He’s breaking the bank...

He’s breaking the bank...

Dancer, ace choreographer and active Youtuber, Melvin Louis believes the harder you work, the luckier you get, writes Shilpi Madan

Melvin Louis

A self-taught dancer, Melvin Louis can be best described as a phenomenon. He has been weaving magic with his killer moves. Louis brags of a whopping 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube (with the number growing rapidly as you read this), with just his latest release Aankh Maarey with singer Neha Kakkar having already crossed 55 million views. No mean feat, this. But then his earlier dance videos — Socha Hai and Coca-Cola Tu — have netted over 12 million and 11 million views independently.

There may be scores who have made the transition from being a banker to an author, but Melvin is a banker-turned-dancer. Puzzled? Says Melvin, “I was always passionate about dance. The bank I was employed with took a setback in 2009 and crashed. I had to revise my priorities and took up dance seriously during this period. I had never considered dance to be anything more than passion but it so happened the universe conspired and made sure I had no other option but to give it a shot and incredible things followed after that.” But how and when did YouTube beckon? “YouTube was fresh back in 2008 for a user like me. Despite setting up an account, I never uploaded much back then as I was afraid that people would steal my moves. I was not really comfortable sharing them. But then I saw the channel as a potential platform to showcase my creativity and share it with audiences across the globe. So I began putting up dance videos aplenty since 2016. And here I am,” he beams, having successfully plugged into millions of hearts worldwide.

Tasting success

Melvin’s videos like Kamariya with Sandeepa Dhar, Proper Patola with Sana Khan, Buzz with Esha Gupta and Lamberghini with Harleen Sethi have netted him great applause. So much so that superstar Amitabh Bachchan even re-tweeted his Lamberghini video praising his moves, and business tycoon Anand Mahindra waxed eloquent about this video. But whereas everyone is smitten by his videos, it is important to note that Melvin succeeded despite his failures. His unsuccessful attempts have truly made him an artiste of mettle today. “I failed to run a dance academy twice (I finally succeeded in my third attempt), never found an audience to perform in front of (till now), bungled up being on time earlier, didn’t deliver at times I was expected to, found it tough to get sponsors to support my work, had hardly anyone willing to sign up for my classes, failed to convince people that dance would work, faced losses...” he confesses without blinking. “I failed at literally everything I was trying to achieve or wanting to do. Then I realised that there was something lacking in my plan and perspective. I embraced my failures and imbibed my takeaways from them. In 2016 I put an end to being underprepared and clumsy. I started taking bigger calculated risks and working my limbs off, giving my work my 200%.” That put him back where he belonged. At the top.

Reinventing skills

Reinvention is the name of the game. Melvin soon came up with Krump hop, Bolly swag...to amp up his popularity. “I have always tried to update my skills and step up my creativity. I love my individual style and balance it out with ease. I believe in using my skill set to woo the audience than to intimidate them. Towards this, I have tried my best to combine styles and genres in my own way to come up with something new that can be loved, pursued and expressed with ease. My choreography is clean and crisp. I enjoy it. I don’t really ask everyone to follow it but it’s always fun to know that they wish to,” he says candidly with a smile. Of course, Melvin’s moves are fluid, absolutely boneless. What are those three attributes that make him a fabulous performer? “I am grounded,” he retorts. “I keep my feet firmly on the ground, always. I am light, I keep my spirit high and avoid overkill.”

So Melvin Louis has redefined the game completely, with earlier stalwarts in the field of dance left twitching their lips. Now what? “I did start a new game but it is for anyone and everyone to play,” explains Melvin earnestly. “My vision is to empower dancers around the world without having to struggle a lot to find a platform or be like someone else. It is best to showcase their skills using their camera. You never know who is watching and you just might get the phone call you have been waiting for. I am definitely going to work harder to inspire more if it is helping them discover themselves, improve and achieve their creative goals.”

Meanwhile, it is the love of his well-wishers and fans that powers his passion. “It is the love I receive from all over that I wish to multiply and send it back to them in the form of smiles or happiness. I believe every dream you desire to fulfil is nothing less than a war. Sweat more every day to not sweat on your big day,” says Melvin with a smile.