Top Ten Dance Numbers of the 21st Century

By Dr Priyaankaa Mathur

Bollywood’s signature style of song and dances not only adds continuity to the film, but also adds a pinch of glamour and glitz with the lead actors dancing to their tunes. Looking at the dance sequences we find that the dance numbers bestow a rich texture, while they are incorporated with many Indian classical and folk dance forms on one hand while are fused with elements of Jazz hip-hop, Arabic and Latin forms on the other. Filmi files bring to you interesting insights on the ten most popular dance numbers of the 21st century and their creative journey…
Pinga-Bajirao Mastani 

Beautifully choreographed by Remo Fernandes, Pinga is indeed a traditional masterpiece with all the ingredients of a chartbuster. Reviving the Regal Peshwa era, the song is shot on two most charming actresses Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra in a period setting, adoring the traditional Nawari Saree, which tells you in the very first glimpse where is it coming from.’Pinga’ as the name suggests is a traditional folk dance form of Maharashtra, performed during the ‘Mangalagaur’ festival which is a celebration of the newlywed women who dance and worship together.
The dance choreography is a blend of both the folk forms Pinga and Lavani and shows glimpses of classical elements at some points. Incidentally, Remo who’s known for more urban dance forms was asked to choreograph pinga by Sanjay Leela Bansali, which he took as a challenge to discard his image and do something unexpected. Superbly choreographed, expertly executed and beautifully shot, with a characteristic fenace of Director Sanjay Leela Bansali, the song was an instant hit and happens to be one of the most sought after dance numbers especially amongst the womenfolk.
Ghoomar- Padmaavat
The song ‘Ghoomar’  as the name suggests showcases the traditional folk dance from Rajasthan, featuring Deepika Padukone as a Rajput Princess in the film, ‘Padmaavat’ yet again a periodic drama Directed by Sanjay Leela Bansali.  Ghoomar was Choreographed by Kruti Mahesh, who won the National Award for best choreography for it in 2018.
Ghoomar traditionally is a folk dance form that was performed by the Bhil tribes of Rajasthan, which was later adopted by the Rajputs. The song was aptly choreographed to portray Rani Padmavati as a newly-wedded bride, who performs this folk dance form, as a ritual when she is welcomed by her in-laws, which is indeed the part of the Rajasthani Tradition well depicted in the film. It wasn’t an easy task indeed to portray the Royal Queen and Kriti took notice of all the integrities while composing the sequence of steps and moves. Since there are technical differences in the dance form performed by the Royals and tribes, which Kriti indeed incorporated after learning the form from the masters of the folk style. The key diffrence lies in, while the dipping of footsteps in motion takes place as a major step in ghoomar, the dancers move in and out in quick circles.This is where the Royals use the right leg while the tribal women use the left leg, which Deepika Padukone performed with absolute grace and dignity.
Ghoomar became a favourite dance number of that year played at every festival, from DJ and Garba nights to parties and wedding celebrations. While social media was also bombarded with loads of creative experiments incorporating various genres of dance by choreographers and aspiring dancers, which in itself tell the success story and the much-gained popularity of the song.
Kay Sera Sera -Pukar
Who can forget the iconic moonwalk by the dancing queen Madhuri Dixit in this song choreographed by none other than the ace Choreographer Prabhudeva the Michael Jackson of India. As we call ‘Yatha guru thatha chela’, Madhuri captured the very essence of the form and Prabhudeva’s characteristic style, as taught to her. She never asked for simpler steps, and displayed dedication towards achieving perfection which is her biggest quality, the aspiring next generation of dancers and actors must imbibe.
A lot of credit for the song’s success as a dance number goes to the composer A R Rehman. The song has some unusual rhythmic patterns and beats, which must be a difficult task to translate into steps. But the song indeed became Prabhudeva’s masterpiece as he crafted every beat with an elegance and poise, suited most aptly.While Madhuri not only matched him, but even outdid him, as per Prabhudeva,who received the National Award for choreography for this song.
The song was indeed a masterpiece in many ways with delightful lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri and Javed Akhtar, Madhuri’s expressions and well collaborated, nimble footwork and movements between Madhuri and Prabhudeva. Even the song was shot brilliantly, beginning with a dancing Hat, using exquisite lighting, frames and angles.
‘Kay Sera Sera’ became an absolutely popular dance number and a great success. While, the duo had a huge demand to perform live on several stages from reality shows to live concerts, enthralling audiences both in India and globally. What made it more appealing to the masses was, that it has the element of the ‘pure dance form’ which doesn’t have any elements of sensuality or provocative moves,although the song only depicted feelings of pure love and romance.
