DU alumnus recalls the fun he had with making Shah Rukh Khan dance
Back in 2015, when Gurdeep Singh Babbar, an alumnus of SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University, got a chance to choreograph for director Imtiaz Ali’s movie Tamasha, little did he know that he’d later choreograph for Bollywood’s King Khan.
Gurdeep has choreographed the dance steps for the song Phurrr, which is in Shah Rukh Khan’s most recent release Jab Harry Met Sejal.
“The first opportunity I got was choreographing for the song Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai in the movie Tamasha. Abhishek, the assistant director of the film, had approached me. It was a pleasure working with Imtiaz sir, but I had no idea that we’d be working again,” says Gurdeep, who landed his first Bollywood project thanks to his bhangra choreography for his college. “In September 2016, I got a call from the line producer of Jab Harry Met Sejal, who told me that I had to choreograph SRK’s steps, for Imtiaz sir’s movie yet again. I couldn’t have asked for more. I was told that the shooting was to be held in Europe — the very idea of choreographing a song abroad was exciting.”
Once he was introduced to Shah Rukh by Imtiaz Ali, the choreographer discovered a challenge: the song had no lyrics yet; the track by DJ Diplo was solely instrumental. But Gurdeep got to work. “I showed a bit of bhangra to Imtiaz sir, and he liked it very much. We started practising with SRK at 2am and the sequence was shot a few days later. That’s the song that went on to be titled Phurrr, once the lyrics were added.”
The memory that Gurdeep cherishes is sharing college experiences with Imtiaz and Shah Rukh — all three are DU alumni. Gurdeep says, “One thing [Shah Rukh] said that really touched my heart was, ‘You’re untouched by the real world. Don’t let anyone kill your innocence ever.’”
Shah Rukh Khan is a very genuine and gentle person, despite being such a massive star. He treated me like one of his own; he used to call me ‘beta’ GURDEEP S BABBAR, CHOREOGRAPHER