He's got the moves...

Telly star

He's got the moves...

Ace dancer and popular telly actor Shantanu Maheshwari sets the floor ablaze with remarkable twists and fluid bends whenever his feet start tapping. And to think he actually contemplated becoming a chartered accountant! Basking in his resounding success — on winning the World of Dance Championship held in Los Angeles in the United States last year, Shantanu has just wrapped up his zingy outing as the most popular contestant on the recently concluded season of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. He is now taking a much-deserved break.

“Now that I have some time to myself, I have been travelling around various cities in India to conduct dance workshops with my Desi Hoppers crew. We have covered Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Indore, where we got an amazing response,” he says. Shantanu’s moves are no mean feat to accomplish.

So what makes him a fab dancer? “A keen sense of rhythm and the ability to pick up the beat of the music makes me go all the time,” he confesses, after much prodding. “I believe in staying fit all the time, and am ever willing to learn,” he admits a tad modestly.

Qualities that have won him an outing in the internationally-acclaimed show, America’s Got Talent, where he got a chance to explore the Hollywood platform by performing with his team, Desi Hoppers. “The AGT team approached us directly to perform in the show’s 11th season,” he shares.

“Our performance on the show was slated for the following day, when we landed in Pasadena, California,” recalls Shantanu with a smile. “We performed for two songs, one English and one Hindi, on the ticketed show. There was ‘Tukur Tukur’ from Dilwale and ‘Turn Down for What’ by Lil Jon and DJ Snake on the menu. Amazingly, Simon Cowell (the toughest to please!), in particular, loved our performance. Simon mentioned that he liked how we had stuck to our roots and incorporated the Indian element in our performance, and that overall, our coordination was fantastic.”

Blame his good looks and ability to dance fabulously: this Kolkata-bred lad is a familiar, loved face on the telly, especially following his acting assignment in the successful youth show on Channel V, Dil Dostii Dance. He wielded his acting chops in MTV Girls on Top as well. “Yet my first love will always be dancing, not acting, as it is because of dance that I made my career in acting,” he says simply.

Whom does he look up to for inspiration? “Palki Malhotra, the creative head of my very first show, Dil Dostii Dance, for inspiration. She is my biggest motivator, totally focussed and terrific to work with,” says Shantanu promptly.

Cut to 2017. Shantanu is certainly the golden guy on the dance circuit. He plays filmstar Shahrukh Khan’s son in the 4D Ra One ride at Bollywood’s first theme park in Dubai. Quite a coup of sorts. “In the ride, I will be seen as a young CEO of a company with a mix of classy and sassy. It was actually quite funny as I had to play out this scene that required me to dance like a non-dancer. A choreographer was called in to check if my steps actually did come across as amateurish. Shooting with Shahrukh was, of course, an experience of a lifetime. He is a thorough professional and an absolute gentleman,” he says.

So, does he have a pair of lucky shoes? “Honestly, I do not have any lucky shoes. In fact, I prefer not dancing in new shoes. Usually, I am comfortable rehearsing in them first and then dancing in them on stage.”

What is next on the anvil for the young achiever? At present, Shantanu is focussing on crafting and promoting his Desi Hopper workshops with a vengeance. There is a secret wish that he hopes to fulfil very soon, “Buying my own home in Mumbai for my family.” Amen!

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