For people unaware of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, aka ‘King Khan,’ is an actor currently perched on the pinnacle of the film industry’s complex food chain.
Here in North America, his movies—even the unimaginative and tepid ones— run to packed houses. An appearance by Khan in your neck of woods will likely create a stampede or frenzy never witnessed before.
So, if you tell a desi anywhere on the earth, you danced with Shah Rukh, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra and a whole bevy of stars from Bollywood, they will be likely swoon in your presence.
Vaibhav Parashar, 32, a choreographer/ theatre professional living here in the GTA has worked with the virtual Who’s Who of the Indian film industry, but is disinclined to name drop because he doesn’t want to piggy-back ride on their fame. He wants to be his own person. Fair enough.
Parashar started his artistic journey as a theatre professional with a premiere organization— National School of Drama (NSD)— in New Delhi. After working in some 75 plays, he set forth for the glamorous lights of Mumbai aka Bollywood Central and landed in the dance studios of Shiamak Davar, a leading choreographer, under whose tutelage Parashar was able to hone on his dance IQ. For next 10 years, Parashar remained with the school as a dance instructor helping hundreds of South Asians—both in India and across GTA— to connect with the insanely popular Bollywood-style of dance.
At present though, he’s making films that matter plus hoping to capitalize on the insatiable appetite for Bollywood among the desis of the North America through his just-launched event management company—Yaar (friend in Hindi) Entertainment.
“I always try to tell the story—whether it’s dance, choreography or filmmaking — by visualizing it from the audience’s perspective,” he said. “This is something I learned from my guru Shiamak who always taught us to anticipate the reaction of the crowd.”
As a filmmaker/dancer/choreographer/actor and producer, he says he has learned his craft through osmosis. He says he’s equally at home behind the camera, just as he’s on the stage moving to the pulsating rhythm of music.
Having tasted first hand the magic of films, he now wants to wow the audience with a mega Bollywood musical that will incorporate powerful elements of dance and music by weaving it within a story. A genre that’s as comforting to Parashar as water is to a duck.
“My ultimate dream is to create a Bollywood in Canada,” he said. “There’s so much talent here in this country, but unfortunately, most people don’t have the capability to go to India. Through my company, I want to create an extensive database of artists —singers, dancers, musicians and actors — so if someone is looking at anything and anybody to do with the Indian arts, they should be able to find all the resources in a single place.”
Parashar credits his training in theatre for enhancing his artistic intellect. He figures he has a fair idea of what will work in terms of dance and storyline.
“Bollywood connects us to our culture,” Parashar said. “Bollywood teaches Hindi to our kids, it’s teaches them our customs and traditions. In my opinion, Bollywood has assumed the role of a teacher for the younger generation of children living here in Canada.”
Within the next year of two, Parashar vows he will be a well-known name here in Toronto. When it comes to selling dreams of Bollywood, this merchant knows his stuff.