HIP Exclusive: Wahab Shah Speaks About Choreographing for "Baaji"
HIP Exclusive: Wahab Shah Speaks About Choreographing for "Baaji"

HIP Exclusive: Wahab Shah Speaks About Choreographing for "Baaji"

Wahab spoke exclusively to HIP about the project, and here is what he had to say…
Updated Jun 21, 2019 05:51pm

Tutti Frutti, Chhalawa hai Chhalawa, Meri Hasti Hasti Aankhon Mein, Kalabaaz Dil -- what is the common thread between all these songs? You guessed it right – the choreographer Wahab Shah. Within a very short span of time, the ace dance guru has made quite a name for himself, being associated with many top-billed projects in recent years. The professionally trained choreographer who has a background in a wide array of dance genres including contemporary western dancing has also crafted the moves from some of the sensational numbers from Saqib Malik’s upcoming Baaji. Wahab spoke exclusively to HIP about the project, and here is what he had to say…..

On how he was signed up for the film…

“Prior to Baaji, I had never worked with Saqib Malik before, so one day Saqib gave me a ring and mentioned that he was working on a project of a certain type and filled me in on its specifics. He said that he had seen my work and would like me to be involved with the film.”

The first song he choreographed…

“When I signed on to the project Khilti Kali was not in the film – initially we worked on Shaam nasheeli hai, which too went through a couple of iterations before we decided on the final audio version to shoot on. The choreography for that song was very elegant, very classy ballroom dancing with hints of ballet, and we shot it in Lahore on Meera and Osman Khalid Butt. We wanted a very suave, vintage Hollywood look for the song and I believe by and large we achieved that.”

How Khiltee Kali was developed for the big screen…

Khiltee Kali actually has quite an interesting backstory to it. We (the Baaji team) got to a point where we thought there should be a club number in the film. Osman, I and composer Talha Malik sat down over 3 or 4 shifts to develop the kind of sound we wanted for the song. It was a very joint, well-thought-out process. The song’s choreography from storyboarding to the final version took about 10 days to construct, and we rehearsed for 2 days. Osman is a natural dancer, whereas dancing is in Amna’s bones, she is a terrific, gifted dancer who gives her one hundred percent. We shot the song over two days with 40 backup dancers.”

On whether he encountered any challenges…

“No major challenges as such as the people associated with the project were very professional, and the Saqib’s film unit was one of the cohesive film units I had worked with. I don’t like delays and tardiness and happily, punctuality was not an issue on the sets.”

On the advantages of working in the new film industry…

“The new film industry is still in its teething stages, the plus point of which is that we are given a lot of creative freedom and at times even a free hand, which allows us to create new and exciting work. I have organized myself in a manner that prior to each song I work on the storyboards, understand how the song is fitting in the overall narrative of the film, whether it is taking the story forward etcetera. I have my own troupe of in-house dancers, and when I pitch my brief to the directors, the majority of the times they give me the leeway to create what I want. I also consult with the DOP and the stylist to develop the look for the song.”

Wahab incidentally makes a cameo in Baaji as well – he is playing the DJ in the initial shots of the song. You can check out the song’s preview here to enjoy the nifty moves…