Varun Dhawan’s character in ABCD2 is one of three dancers from a Mumbai suburb who go to Las Vegas to take part in a dance competition. Courtesy Disney
Varun Dhawan’s character in ABCD2 is one of three dancers from a Mumbai suburb who go to Las Vegas to take part in a dance competition. Courtesy Disney

Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor on playing diehard hip-hop dancers in ABCD2

Remo D'Souza's ABCD2, the sequel to his 2013 musical ABCD: Any Body Can Dance, is based on the real-life story of three dancers from a Mumbai suburb who won the World Hip Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas.

The film features the return of two of the biggest names in Bollywood dance: choreographer-­turned-director D’Souza and choreographer and actor Prabhu Deva, who also stars in the film alongside Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor.

Dhawan and Kapoor – who dances on screen for the first time – talk about the hard work and fun that went into making the musical.

What was it like filming in Vegas?

Dhawan: Las Vegas was a blast. We play these guys who go from a small suburb in Mumbai to Las Vegas and get a huge culture shock. We didn't have to act very hard because that actually happened to us. It's going to be incredibly enjoyable for the audience to see Las Vegas through our eyes.

Kapoor: We are very fortunate to have gotten a chance to be featured in the franchise of an iconic film such as ABCD. We are even more fortunate that Remo wanted to make two actors dance. And then to top it all, to play two real-life characters – and then to shoot in Las Vegas? This was nothing less than fantastic.

Did you find it intimidating to work with Prabhu Deva?

Kapoor: When you idolise someone and get to see them perform live for the first time, it's so surreal. I still pinch myself when I think that I got to do a film with him. Varun is luckier, because he even got to dance with him.

Shraddha, what was it like dancing for the first time in a film?

Remo has created a thought process known as ABCD, which means Any Body Can Dance. For me, as I was dancing on screen for the first time, there was no better way to learn than through this philosophy and through this film. I hope that when people watch the film, they feel that I was able to do justice to my character who is a dancer. If they do, then all my hard work has paid off.

Varun, you have a very unique dance sequence in the film, with aerial silks. Tell us about that.

I went through lots of training, and even had to lose weight, for that sequence. It's the first time I've done contemporary dancing and that, too, with aerial silk. Punit from Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa choreographed that sequence with Remo. I rehearsed very hard for this sequence, which depicts a lot of pain and anguish.

There is a line in the trailer that goes: “Dance to express, not to impress”. How much does that apply to you two?

Kapoor: In this film, we truly dance to express and not to impress. It's a very important philosophy throughout the film. It backs all the characters and their journeys.

Dhawan: Before I did this film, I danced only to impress. I felt that to be part of the Hindi film industry, I have to dance. But since doing this film, I realise that there is so much purity and spirituality in dance. Here, we have learnt from real dancers, and when we trained with these guys, we realised that every single movement has a meaning and a purpose behind it. It's almost like an artist creating a painting.

Kapoor: These dancers are the real stars of the film.

What was the most exciting part of this film for you?

Kapoor: This is a dance film where I got to explore 18 to 20 styles of dancing and that was extremely exciting for me.

Dhawan: In the Indian film industry, we don't really get the chance to dance in new and unique styles. So exploring the many styles of dancing was most exciting. Whether the film is good or bad is something the audience will decide, but I can personally guarantee this: you can take any good dance film or dance troupe and the dancing in ABCD2 is right up there.

ABCD2 opens in cinemas on Thursday, June 18

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