Twi-hards out there, as you read this over your morning cuppa, an actor from The Twilight Saga movie franchise is rehearsing to shake a leg in a Bollywood film! It is the long-legged leader of the Amazonian vampires Zafrina, who showed the film’s lead pair Edward and Bella Cullen’s half-vampire child Renesmee “pretty pictures” using her power of creating illusions and sided with the Cullens in their final showdown against the Volturi. She landed in Mumbai on Sunday.
Judith Shekoni, the British actress of African origin, has been signed by producer Shubir Mukherjee for his film Club Dancer. But the 30-year-old from Manchester, now settled in Los Angeles, would not be needing a Hindi tutor just yet. She is here for 10 days and will be dancing to two songs in the film, including the title track composed by Pritam’s former assistant Sanjay Basu.
“I saw her dancing at the premiere party of Breaking Dawn Part 2 and realised she would fit the bill for my film,” says Mukherjee, who had brought the voluptuous Samantha Fox to jive with Govinda in the 1995 release Rock Dancer. He is the youngest son of Sashadhar Mukherjee, the founder of Filmalaya Studios, and the younger brother of Kajol’s father Shomu.
Mukherjee insists that he was not looking West for the item song to start with. “We were in London last November. My 17-year-old daughter is a fan of Twilight star Robert Pattinson and promised me great scores in her Board exams if I took her to the premiere of Breaking Dawn Part 2. The fan hysteria was unbelievable.” The assurance of a ready fan base helped him make up his mind to approach Shekoni when he saw her on the dance floor later.
If he had any doubts over her ability to pick up Bollywood dance styles, they were laid to rest after she was shown a video clip of Katrina Kaif swinging to Sheila ki jawaani. “She saw the clip twice and had the moves down pat,” he recalls.
The film is a love story of club dancers and will open with Judith emerging out of the sea in a bikini. “It will be a beach song and will have her as the lead dancer,” says choreographer Raju Khan, of the duo Raju-Shabana. Khan had been Saroj Khan’s assistant for 16 years in films like Devdas, Veer-Zaara, Hum Tum and Taal. The other song will be a bhangra with some western touches where she will dance with the film’s lead Rajveer.
Judith started rehearsals on Monday at Filmalaya Studio before shooting the beach song at Madh Island. Club Dancer is slated to release in May.
Height: 5’10¾” (1.80 m)
Hails from: Manchester, UK
Resident of: Los Angeles
Notable UK TV
Appearances: Eastenders (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Hollyoaks (Channel 4) and Fat Friends (ITV)Notable US TV
Appearances: King of Queens (CBS), NCIS (CBS), Brothers and Sisters (ABC) and All of Us (CW)
On the big screen: Garfield 2, Jekyll and Hyde, Private Moments, Maybe Baby, It was an Accident and Breaking Dawn Part 2