Toez. “It’s freestyle with unmistakable MJ influences,” says Soundar.
It’s difficult not to ask this diehard fan how he reacted to MJ’s untimely death. “My mother broke the news to me. She gave me a glass of water and slowly prepared me for it. Friends called up to check up on me — they knew I would be shattered. Words of solace did not alleviate the grief. Switching off my mobile, I went into a shell. I refused food. The intense mourning lasted a week,” recalls Soundar.
MJ lives on in the hearts of his countless fans. Soundar realises this every time he looks at ‘The Man In The Mirror’.