If you’ve been exposed to Bollywood at all, then you know that the movies love to incorporate multiple song-and-dance routines. Some of the routines are filler only. Some of the routines serve to efficiently advance the plot. And some of the routines will always be infinitely more memorable than the feature film itself. “Ek Do Teen” from Tezaab is a perfect example of a song-dance routine that shines far brighter than the film in its entirety.
Released in 1988 with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Tezaab’s “violent love story” introduced Bollywood audiences at large to Madhuri Dixit. As her first mainstream hit, Tezaab was a major milestone in Madhuri’s career.
Few people would argue against Madhuri’s standing in Bollywood as one of the industry’s all-time best actresses and dancers. Let’s take a closer look at the song that gave the world a preview of the actress who would quickly become known as Bollywood’s “Dhak Dhak Girl.”
In “Ek Do Teen” Madhuri’s character Mohini dances her heart out for seven+ minutes all while counting down the days before she is reunited with her beloved, courtesy of catchy lyrics that were allegedly inspired entirely from a foundation of dummy lyrics. After reportedly rehearsing for 16 days and then shooting the song for seven days, Madhuri Dixit and Saroj Khan created a blockbuster dance sequence that continues to hold its place in Bollywood history. No song-dance routine can be considered exemplary without mesmerizing choreography and memorable vocals, and this number is no exception.
Choreographer Saroj Khan won the first ever Filmfare Award for Best Choreography, and Alka Yagnik won her first Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for “Ek Do Teen.” On top of everything else, it looks like this song had a Midas touch quality to it as well. To this day, Saroj Khan has the record for most Filmfare choreography awards, while Alka Yagnik is tied with Asha Bhosle for the record of most Filmfare female playback singer awards.
Upcoming movie Gulaab Gang, set to release in India in March, will be reuniting this dancer-choreographer pair after over a decade in the number “Dheemi Dheemi.” Feel like being more than just a spectator? Take a tour of Madhuri’s online dance academy to learn a few moves for yourself!
Farah Naz Khan is an internal medicine resident at Emory University. After graduating from college in Boston, she returned to her Alabama hometown to attend medical school, and was reunited with the mix of Southern hospitality and South Asian flair that had shaped her childhood. Follow her on Twitter @farah287 or read some of her thoughts at farah287.blogspot.com.