While Jacqueline Fernandez rushed to Madhuri Dixit to seek her “blessings”, the Baaghi 2 choreographer-director, the affable Ahmed Khan paid the legendary choreographer Saroj Khan a visit before embarking on his own version of Khan’s iconic Madhuri Dixit song and dance Ek do teen.
“It was only the proper thing to do. I consider Sarojji my guru. When we were thinking of which number to use for Jacqueline Fernandez’s dance number, many songs like Saat sumundar paar (Vishwaatma) and Aao na gale lagao na (Mere Jeevan Saathi) came up for consideration. When we decided to add an item song at the last minute we were sure of two things. That there was space for it in the plot. And that we wanted only Jacqueline to do it.” Ms Fernandez, says Ahmed, was over the moon. “When she heard it was Ek do teen she freaked out. It is everybody’s favourite. When we think of an item song we think of Ek do teen as the baap of all item songs. I quickly paid Sarojji a visit. But we did not invite her to do the choreography for the new version of Ek do teen for two reasons. One, because we wanted a new treatment to the song. Two, because Sarojji is now getting on and is also likely to run out of patience on the sets.”
Ahmed Khan says he instead invited Ganesh Aacharya to do the dance steps. “It is an entirely new interpretation of the iconic song, not meant to challenge the original. Rather, ours is a homage to the original. We made sure that Jacqueline’s costume was a close replica of Madhuri’s costume from the original Ek do teen. We have incorporated Madhuri’s signature step—the palm and fingers perpendicular to the forehead accompanied by a trot backwards—into our version. But the rest of the steps are by Ganesh.” One change from the original that may not go down well with the architects of the original is the voice. Alka Yagnik’s vocals in the original song have been replaced by Shreya Ghosal. Explains Ahmed Khan, “Alkaji was the heroine’s voice in the 1990s and 2000s. Shreya Ghosal is the heroine’s voice today. We wanted Jacqueline to have the heroine’s voice .We didn’t want our Ek do teen to be treated as an item song, heard clapped to and forgotten.”
Ahmed hopes to show their Ek do teen to Saroj Khan, Madhuri Dixit and the Tezaab director N Chandra. “We need their blessings. Our Ek do teen is possible only because of them,” says Ahmed emotionally.