Wherever I am today, it is because of Salman Khan

Choreographer Shabina Khan, who has worked with Salman Khan in films like ‘Jai Ho’, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, and ‘Tubelight’, is currently enjoying the accolades coming her way for her work in ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai‘ song, ‘Dil De Diya’. The song that features Salman, Jacqueline Fernandez, and Randeep Hooda, has garnered a lot of attention for its music and choreography. In fact, Jacqueline and Salman’s quirky dance moves are already all the rage online. In an exclusive interview with ETimes, Shabina shares how she went about choreographing for the song, Randeep’s moonwalk, and her long association with Salman. Read on:

‘Dil De Diya’ is a hit and even the choreography is being appreciated…

It feels great to see the kind of response I am getting for the song. We have put a lot of effort into this song. In these testing times, when we are surrounded by so much negativity, the song has managed to bring a smile to people’s faces. Speaking about the song, I am really happy with the response it has been getting. During ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ too, fans had been appreciative of my work, but this time, the happiness has doubled.

In the behind-the-scenes video of the song, you might have seen Jacqueline getting injured on the sets while dancing. Even my team got injured during the process. We wanted to come up with something different and unique, which was challenging. Prabhudheva is a taskmaster and also my guru. So, I had to give him the best that I could. Both Salman and Prabhudheva gave inputs and suggested changes, if they were required. When they give an ‘ok’, 90 per cent of my work gets done because whenever they agree, the song turns out to be a hit. Randeep Hooda’s moonwalk was also suggested by them. There is a story in the song and they wanted Randeep’s character to dance in that manner.

Fans have been sending me messages on social media. They are telling me that the dance steps are so good that they want to try it, even if it’s difficult. A few of them have even requested me to come online and teach them the steps from the song. I have been planning the same with my team and will do something about it soon.

You have worked with Salman earlier. What kind of steps does he like?

Salman has managed to create his unique dancing style. There is nothing that he cannot do. We always keep in mind that the dance moves we give him are such that his fans can easily relate to and copy. Every time he dances, be it in ‘Dabangg’ or ‘PRDP’, his hook steps go viral. Even he gives his inputs while we shoot for a song, which are just perfect. He doesn’t even rehearse for the song, he comes on the sets, we show him the moves, and he nails it like a boss! I I have been working with him since I was 8-9 years old; I started working as an assistant to Ganesh Hegde for his film ‘Khamoshi’. It has contributed immensely to my career.

I would call him the best dancer!
Woh jo kar le, vo step ho jaati hai aur vo hit hai (Whatever he does, becomes a step and is an immediate hit with the masses). My kids and nephews copy his steps.

How has your journey with him been so far?

I first saw him on a movie set, when I was in school. I come from a very conservative family and we were not even allowed to watch films. I am the only one from my family who is working in the film industry. I started working with Salman in ‘Khamoshi’ and then later, continued working with him. I feel I have a natural connection with him. I have done a lot of songs but after doing ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, I got recognition. Before that, I did a lot of songs like ‘Aashiq Bananya Aapne’ and others. I even got nominated for several awards, I was also called the best young choreographer, but ‘PRDP’ was a milestone film for me. After that, I made sure to deliver the best and do better. Because if I am able to do a good job, only then will be call me for his next project. Today, wherever I am in my career, it is because of him.

Like Salman Khan, you also have a charitable foundation…

Last year (when the country went under a lockdown), there was no such foundation. I was just trying to help people voluntarily. We tried to provide essential help to people, like providing rooftops, so that they can protect themselves during the rains, and distributed ration kits. So, last year I got an opportunity to help the needy, and this year, we decided to take it ahead. Now, I have a foundation named Shabina Khan Foundation. Even this time, we have distributed monthly essentials, helped underprivileged women with their pregnancies. It’s such a sad state; families are struggling for food, how can they afford hospital expenses? I wanted to help maximum people which is why I decided to start this foundation. Since the country is facing other issues like oxygen and bed scarcity, I thought of taking care of providing food and essentials in every possible home that needs it. Inshallah, we’ll try to grow the foundation further.

Go on…

I receive multiple requests for help, so my team goes to every family to verify it. Due to the pandemic, we advise people to connect via social media and we have given out our phone numbers as well. I have even distributed masks and sanitizers to people.

What’s next for you?

Next, I have two songs in Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma’s ‘Antim’. I will not be able to talk much about it now. I also have other projects but they are all stuck due to the pandemic.

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