Monday, November 29, 1999

Escape Artist

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When one sees Astaad Deboo's name on the credit rolls of Mani Ratnam's Raavan, one assumes that he has choreographed one of the dances in the film. Instead, the dance veteran has directed Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's escape sequence in the film. The scene unfolds at a waterfall in Kerala while the track Behene De plays in the background."When I came on board, I was under the impression that I would be choreographing a song. I began rehearsals keeping that in mind. But Mani had a different vision and suggested that we stylise the escape sequence," Deboo says. His name had been suggested to Ratnam by cinematographer Santosh Sivan who had worked with Deboo in MF Husain's Meenaxi and Vishal Bharadwaj's Omkara."The sequence was a bit tricky because of the waterfall and the sharp drop in the cliff," says Deboo. He, however, is impressed with Aishwarya's professionalism. "She had to shoot the sequence twice, once for the Hindi version with Abhishek (Bachchan) and then with Vikram for the Tamil version." Both the male actors, adds Deboo, bring in different energies into the sequence.Meanwhile, Deboo is in talks with the organisers of the Commonwealth Games to choreograph or perform for the opening ceremony.

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