Leran dance forms that have structure: Meenakshi Seshadri

Meenakshi Seshadri is being interviewd by Ritu Maheshwari
Meenakshi Seshadri is being interviewd by Ritu Maheshwari

India Post News Service

Meenakshi Seshadri, an Indian actress, model, and dancer who mainly appeared in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu films and won the Eve’s Weekly Miss India contest in 1981, was acknowledged for several of her performances, her beauty, and her accomplished dancing. On September 14, she was the chief guest and a judge at ‘Portland Got Moves’, a dancing competition. India Post interviewed her ahead of the competition

India Post (IP): How excited are you to be the judge at ‘Portland Got Moves’ dancing competition?

Meenakshi Seshadri (MS): This is the first time I have come to Portland, and I’m very excited to be a judge for today’s dance competition, as I love dancing myself.  Looking forward to seeing all the performances!

IP:  What changes have you seen in the past few years in Bollywood?

MS: It has been over 20 years since I left Bollywood and in these 20 years a lot has happened. With coming to regards to dance, you can see that the kids today are so good at dancing. They come with full training, they know exactly what break dance is, what folk dance is, they know exactly what all the moves are, and they’re a pleasure to work with. There are many other changes. Movies have become more serious, much bigger-budget movies are being made, TV and web have become so important today. So it’s not just Bollywood movies, it’s other media also which are important.

IP: Is it useful to learn classical dancing to be able to do dance in Bollywood movies?

MS: Well my specialized training has been in classical dancing, so I’ve learned Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi. I’ve been in the movies for so many years. I see classical training as very helpful in Bollywood.

IP: What is your favorite dance form?

MS:  When I was born and I started walking, the first dance style I learned was Bharatnatyam, and that is my favorite dance form. I feel once you learn Bharatnatyam, you can learn anything else, and I’ll give you some more examples of actresses who were Bharatnatyam dancers, such as Vaijayanti Mala, Padmini, Hema Malini. Bharatnatyam has given me structure, a foundation, not just as a dancer, but also as a person.

IP: Who are the other Bollywood dancers you have danced with?

MS: I have danced with Jayaprada in the movie “Hoshiyar” and with Sridevi in “Joshilaay”. I wish I could have danced with Hema Malini and Vaijanti Mala, but it’s never too late! Still an option!

IP: Any plans to return to Bollywood?

MS: Everybody asks me, “Now that your kids are grown up and it’s an empty nest, what are your plans?” and I tell them, “Yes! I have every intention of going back! And wish me all the luck so the second inning is even better than the first!”

IP: Do you have any projects in the pipeline?

MS: Right now, I’m going to keep quiet, because my second inning should be with a big bang, and there are talks happening right now, even as I speak, but let me give more information when they are completely finalized.

IP: What message would you give to young people who are learning dance?

MS: If a person is serious about learning dance, they should learn something which has structure. Even in Western dancing, there are many styles which have structure. Salsa and tango have structure. But the well-rounded training you get from something like Bharatnatyam, it’s not easy to find it in the contemporary styles. If you even learn ballet, that’s fantastic training. But in Indian culture, we prefer our dances, our traditional folk and classical rhythms. If you’re really serious, try Bharatnatyam or any of the other seven or eight classical styles we have in India. We’re so fortunate to have such a rich culture!