{ Page-Title / Story-Title }

Article Hindi

The dazzling dance numbers of Madhuri Dixit — birthday special

As the seasoned actress turns 50 today (15 May), we revisit some of the breathtaking dance performances.

Mayur Lookhar

In the changing scenario of Hindi cinema, the song and dance sequences these days are beginning to lose steam. Hence, it becomes all the more important to cherish the memories of those who warmed our hearts through their divine dance arts. Madhubala, Vyjayanthimala, Rekha were the embodiment of divine beauty and talent, well versed with the classical, as well as contemporary dance forms.

Once these women passed their prime, the baton fell in the hands of a pretty Maharashtrian girl, Madhuri Dixit. Dixit was often compared to Madhubala. As the seasoned actress turns 50 today (15 May), we go down memory lane of her breathtaking songs and dance performances.

1. 'Ek Do Teen' – Tezaab (1988)

Madhuri Dixit made her debut in 1984, but it took four years for her to make a mark in Hindi cinema. The word item number didn’t exist then, so 'Ek Do Teen' would have qualified as Bollywood’s first item number. Dixit's costume was perhaps deemed too skimpy for an A-grade actress then. That’s not to say that Dixit was a B-grade star. She was talented, but a struggling actor looking for that career changing role. Saroj Khan choreographed desi sensuous moves that had the nation drooling for Dixit. Tezaab paved the way for Dixit to achieve greater heights in her career. This track was a game changer for Dixit, Saroj Khan and a young Alka Yagnik.

2. 'Bada Dukh Dina' – Ram Lakhan (1989)

While 'Ek Do Teen' was sexy and entertaining, there was nothing classical about it. As one trained in classical dance forms, Dixit finally got to show her mettle in 'Bada Dukh Dina' from Subhash Ghai’s Ram Lakhan. The lyrics were pretty average, but it was Lata Mangeshkar’s golden voice and Dixit’s classical dance moves that made this track a hit.

3. 'Tamma Tamma Loge' – Thanedaar (1990)

Bappi Lahiri lifted tunes from Guinean artist More Kante’s 'Tama Gnogonte'. Indivar penned perhaps is last work of repute. Dixit was left handicapped with a poor dancer in the form of Sanjay Dutt. Legend has it that Javed Jaffrey was used as Dutt’s double. The choreography didn't sweep you off the floor, but the beats of 'Tamma Tamma Loge' were never heard before in Hindi cinema. Albeit inspired, Lahiri gave it his own touch, making 'Tamma Tamma Loge' a perfect dance number. Three decades later, 'Tamma Tamma Loge' found its way into Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt-starrer Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017).

4. 'Aap Ko Dekh Ke' – Kishen Kanhaiya (1990)

The 1990s music was pretty much indescribable. What clicked with the audience was deemed great.   Love is blind and so it makes you do silly things. That is essentially what you see in the track.

Maduri’s million watt smile, gorgeous looks made you forget the lyrics and the music. Rajesh Roshan scored a peppy chartbuster in 'Aap Ko Dekh Ke' for his brother Rakesh’s film Kishen Kanhaiya. The lyrics by Indivar were redundant, but the rhythmic beats of this track had you tapping your feet.  As we say in filmi parlance, the song, the choreography had a nasha which was hard to resist.

5. 'Humko Aaj Kal Hai' – Sailaab (1990)

Without great music, lyrics, voice or even choreography, an average song could still be turned into a great one purely through expressions. You can be gifted with the brightest smile, but expressions come through your soul. An actor/dancer needs to feel the pulse of the music to get that perfect expression. The 'Hum Ko Aaj Kal Hai' song is a prime example. Dixit totally immerses herself into the song, least bothered by what’s happening around her. She submits herself to the character. Dixit’s dance act epitomised deewanapan (craziness) in love. The credit should also go to Bappi Lahiri, Aadesh Shrivastava for their engrossing music and Javed Akhtar for his hypnotic lyrics. Last of all, how can we forget the voice of Anupama Deshpande, who is often mistaken for Alka Yagnik.

6. 'Tu Shayar Hai' – Saajan (1991)

May be the dancing was a bit too pacey for this melodious track but the fans didn’t complain. Dixit’s different costumes, and few gazelle-like dance moves had the audience whistling. When was the last time you saw a gorgeous diva dressed in desi attire with a guitar in her hand? Musical Saajan produced some fine ballads, but music directors Nadeem-Shravan and lyricist will be really proud of this effort. Sanjay Dutt had the best seat in the house.