Dhoom Machale- Dhoom Again
When it comes to Hritik Roshan he becomes the dance himself and not the dancer, commented Shiamak Dawar once,an iconic choreographer in himself, who has won many awards include the Screen Award for Best Choreography for the song Dhoom Machale. 
It was in 2007 when Aditya Chopra roped him in to choreograph Doom Machale.Although the song had a unique feel and a novel concept, Shiamak agreed in the very first instant after knowing it’s being featured on Hrithik Roshan, a man known for his well-groomed agile body endowed with flexible movements, which Shaimak admired in him as a choreographer. While he believes that a body is like a temple and one must respect it as Hrithik does!
If you listen carefully, the song Dhoom Machale has a story intertwined within its melody from being played on the piano to the strings of the violins to the beats of the drums and the combined sounds of the instruments intervenes with the lyrics, creating a kind of a conversation. Mesmerised with the composition Shiamak created a graceful blend of movements, first in his mind utilising the elements of contemporary Jazz and a mix of western dance forms, which were simple yet with a poise on their own.
Hrithik transferred the simplicity of his steps into nothing less than a mystic experience for the audiences, which had both agility combined with a well-defined grace in the movements. Eventully, the choreography of the film became a rage of the nation and the dance sequences became a craze with the coolest songs. Dhoom Machale still happens to be one of the most popular dance numbers amongst the youth.
Badtameez Dil—Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani 
The title song of the romantic comedy Badtameez Dil indeed represents the free-spirited youth of today, with its breathless highspeed nonsense patter which doesn’t mean anything,but pure fun and living in the moment attitude. The song was brilliantly rendered by Benny Dayal with absolute ease delivering the crazily disconnected lyrics with high on energy music by Pritam Chakraborty which is nothing, but a fiesta of Saxophones, Clarinets, Drums and Trumpets. 
The song has in itself a peppy whacky feel, with Ranbeer Kapoor making excellent moves with a pinch of madness, reminding of his Uncle Shammi Kapoor. The fun-filled choreography by Remo Fernandes is endowed with elements of Jazz, Salsa, Shake, and Rock, all blending well with the onscreen craziness of breaking glasses and sparkling wines thrown across. While the gorgeous Deepika Padukone in a shimmering blue saree dances along adding more glitz to the song. The song still happens to be a party hit and cannot be left out when it’s time to groove and celebrate, while it’s fast beats will pull you to the dance floor.
Munni Badnam -Dabbang
An out and out filmi dance number Munni Badnaam hui has been adapted from a  folk melody of UP ‘Launda Badnaam Hua Nasiban Tere Liye’ which the director of the film Abhinav Kashyap had heard in his village. Choreographer Farah Khan and Malaika Arora had already given two hits before this song. It was when the Producer Arbaaz Khan asked Farah to listen to all the songs, while she liked the rustic village feel of Munni Badnaam, as she had never choreographed anyone on such a song. The song eventually became a super hit giving a hattrick to the Farah -Mallika team. 
Composed by Lalit Pandit, the song has been beautifully sung by Mamta Sharma which has an element of fun, or as we call it full Masti in typical Bollywood lingo. The song depicts a Nautanki dancer played by Malaika Arora dressed in Ghagra Choli, who roams around the village singing in a tonga. While the menfolk including Sonu Sood are gushing over her when inspector Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan) also joins the village fiesta to dance in his characteristics freestyle dancing moves, which is beyond the scope of any choreography. The song not only created hype then, but is still one of the most popular dance numbers even today, topping the playlist whenever a festive season is around the corner. 
Nagada – Jab we met 
‘Nagada Nagada Nagada Baja’ is one melody that can get you on your feet to dance, the moment you hear it. The song begins with a Punjabi folk tune played on the Punjabi double flute ‘Algoza’ which ads to it’s wow factor in the very few seconds, while the dhol beats certainly represent its distinct Punjabi flavour.
For most people, Bhangra music is all about the beats, but truly this song is a synthesis of melody, lyrics, music, vocals and dance.  The song outshines Shahid Kapoor’s charismatic screen presence with perfect Punjabi moves choreographed by Bosco Martis.Sonu Nigam’s and Javid Ali’s melodious renditions in a typical Punjabi accent give justice to the melody created by Pritam Chakroborty on the lyrics by Irshad Kamil. All make this song an extremely popular dance number that has become like an anthem for all Punjabi weddings.
Very few people know how music director Pritam Chakroborty created this song just after two days of his wedding in absolute chaos. Pritam received a call from Director Imtiaz Ali in between his wedding ceremonies to create a Punjabi number. After two days, immediately after his reception, Pritam drove with the Lyricist Irshad Kamil to meet Imtiaz Ali, who was then in Khandala, they discussed and then immediately recorded the song. 
