I don't let anyone on my team rest until we put on a fantastic show: Hormuzd Khambata
by Swati Singh Entertainment | September 21, 2022 | Interview
Hormuzd Khambata Hormuzd Khambata Dance Company Indian choreographer
In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Hormuzd Khambata, an Indian choreographer and Founder of Hormuzd Khambata Dance Company, share insights on his eventful journey and challenges, making the business into a success story, and more.
Tell us about your dance company.
When I was in college, I founded my dance company in 2002. I'm not sure what got into me, but one day I ran mid-college to one of my high school friends who was attending another college; I didn't ask, but I told him that you would be the first member of my Dance Company. Hormuzd Khambata Dance Company was born in this manner. From that day forward, I've seen several batches come and go. In 2002, I was the youngest member of my own Dance Company; by 2005, we were all the same age, and today, after so many years, I am once again the youngest member in my dance company in terms of attitude and energy (laughs). Overall, it's a group of extremely talented and glamorous people coming together to create something spectacular.
My polished jewels and dancers work in a fun yet intense environment. As many good and bad experiences are shared to ensure that every show is a huge success in every way. While I am at work, my rehearsal space becomes a temple to me. I make certain that everyone works hard and has a good time. I must admit that the Parsi in me only lightly brushes against them.
How would you define your journey?
Everyone has their own path to take. In some ways, mine turned out to be filmi. It was simple for me: no guts, no glory. I've seen and done it all, from being kicked out of my parent's home to staying at Marine Lines and Charni Road railway stations in South Mumbai for days on end, to shifting to a Gymkhana just to sleep, to being given free bhelpuri by a bhelpuri vendor as one of my many dinners. I had no idea it would be so tumultuous in the beginning just to persuade someone that I can choreograph at the highest level. Today, by God's grace, I've made a name for myself that people swear by when it comes to stage and events.
What inspired you to get into the dance industry and pursue it as a profession?
It all started with my early stint with Parsi Theatre, which my parents encouraged me to do since I was six years old. My school stage served as a kind of playground for me. I experimented with various forms of entertainment. My favourite activities were acting and theatre and dance was my least favourite at the time. I began to contribute ideas for plays, and dance became an important part of everything I did.
When a teacher asked if I wanted to compete in a dance competition, I said yes. I had no idea I'd been chosen to play Dev Anand from the song Hoto pe aisi baat; I was just asked to run with a fun swag in the lines 'O shalooo.' My friends in the audience had a great time at my expense. This irritated me, and the next time I asked my school principal for permission to choreograph a dance so I could dance like a Mithun or a Prabhu Deva (laughs). I got the permission, and that's where the foundation was laid.
Another turning point was a college show where a very famous fashion choreographer asked me to do a filler between two of his fashion shows. Thank God this occurred. The next day, instead of the designers, clothes, and models, I was featured in an article titled 'Hormuzd Khambata, a dancer/performer India should keep an eye on.' I decided to become a professional dancer/choreographer after reading this article.
Describe the two performances you are proud of and why?
Most people in show business are aware of my enthusiasm and obsession with my work, but those who understand what I stand for are the ones to whom I bow my head in profound gratitude. If you told me a month ago that I'd be working with and for SS Rajamouli Sir, I'd think it was the biggest joke ever played on me. Sidharth Sinha of Showboat made this seemingly impossible dream a reality, and I hope I did them proud. Working alongside the master SS Rajamouli for his Magnum opus RRR's launch show was a jaw-dropping experience with me trying to control my excitement. Getting and convincing SS Rajamouli to work with me is a source of immense pride for me. Executing the acts is an entirely different landmark of an event.
Another stint I am very proud of is my HKDC+ team which shows at the Cordelia Cruises thanks to STJ entertainment. Every show onboard receives a standing ovation from a different audience. These shows have been seen by over 100,000 people and are still going strong. This experience for the audience, I can confidently say, is out of this world. When performing for these shows, I truly believe that Hormuzd Khambata Dance Company represents India on a global scale.
What are the most important traits a good Choreographer should have, especially for stage and events?
Everyone operates differently. But I believe my greatest assets are as follows. My team - without whom I would be unable to execute even a minuscule event. Then there are my concepts and thematic acts. Making certain that the client's needs for his product or cause are highlighted when necessary while remaining completely entertaining. I also don't believe in going into choreography with a preconceived notion; instead, I believe in letting myself flow with energy, exuberance, and passion. I make certain that it brushes against my team while I am in the act. Most importantly, a choreographer must be a self-aware individual outside of his work; this is something that many people overlook. He must be earthy and genuine. Making certain that the client, the agency, and his team are all well taken care of. I also believe I am a producer's man. It comes naturally to me to complete work in whatever capacity is available while maintaining world-class quality. Yes, one can request the sky, but try to function if only the clouds are provided. The show must still be your best effort, period.
What skills do you specialise in, which make you unique in what you do? What is your USP?
I can humbly say that I am good at creating spectacular experiences. The key is to have strong concepts on paper and to execute at least 95% of what you envisioned. If my luck holds, I may be able to restore 100% of my vision. For me, a dance act is a multidisciplinary work. Jazz and Bollywood dance styles serve as my foundation. Creating wow moments one after the other is something I emphasise. I always ask for a good technical rehearsal because I believe that half of the show is created in the rehearsal hall and the other half is created in the hour allotted for a technical rehearsal.
Night or day, rain or shine, tired or not, I don't let anyone on my team rest until we put on a fantastic show. For me, work comes first, and my craziness sometimes drives my team insane, but it is someone's special day. People have believed in you whether it's a corporate event, a wedding, or a TV show. I cannot, under any circumstances, let them down. My unique selling point is my passionate approach to everything I do. At heart, I am that crazy but honest Parsi bawaji. I am confident that everyone who has worked with me will agree.
Tell us about the biggest challenge you've faced as a dancer/choreographer in your career.
It is now easier for me to persuade any reputable client, an agency, or another well-known artist. Previously, however, it was extremely difficult. The most difficult challenge, in my opinion, is explaining your vision to someone else. God willing, I'll be successful because I'm always prepared with options. Let's say you give three options for one performance and leave the client speechless because they are unsure what to choose because all of them are now good. That's when you'll know you've arrived. It is the most difficult art to master, but it is possible.
Merging client brief with creative liberties - How difficult is it to balance both?
Many clients understand that you have their best interests in mind when putting on a show. Entertainment is the key to a successful show. The audience must applaud loudly at the end of an act, be on the edge of their seats during the act, and, if God is on your side that day, there may be an encore call from the audience. As the saying goes, fortune favours the brave, so just go for it and explain your thoughts on an act, and rest assured that if done with honesty, conviction, and passion, you will come out on top.
As I previously stated, "No Guts, No Glory, No Legend, No Story." Fortune favours the brave; go for it with all your might, and the rest will fall into place.
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In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Hormuzd Khambata, an Indian choreographer and Founder of Hormuzd Khambata Dance Company, share insights on his eventful journey and challenges.