“I faced adversity because I danced better than some leading stars.”

In 1985, a long haired, long limbed, agile dancer/actor won our hearts with a dance number in Meri Jung . The peppy Bol Baby Bol became Javed Jaffrey’s identity despite the negative role he debuted with. Manju Ramanan speaks to the artiste and anchor.

Did you learn dancing at all?

Not really. I was into free style but met some talented people like Karla Singh and Sunita Struck from whom I learnt the style. I watched a whole lot of jazz videos on VHS format. Also, I was brought up in Bandra in a Christian neighbourhood and grew up on Boney M, Abba, Saturday Night fever etc. My best friend Peter Fernandes and I jammed at the Bandra fair in 1977, I did theatre and sang too. I was the only non-Catholic, that too a Muslim in that space. My surroundings shaped me.

You never used your star son advantage?

No, I didn’t. Also, dad (actor and comedian Jagdeep) never pushed us. He let me be myself.  Around 1980-81, Tarachand Barjatya came home and dad who knew that I loved dancing asked me to show him some moves. When I did, he was very impressed. He had never seen anything like that before and recommended that I do a photo shoot. Apart from films, several things happened. I did several TV commercials. The Cinkara one where I break a glass window is most memorable. It was a wax glass. The Gold Spot – the Zing Thing and then the Maggi Tomato Chilli ads. I wrote the ‘Mona Darling’ lines. Those were fun times- Prabhlad Kakkar, Channel D – all were pioneers of informality.

You have been part of some really memorable cinema with interesting roles?

I always wanted to do good stuff starting from Meri Jung. I loved chatting so I hosted casual shows. Boogie Woogie has been my best work from 1994 to 2000.  Boom was an unusual film and much ahead of its times. Shaurya, Fire, On Darling, Yeh Hai India, Jajantram Mamantru, Salaam Namaste, Singh is King, Dhamaal etc. Each role is memorable. I drew inspiration from Mr Feroz Khan in my Salaam Namaste role and mixed it up with the other characters I had seen and the character was born. (Smiles)

Did you face adversity since you danced better than most leading actors around your time?

Yes, I did. I was good at action too since I was agile. In Hindi cinema the hero cannot be overshadowed and there have been times where I would feel frustrated playing a parallel role because action was restricted. So was dance. But I am a balanced person and connect to myself through prayer. It never bothered me. I didn’t despair or seek refuge or escape in alcohol, women and drugs. But yes, some people are threatened by excellence.

Will your children follow your footsteps?

My son Mezaan Jaffrey who has studied Visual Art from NYU has been an AD in Padmavaat and an has made his debut. My daughter went to Parsons and wants to be in the business of fashion. She is big on social media. My youngest son is into music.


Javed Jaffrey’s take on Bollywood’s best dancers


Shammi Kapoor: What effortless style and rhythm. Shammi ji had rhythm in his veins!

Mithun Chakraborty: He has such a distinct style. The Disco years were his!

Prabhu Deva:  Apart from his perfect craft, he infuses humour to his dance!

Govinda: The king of swag. Effortless. He can make you dance with him!

Hrithik Roshan: Smooth and classy.

Tiger Shroff:  He has his moves right.

Vyjayantimala: To me she exuded all that was ‘cool’ about dance.

Madhuri Dixit: Grace personified. She loves dancing and it shows.

Shilpa Shetty: She has an X factor to her dance.







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