Gangubai Kathiawadi's choreographer is a post-graduate in forensic science

Kruti Mahesh talks about working on Gangubai Kathiawadi and how her father’s death led her to become a choreographer
Alia Bhatt in Gangubai Kathiawadi
Alia Bhatt in Gangubai Kathiawadi

The Alia Bhatt-starrer, Gangubai Kathiawadi by Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been running successfully in theatres, and has even entered the 100-crore club. In the run-up to its release, it was the film’s songs and dances, in particular, the song Dholida, that captured people’s attention. The song is still one of the top tracks for Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Not just the music, the unconventional choreography is also the reason for its success.

The choreographer of this particular song and the other dances in the film is Kruti Mahesh who had won the National Award for choreographing Ghoomar in Padmavat. “When Sanjay sir initially met me and asked me to join the crew, I didn’t know how many songs I would be part of. But he gave me the script and I read the story. I knew the journey of the character. But I didn’t know that I would be choreographing all the songs,” reveals Kruti who says every Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is a big learning for her. Dholida was the first song assigned to Kruti.

Kruti Mahesh
Kruti Mahesh

The brief was to capture the mood of the ladies of Kamatipura celebrating womanhood. “I was also told to include garba steps because the song is set during Navaratri. As I had worked with Sanjay sir earlier, I knew his approach and the canvas he had in mind. It is very Indian, and he is very true to the form and I had to be authentic. But because the character Gangu had travelled all the way from Kathiawad and is now in Mumbai in Kamatipura, I understood that there was also a certain power and masculinity to her. So my approach was to look at her as an ardhanarishvara — powerful yet graceful. Plus, I had to add a touch of Bombay through the steps. It was not easy at all. I had to keep in mind the narrative of the song, and had to bring out all the angst that Gangubai had in her,” explains the choreographer who holds a masters de g ree in forensic science.

It may come as a surprise that a National Award winning choreographer was not interested in dancing, “I was focused on academics, and dancing was always a hobby,” offers Kruthi who is a trained Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer. She was so sure about what she was doing that Kruti pursued a masters degree in forensic science from London. However, losing her father changed the course of her life. “My father always believed I would excel as a choreographer but I was reluctant. He died in 2008, and just before that, when he was watching Dance India Dance (DID), he told me that I should be participating in a show like that. A year after his death, I participated in DID because of his last request, and since then life took a different turn,” says the choreographer. Going forward, Kruti is collaborating with Shaad Ali for his next film. 

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