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‘Lucky it wasn’t a dance-off with Madhuri’

When we meet her at the Dharma office, Alia Bhatt — looking sprightly as always — can barely conceal her happiness after having watched the cut of Ghar More Pardesiya, the first song from Kalank. “There was no scope of going wrong with this,” says the actor.

Remind her that her last classical dance piece was in Abhishek Varman’s 2 States (2014), and she nods, “ he has the habit of pushing me out of my comfort zone. It was a difficult and crucial song for me. While I trained in Indian classical dancing for nearly a year, I dedicated two months to this particular song. Pandit Birju Maharaj helped me crack the expressions. I consulted him a week before we shot the song.”

It isn’t easy to match steps with Madhuri Dixit-Nene, arguably the finest dancer in Bollywood.

Bhatt admits that though she was initially intimidated by the idea of dancing with Dixit, the senior actor turned out to be a source of encouragement for her. “I was lucky that it wasn’t a dance-off. Madhuri ma’am could sense my tension; she was constantly instructing me on how to conduct myself. She ensured I performed everything perfectly — from the expressions to the steps.”

“The spins were the toughest part; the weight of the lehenga made it difficult to spin fast. I was worried about how I had fared, but once I finished the take, Remo sir [ D’Souza, choreographer] gave me an okay. That was reassuring.”

While the song’s edited version that was recently released sent fans into a tizzy, Bhatt insists that the real experience is reserved for the big screen. “We want to leave a chunk for the movie. This song is visually opulent and has a cinematic quality.”

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