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In step with KISNA

The lithe Isha Sharvani, disciplined dancer, is the bright new face in Bollywood



Isha Sharvani: `I'm here to stay.' — Photo: Sandeep Saxena

MEENAKSHI, MADHURI, Manisha, Mahima and now Isha Sharvani. The last name stands out because it has not been changed. The young lady stands out because her wiry agility outshines her appealing innocence. And the package stands out because she is the Showman's latest discovery for Kisna. "It's all superstition. As far as I know Mahima had to change her original name because there was another Ritu around. I was also given the option because there are already two Ishas in the industry, but I refused because I already have an identity as a dancer," says Isha.

Very disciplined

Talking of identities, Isha is the daughter of renowned dancer Daksha Seth and is trained in Kathak, Chau, yoga, and gymnastics.

"I have lived a different life poles apart from the film industry. For 11 years I have been training eight to 10 hours a day in a very disciplined atmosphere where there is no distinction between boys and girls. I was not supposed to cry over a clipped nail. Beyond the stage, even my wardrobe has mostly unisex dresses, jeans and T-shirts." All this was happening on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram where Isha enjoyed her dance routines in the placid vistas of lagoons and coconut palms with no newspapers and cable TV. Then came the email from Mukta Arts that changed her life and brought her to the hustle and bustle of Bollywood where she has discovered her feminine side as well.

"I would be lying if I say I didn't like films. Right from the childhood I have been in touch with international cinema through festivals that come to Kerala; and whenever I got an opportunity I watched Hindi films as well." It was these opportunities that made her a fan of Vivek Oberoi.

"I watched both Company and Saathiya. When I was told he is going to be my co-star I was thrilled. All through the shooting I was treated as the sweet baby of the group. As for the changes in life, I am trying to strike a balance between the quietude of Kerala and the fast-paced glamorous life of Bollywood. Being a quiet person, it is difficult but so far I have seen the disciplined face of Bollywood, where you have to perform for hours non-stop, so no complaints."

No audition

Also what will thrill many is the faith Subhash Ghai has shown in a girl who has just stepped into hers 20s. "He didn't take my audition." Probably, because the man was primarily looking for one of the best dancers in the country to play the role of Kisna's wife-to-be role. Indeed, when it comes to dance Isha defies age and human limits in its defence and action.

"It would be wrong to call my dance form as fusion. Fusion happens when one action is from a classical form and the next is a contemporary one, something that happens in routine Bollywood stuff, which could be mastered in a four-week workshop. Here it's innovation where you have internalised all the dance forms. So you can't make out when I have switched from one to the other. My mother has developed it over last 30 years."

Parting step: "I am here to stay."

ANUJ KUMAR

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