Even, while the song was being recorded singer Javid Ali took the mic, saying ‘Pataka Pataka’, ‘Dhamaka Dhamaka’ while Kamil who was still penning the lyrics came out with ‘Nagara Nagara’. Initially, Pritam was not happy with the scratch sent to Imtiaz Ali who had already started working on the choreography, and so he tried sending him several other options. But, Imtiaz took the Director’s call and ‘Nagada Nagada’ was finalised, which became a super hit and to Pritam’s surprise even his bad song happens to be a favourite of Asha Bhosleji. What makes this song so popular is the simplicity of its lyrics, the powerful drumbeats, and the inherent joy in it which has enthralled the audiences the world over.
Laila Main Laila—Raees
A remake of an old song has always done wonders in Bollywood and this track from the 1980s from the film Qurbani is no exception. Then, it was the veteran singer Asha Bhosleji and now Pawni Pandey, then it was veteran actress Zeenat Aman, while the remake had Sunny Leone’s charismatic presence, while RD Burman created the original Ram Sampath recreated it.
The remake version is indeed more sensuousness in its new avatar as Sunny Leoni creates a stir with some typical Arabic style movements to its peppy Arabic beats, well Choreographed by choreographers Bosco-Caesar. The music director Ram Sampath added more instrumentation with trumpets and bass, while also succeeded in retaining the original flavour and beauty of the melody as created by RD Burman.
The catchy dance number is just not an item number, as it takes the films plot ahead. The song showcases Shahrukh Khan in a Gangster Avatar, who goes into a den on a hunt, Sunny Leoni who’s busy luring everyone around with her moves is involved in the plot, while they both have a brief moment of onscreen togetherness and indirect interaction.The melody has been a blockbuster from its original to its remake version, which yet again creates a dance fervour the moment it’s played.
Bidi Jajaile- Omkara
The film Omkara Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj is an adapted version of the play Othello, written by William Shakespeare. The song Bidi Jalaile was written by lyricist Gulzaar Saheb and it’s believed that Director Vishal Bhardwaj told Gulzar Saheb for a hit song,while Gulzar Saab smiled and within afew minutes came up with the lines- “Beedi jalaile jigar se piya, Jigar ma badi aag hai’ meaning ‘lit your cigarette with the heat of my heart, my love’… and rest is history.
Bidi jalaile is a raunchy dance number that is a peculiar mix of nautanki and village folk featuring the sensuous Bipasha Basu, who looks radiant in a ghagra choli in the typical filmy style village setup. The song weaves the Bollywood glitz with the local history, bringing to the fore the courtesan culture combined with traditional folk theatre, as prevalent in the modern villages, where these women travel to sing, dance and entertain the villagers.
Sung melodiously by none other than Rekha Bhardwajji in her characteristic style, Bidi Jalaile topped the charts then and happens to be the soul of any Bollywood dance party even today. The song was Choreographed by Ganesh Acharya who was told by Vishal Bhardwaj to give him a signature movement so that people will catch it. After letting his imagination flow he choreographed it on Bipasha Basu and Vivek Oberoi, which had such a mass appeal, that everyone danced to its tune, which eventually made him win his first Filmfare award.
Nimbooda-Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
The song Nimbooda is adapted from a folk melody, in which Nimbooda means a lemon. The song is a fast dance number shot in a wedding sequence, featuring Aishwarya Rai in a turquoise blue Gujarati attire, with grand sets and exotic chandeliers characteristic of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali Film, this film being his first mega-hit. The song takes forward the story in the film when Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) has a fight with Sameer (Salman Khan), who refuses to see her dance performance at her cousin’s wedding. Nandini sings and dances on the song ‘Nimbooda’  comparing Sameer with a Khatta Nimbooda ( a sour lemon)as a metaphor for a spoilt sport. 
Choreographed by Saroj Khan the song has extremely fast beats and difficult steps of typical Garba folk style in which one takes swirls on the knees, which Aishwarya Rai delivered with absolute ease and grace, despite her swollen feet due to an injury caused to her during shooting. While the song was being shot a chandelier had fallen and hurt her on the sets. Infact, Producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali thanked her many times for her professionalism and dedication in this movie, particularly for this song. 
Choreographer Saroj Khan had all praises for Aishwarya Rai as according to her she is a perfect dancer and a great learner, endowed with a flexible body and graceful movements. Later, Saroj Khan won a Film Fare for Best Choreography for this song. Nimbooda still happens to be one of the most sought after dance numbers for dance parties, festivals and garba nights, that have enthralled the audiences not only in India but globally!
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