No one referred to ‘Step Up’ after watching ‘ABCD’: Salman Yusuff Khan

For a rising star Salman Yusuff Khan, the success of his debut Hindi film ‘ABCD – Any Body Can Dance’ has opened doors to one of the most coveted professions ever – acting and how! Basking in the sweet rewards of his hard work, this choreographer cum actor and Dance India Dance (2008) winner spoke to Resham Sengar of over the phone about realising his dreams, his journey till date as a successful dancer and his future projects.

With ‘ABCD’ garnering good response at the Box Office, how are you feeling about the success of the film? Were you expecting this kind of appreciation for the film?

I knew this film would be very big for the mere fact that the content is very fresh and I have realised that in this country, whatever is new has worked. Ever since I won ‘Dance India Dance’, people never really considered dance as a profession. After I won DID, I had people like big industrialists and doctors etcetera come up to me to say that we want our children to be a dance performer like you are. So this was the reason why I was so sure about the film. Although there were speculations before the release of the film that this is like ‘Step Up’ but kisi ek bande ne movie theatre se nikalne ke baad ‘Step Up’ ka naam nahi liya’ (No one referred to ‘Step Up’ after watching ‘ABCD’).

How challenging was it working in ‘ABCD’? What homework did you do for your role in this dance film?

Let me tell that there were India’s best dancers standing with me over there. I had Remo sir as the director. It is a first proper Indian dance film in 3D. The 3D camera has a running time of about 15-20 minutes because it gets heated up by then. So you know that you have to give your shot right in that time and on top of that I had match steps with Prabhudeva. So you can imagine how pressurizing that was. But all in all I had trained myself for a year for this movie to look good and stay fit and I have done different styles of dance forms both Indian and contemporary. I did not pick up any other work in that one year.

Did you take acting classes also for the film?

I have been taking acting classes for two and half years now but to build up my character Rocky in ‘ABCD’, I took acting classes for about 8 months.

And how did you survive in that time you took off to prepare for the film?

Thankfully I had made money to survive for that one year. When I decided to dedicate a year to prepare for my role in ‘ABCD’, I had put that much money in my bank to survive.

Were you nervous in front of the camera when you had to work for your full-fledged Hindi feature film ‘ABCD’?

Not that much because I had assisted Remo sir in ‘F.A.L.T.U’ and I had already been in front of the camera. But yes, when I had to give my first shot for the film, I definitely had butterflies in my stomach because I have already challenged myself. Frankly speaking there is nobody else who can make me nervous except myself.

News has it that South Korean film makers are hugely impressed with the film and they are keen on buying the rights of the film. Also, they want to rope in the Gangnam Style star PSY to portray Prabhudeva’s character in the film. How do you feel about this new development?

When I heard about that news I was super excited because our Indian film makers usually get inspired by foreign films and now Korean film makers want to buy rights of our movie – that was unbelievable. I am looking forward for this.

Do you think PSY has it in him to dance like Prabhudeva?

I think they can have their own interpretation to that aspect of the film. They don’t need to do it exactly the way we did in the film. I have seen videos of six month babies doing the Gangnam Style. So this guy is a huge hit now and who knows he may come up with something of his own.

How has your journey from an engineering student to a popular dancer in Bollywood been?

It all feels like a dream to me and I pray that no one wakes me up. So I am living my dream, I am trying to give my best and work as hard as possible.

Who do you think is the best dancer in Bollywood among the actors?

Among the actors it has to be Hrithik Roshan and among the choreographers it is Prabhu sir.

What are your future projects?

Right now I am working on the second schedule of my second movie directed by Vivek Agnihotri and I am playing one of the leads in it. In fact, I have choreographed all the four songs of the film. It is going to be my debut as a Bollywood choreographer and it is my second film as an actor. I have two more film choreographies and two more movies in the pipeline. So, you are going to see a lot of me now.

Which movie director would you love to work with in future?

I would definitely love to work with Steven Spielberg for sure because of his originality and creativity. There is creativity that is inspired and there is creativity that is original and that originality does not comes to everybody. But that man does justice to everything he does.

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