Making the right moves

Choreographer Ahmed Khan shot to fame overnight with a hit number in Ram Gopal Verma’s film Rangeela

  • Published 7.06.15

I have had many turning points in my life, both personal and professional, which have changed my life completely. The first major turning point came in 1985 when I was just 11 years old and studying in a school in Pune. After much pestering, my parents gave me permission to be a part of a fashion show that was being held in the city. I was the lead amongst the children who were performing in-between the show. As luck would have it, director Shekhar Kapur was in the audience. He spotted me and decided to cast me in his film Mr India. Though now I can’t recall which song I performed that night, but in hindsight I think that’s when the Bollywood bug bit me and I made up my mind to join the industry. 

The next important turn in my life came when I was assisting Bollywood’s top choreographer, Saroj Khan. She’d spotted me during the filming of Mr India and offered me a place in her team. I was still in my teens when I first assisted her in the film Akayla starring Amitabh Bachchan. After this I was assistant choreographer in the Jackie Shroff-Madhuri Dixit-Vivek Mushran and Pooja Bhatt starrer Prem Deewane which released in 1992.

My big break however came with Ram Gopal Verma’s Rangeela. The title track Rangeela Re, which I had choreographed, got the Filmfare Award for Best Choreography.

After Rangeela I choreographed songs in many films. Another milestone was Salman Khan’s Kick which was released last year. I was thrilled as this was the first Salman Khan movie which I choreographed entirely. I received my second Filmfare Award for the film’s song, Jumme Ki Raat, which was a big hit.

On the personal front, my life changed completely when I married Shaira when I was just 22 years old. I was shooting an ad film with one of her friends and met Shaira on the sets. No sooner had I set my eyes on her than I decided that 
she was the woman who I would marry. I had a gut feeling that she was my soulmate. I neither had the time for a prolonged courtship, nor the inclination for it and we were married within five months. We have been together for the past 
17 years. Shaira is the love of my life and brings balance and stability to it.

(As told to Saimi Sattar)