Rohan & Shruti Shah on marking step into Bollywood with ‘The Girl On The Train’

Lakh Baddhan

Senior Editor


Successful Artistic Directors Rohan Shah and Shruti Shah from Bollywood Dance School have made quite an impact after it was announced that they have been signed up as choreographers for the recently released thriller ‘The Girl On The Train’ starring Parineeti Chopra. The duo, who reside in the UK, were a part of the film’s London shoot, which took place last year. caught up with the pair about their experience.

How was the experience working as choreographers for ‘The Girl On The Train’?
The experience was really pleasant and indeed very comprehensive. The entire team right from the director, assistant directors, DOP, technicians were extremely supportive in helping us achieve our vision through the song shoots. So it felt like one big loving team always which always helps people work 🙂

How did the opportunity come about?
We both were on a six-month sabbatical after working for over 21 years with a company when ‘The Girl on the Train’ came along. Our dear choreographer friend Vijay Ganguly (winner of Filmfare, IIFA, ZEE Cine awards) who is originally from India was a core crew member of the movie and insisted that we come along on the sets to divert our minds and utilise ourselves in something creative that we have been into for years.

The next thing we knew we were assisting Vijay for ‘Mahi Mera Ranjha’ & ‘Challa’ and in fact had the opportunity to even choreograph another dance piece filmed on Aditi Rao Haydari which was eventually edited out in the movie. So yes this opportunity totally came to us because of Vijay Ganguly who we owe all credit to.

The film is a highly intense thriller, so how did the choreography differ to your usual commercial numbers?
It does differ and as an audience member you may not appreciate what work goes in to choreographing different genres. As Director of Choreography we need to think of the concept, the camera angles, the location, the set up that suits a particular dance scene.

For example the song ‘Mahi Mera’ at the beginning of the film differs massively to usual commercial choreography. We were briefed to keep the moves and the choreography very subtle which is something I think viewers will realise.

The indoor shoots were fine, but for the song ‘Mahi Mera’ our task was made different due to the rainy weather.

Another song in the movie ‘Challa’ was what we call a situational song – we were able to differentiate between Parineeti’s frenzy behaviour while everyone else in the scene was happily partying around her.

Rohan & Shruti

What was the most challenging part of working in the film?
The British Weather!! The indoor shoots were fine, but for the song ‘Mahi Mera’ our task was made different due to the rainy weather. The wedding set was in a beautiful lakeside park but we took numerous breaks because of the rain and had to cover the cameras, props and the sets with sheets.

Each time the rain subsides we literally rushed to shoot the frame in time before the rain returned.

What’s your upcoming Bollywood projects?
We have choreographed a situational song for the upcoming movie ‘Shiddat’ directed by Kunal Deshmukh, starring Sunny Kaushal & Radhika Madan. We also have a couple of collab projects with Sony Music India coming up for film promotions and now that live events & entertainment sector seems to be getting back into the action, we have a couple of live shows in the pipeline. The details of which will be out soon!

Final words
We are grateful that the production team & the makers of ‘ The Girl on the Train” gave us the opportunities to display the British South-Asian talent in the UK. A lot of the technicians, make-up artists, costume co-ordinators, film cast, chorus dancers were all UK artists which is something you do not see on Bollywood films.

This opens a lot of avenues for the talent here to build on their profile for future projects that are filmed here in the UK. As the Artistic Directors of Bollywood Dance School UK and as choreographers we both believe in ‘Connecting Global Communities through Dance’. Our mission has been to create opportunities to aspiring dancers & actors from all backgrounds who wish to make it into Bollywood. Our dance school has always been our priority from day one & the satisfaction and fun we get from teaching Kids, Young Adults and Senior citizens beats everything else.