7. 'Idlee Doo Idlee Doo' – Khel (1992)

If only she could sing then Dixit could have given Madonna a run for her money. Dixit brought out the seductive pop diva in her in Rakesh Roshan’s Khel. The title of the song is gibberish, but Dixit’s titillating dances moves are worth watching. This was perhaps a first cabaret number for Dixit. The way Dixit breaks from the slow, seductive moves to the electrifying steps is simply breathtaking.

8. 'Dhak Dhak' – Beta (1992)

Anand-Milind had lifted the tune from south cinema legend Ilayaraja’s song 'Abba Nee Tiyani' from the Telugu film Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari (1990). The original Telugu song was pictured on Dixit’s arch rival Sridevi. If Anand-Milind stole Ilayaraja’s tunes, then Madhuri stole Sridevi’s thunder with a seductive dance performance. Dixit had already stolen the nation’s heart with 'Ek Do Teen', but with 'Dhak Dhak' many heart beats came to a standstill. From hereon, Dixit came to be  be known as the ‘Dhak Dhak’ girl.

9. 'Choli Ke Peeche' – Khal Nayak (1993)

After 'Dhak Dhak', the fans needed a breather, but a year later, Dixit would once again leave the men gasping for air. She raised the bar with the controversial 'Choli Ke Peeche' from Subhash Ghai’s Khal Nayak. Anand Bakshi pushed the envelope with 'Choli Ke Peeche'.

Initially, it did create a storm, but once people saw the song, they were simply bowled over by the visuals and its music (by Laxmikant-Pyarelal) that had elements of folk music. Alka Yagnik proved yet again why her voice best suits Dixit. Ila Arun played the perfect foil to Yagnik. Saroj Khan choreographed some never-seen-before moves that had a jaw-dropping effect on the audience. While the others did their job, it was Dixit who turned this track legendary. Beauty, talent, moves, expression, very few actors have all these qualities. No wonder then that Dixit was often compared with the eternal beauty Madhubala.

10. 'Chane Ke Khet Mein' – Anjaam (1994)

From Dhak Dhak to Choli Ke Peehe, Madhuri Dixit now took us to 'Chane Ke Khet Mein' (chickpea fields). Penned by Sameer, this Anand-Milind composition beat through the vocals of the forgotten 1990s singer Poornima. Arguably, 'Chane Ke Khet Mein' has to be the most defining song of her career. Saroj Khan pulled out new moves that would become a rage. Even Shah Rukh Khan tried to emulating the  trademark 'Chane Ke Khet Mein' moves. 

11. 'Akhiyaan Milaoon Kabhi' – Raja (1995)

She’s worked in over a dozen films with Anil Kapoor. Younger brother Sanjay Kapoor got his turn to romance the eternal diva in Raja. Unfortunately, Sanjay Kapoor’s frailties as a dancer restricted Dixit in her movements, too. By no means was this a below par performance by Dixit. Her choreographers should be credited for producing a step for each beat. What made Dixit so special was how, within a blink of an eye, she could change her steps, but more remarkably it was the change in expressions that was the hallmark of most of her performances. This Udit Narayan-Alka Yagnik duet saw many twists and turns, and Dixit didn’t err in even one step or expression.

12. 'Kay Sera Sera' – Pukar (2000)

After all these years taking the lead, shielding her heroes, Dixit finally found someone who could match her step for step. That someone was none other ace choreographer Prabhu Deva. The 'Kay Sera Sera' track from Pukar is not a great song, but the joy of having an equally good, if not better, co-dancer is reflected in Dixit’s face. It’s almost as if the shackles were broken and Dixit danced like there’s no tomorrow.

13. 'Maar Daala' – Devdas (2002)

2002 was the year when a happily married Dixit bid good bye to the industry as she migrated to the United States of America. She left us with a fitting lasting memory in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus, Devdas. Often compared with Madhubala, Dixit finally got to emulate the late great actress, playing Paro the mujra dancer in Devdas. Recreating the Mughal-E-Azam (1960) was next to impossible. Saroj Khan, though, helped Dixit dole out her best classical dance art performance. The grandeur of the song and the film in general made 'Mara Daala' a song to die for.

14. 'Aaja Nachle' - Aaja Nachle (2007)

Dixit quit the industry when she was at the pinnacle of her career. She was lauded for picking her family over her career. She’d seen it all, and conquered it all. Destiny, though, brought her back to India. She was 40 then and a mother of two. Age does catch up, but there was no drop in the talent of Dixit. The actress chose Yash Raj Films’ Aaja Nachle as a comeback film. Unfortunately, the film didn’t click, but fans were glad to see the dance goddess back in action. A new era meant that Sunidhi Chauhan was now the voice of Dixit. From classic to contemporary, thumkas and nakhras, Dixit proved why she is the one of the best dancing divas of all time.