Choreographer Vishwakiran Nambi on infusing technology in dance

Shuttling between the Kannada and Telugu film industries, this expert's aim is to make people accept contemporary dance on screen

Updated - August 27, 2019 03:38 pm IST

Published - August 27, 2019 02:11 pm IST

Most Indian films are incomplete without a dance sequence. The many classical forms of dance apart, new styles are becoming popular on screen. Bengaluru-based Vishwakiran Nambi plans to use contemporary dance on screen. If you have watched Hemanth Rao’s Kavaludaari and were impressed with Suman Ranganathan’s sensuous moves in the song “Kaadide Aa Ringana”, then the credit goes to Vishwa, who choreographed the song.

“It was a short piece and the dance was supposed to be on the lines of cabaret, a form I was not familiar with. Suman and I worked together to create the short dance piece,” says the dancer-choreographer. And the song, with Suman in the bright red gown, stands out in the film.

While contemporary dance is appreciated only by a select few in the world of dance, Vishwa is on a mission to promote it on screen. “As I had no backing in the film industry, I started choreographing dances and uploading them on YouTube. One such video, “Neene, neeve and neeye”, not only got 40 million views, but also captured the attention of the Telugu film director, Nag Ashwin.

“He asked me to choreograph the dance for the song “Mugga mansulu” for the film Mahanati . Vishwa is happy as not only did the film win three National Awards this year, but also “people got curious about contemporary dance used in the film. After this a few more filmmakers asked me to create something for their film as rarely do we see this form in feature films,” says Vishwakiran, who is passionate about dance and has “been dancing” for long.

Next came the Telugu film 24 Kisses , for which he created a dance sequence with animation as part of his choreography. “It was a challenge to create dance moves with animation also being a part of the dance. We made an actor dance and then the same moves were recreated in animation,” explains the 30-year-old, who started off as a professional dancer, is trained in contemporary dance, Kathak and Bharatanatya. He worked with the Nrutharuthya Dance Company and has travelled extensively for dance.

Another Kannada film, Mundina Nildana , directed by Vinay Bharadwaj is next on cards for Vishwa. “We have created a dance in a dry well as well as a sequence in a glass house using aerial silk dance.”

According to Vishwa, creating contemporary moves for actors is not easy. “Most films have the lead pair dancing and many are not trained in any dance form. Some cannot execute certain complex movements. Hence, the dance moves become limited.” To bring in the authenticity of contemporary dance on stage, Vishwa insists that the actors explore and learn at least the basics of this form.

The other challenge is how songs are conceptualised. “We are conditioned to seeing only a set form of moves on screen. We have to work harder to make people accept contemporary dance on screen too,” says Vishwa who now runs the Vishwakiran Nambi Dance Company and Loca Studio in Jayanagar. The latter focuses on contemporary moves using “Indian movement disciplines. We also have an education wing from our dance company, which has now forayed into colleges, offering short courses. The other aim is to “promote aerial silk dance in Bengaluru.

Currently, Vishwa is juggling between dancing and choreographing for stage shows and films. He uses a lot of technology in his dance. Does it not distract the viewer from the dance itself? “It depends on what you are trying to say in your dance. If you feel it will enhance your story, then you must use technology. It should never be used in a way to distract the viewer from movement itself.”

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