By Asif Khan
Abdul Ghani rose to fame as one of the most sought-after choreographers for whom dancing has always been a major passion. Besides having plenty of distinguished work to his credit, Ghani takes every new project with the same dedication and energy as if it’s his first project. His knack and ability to connect all age-groups speaks volumes on the maturity of his craft. In a no-holds-barred and candid tete-e-tete with Social Diary, he attributes his success to the technical strength of his art and the dare he inculcates to experiment and improvise new things confidently. Read on to know more:
SD: What does the word “Dance” really mean to you?
Abdul: There are only a few shortcuts to happiness and dance is one of them. For me it’s life. It says everything when the words fail. I would like to quote here what famous Brazilian lyricist Paulo Coelho once said; when you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.
SD: When did you develop interest in dancing and what was the motivation behind?
Abdul: Once I was at a mehndi function at a wedding where I came across a few dance groups and their performances really inspired me. From that point I got to know how I am supposed to go about it. I joined a group who was working and performing with Indus TV. There was just no looking back from thereon.
SD: Please share your initial journey?
Abdul: My family was very much against dance and my mother was the extreme opponent. But I was quite young when I started showing my skills and latent passion for it, so eventually they all had to surrender and I was allowed to take it as a hobby. I got myself educated from NAPA (2015-2018) and then joined theater as an actor and then choreographer.
SD: How did you make it to showbiz and what was your first major break?
Abdul: I became a member of Sonu Dangerous Group who used to work with different channels. I started my career professionally when I choreographed ARY’s dance reality show “Nachlay” which helped me establish solid footings.
SD: How has your experience of working for Pakistani movies?
Abdul: It was great as the teams I worked with were supremely talented. I worked for “Bin Roye Ansoo”, “Karachi se Lahore”, “Parvaiz Hai Junoon”, whereas in “Dance Kahani” I was also the lead actor in a negative role. I also hold the privilege of assisting Indian Choreographer Shabina Khan who came for Humayoun Saeed’s movie “Jawani Phir nahi Aani”.
SD: How has your affiliation been going with KCA?
Abdul: I’m a part of the visiting faculty of Karachi Arts Council where I am teaching dance as part of a syllabus for students learning theater. It always feels great to impart your knowledge to youngsters as you help them to discover their latent skills.
SD: Who are some of the celebrities you have worked with?
Abdul: I have choreographed all the top stars of Pakistan including Froze khan , Mehwish Hayat, Fahad Mustafa, Hania Amir, Ahsan Khan, Humayun Saeed, Ali Zafar, among others.
SD: Your childhood inspiration and someone you admire the most internationally in dancing?
Abdul: Michael Jackson and Prabhu Deva
SD: What forms of dancing are you comfortable with?
Abdul: To be a good choreographer it’s important to be aware of all forms, be it Salsa or Jazz, Hip Hop, Bhangra, Mewa, Contemporary or Classical. In music the trend has changed as it’s being watched and listened to at the same time through music videos. Moreover there is a great focus on fusion music so making choreography apt to the tunes, I make sure that I know all forms of dancing.
SD: Who are the people you dedicate your success to?
Abdul: Sunny Khan Lodhi, Sonu Dangerous Group , Shezi Khan, Hassan Danish and Nida Butt.
SD: How have things changed in the industry in terms of work aesthetics?
Abdul: Things are fast changing and now I see a great realization towards professional dancing. Actors have started taking it seriously and even general people are coming to this field after taking a proper degree or course. Whereas there has been a definitive surge in family support also.
SD: How has the theater experience been for you?
Abdul: I stepped into theater and musicals in 2007 with a play Chicago starring Sanam Saeed, Zoie, Ainey Jaffery and Nida Butt. It turned out to be a massive hit striking the right chords with the audience. My second play was with an Australian director Joshinder. I did these two plays as a performer. Then I co-choreographed Greece with Nida Butt having Ahmed Ali Akbar, Sanam Saeed and Ayesha Umer in the cast and music by Hamza Jaffery. Love Letter to Karachi and Shah Shabreel’s “Twins Apart ” where I acted and choreographed at the same time. I have also acted in TV serials like Hum Tum, Bunty I love you and Pehchan.
SD: Do you think dancing can definitely be the remedy to losing weight and getting in shape?
Abdul: Yes dancing has all that to get you into the groove as well as into shape. Zumba offers the best way to sweat out through dancing and music.
SD: Why do our productions fail to draw that much attention? What are your suggestions to improve the standard?
Abdul: It’s because we don’t intend to come out of those stereotypical formulas that we had once given us high dividends and now we treat those as if it’s a constitution. However it doesn’t work that way. We would have to set aside the compromises by investing into new ideas, new infrastructure and replacing the conventional mindset with a professional and pragmatic approach to set new benchmarks. We need to improve our film department by hiring people who are taking proper education in media sciences. New talent would bring fresh ideas which would eventually break the monopoly of those few who want to keep the reins in their hands.
SD: How do you agree to accept a project?
Abdul: The credibility of the production house, the team, the artists and the budget. That is what matters.
SD: Which have been your favorite projects and please give insights on your upcoming ones?
Abdul: Hum style Award has been my favourite project as it gave me the opportunity to rediscover myself and show the world how far I can reach artistically. Apart from Lux Style Awards I have worked for all the awards shows of Hum Television. And they drew phenomenal success.
SD: How much improvisation contributes to your work?
Abdul: Improvisation brings new shades to your art. Many times I have to change things due to sudden changes in scene or according to the beat or even background and this all becomes possible when you love your work.
SD: What is the future of dancing in Pakistan and the artists who are a part of it?
Abdul: Dance in the world is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s not restricted to television, film, and stage only. Apparently the situation for dance is not that promising but looking at the current budget, the Government has finally given media the status of an industry and it would certainly give media a new lease on life and that would lead to things changing rationally.