Nakul Dev Mahajan Defends Bollywood Moves in So You Think You Can Dance

Mahajan’s choreography drew flak on social media, with people calling it “uninspired” and “stale”.


Choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan has come out to defend himself against viewers who slammed his Bollywood routine on the popular American reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance this season. The performance of the contestants, Kaylee Millis and Kiki Nyemchek, on the Gallan Goodiyan song from the Hindi movie Dil Dhadakne Do left many unimpressed after the video was posted on the Facebook page.

Mahajan, who calls himself “Hollywood’s favorite Bollywood choreographer”, told India West that a little background on how a competitive live TV dance show works would serve as an eye opener for his “trolls”.

He pointed out that he only has seven hours to train the dancers, who are new to Bollywood-style dancing, with additional pressures like camera presence, the inability of American contestants to connect to the Hindi music, and the fact that dancers have 3-4 other routines to practice and perfect.

“They always come into it unknowledgeable of not just the culture but how the movement is, yet, I have the pressure to make them look like they’ve been doing it forever,” Mahajan told India West. “That is nearly impossible. I know how hard I have to work in order to get these two people ready to showcase something completely foreign to them on national TV and that also airs in 30 other countries.”

Mahajan, who has been a part of So You Think You Can Dance for 13 seasons now, also highlighted what makes the show different from other Bollywood sequences. “That is a massive undertaking that a normal person wouldn’t understand who looks on a number on a reality dance show and expects them to look like Madhuri and Shah Rukh,” Mahajan said. “It’s not going to happen because when the Bollywood actors dance, they are doing it [for which] they have the experience of doing it and plus it’s done in shots. This is a one-minute-forty-second number nonstop. There are different dynamics in play.”

The show, which was telecast on Sept. 11, failed to impress viewers. While people appreciated the efforts put in by the dancers, Mahajan’s choreography was called “uninspired”.

Here are some of the reactions the act received online:

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