Dancing queen

Dancing queen

Sarvana’s Meghna Naidu reveals her students may have the chance to make it in the movies as she talks to City Times about her new dance academies opening in Dubai

By David Light

Published: Mon 18 Jun 2012, 9:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:41 PM

So you think you can dance? This is the question Bollywood and Tollywood actress and premier hip-shaker Meghna Naidu is posing to aspiring performers in Dubai as she brings her own brand of effervescence and eye-catching moves to the city.

Shooting to instant fame after appearing in the cult hit music video Kaliyon ka Chaman a decade ago, the beautiful Vijayawada-born artiste went on to collaborate with leading southern Indian film industry names including Silambarasan Rajendar in the Tamil film Saravana, Dhanush in Kutty and popular Bollywood choreographers such as Ganesh Hegde, Saroj Khan and Caesar Bosco.

Meghna has also been a part of several high profile reality shows, appearing in Dancing Queen on Colors TV, Fear Factor- Khatron Ke Khiladi and will soon be seen as a guest judge on popular dance show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.

These days, however, the sultry star calls Dubai home as she focuses her attention on opening the first of two dance academies in the emirate. Called The Meghna Naidu Dance Academy, two locations are planned for the institutions – one in Karama, opening in July, the other in new Dubai to launch in September– with Meghna herself taking classes for students of any age.

“It would be really unfair to call it The Meghna Naidu Dance Academy if I were not going to be there the whole time,” Meghna told us when we met up with her at Mall of the Emirates last week.

“I will be leading groups and I will have teachers coming from Mumbai to help. These are people that have worked with me for over four years, so we are all on the same page.”

Aimed at anyone who wishes to learn how to dance, Meghna intoned that there is no barrier to entry – whether it be lack of experience, age or unfamiliarity with Bollywood music.

“I want to give something back to a community I have been coming to for shows and have regarded as a second home for years. People here, both Indian expats and international residents are open to all cultural influences. It’s a multi-national society that makes it perfect for a school like this. Everyone has an awareness of Bollywood, which means there is no limit on where you come from. Our music is universal so we look forward to welcoming those from all over the world.

“We are targeting boys, girls, youngsters from the age of four, stay at home mums or men who work all day and want to have fun dancing in the evening. There will obviously be a majority of children because they have the most time and parents wish to provide them with skills and activities. The younger you start the better. But we will be able to accommodate anyone who wishes to take part.”

Both mixed and women-only classes will be available once everything is up and running.

Meghna stated she looks forward to seeing the young kids blossom, the teenagers become professionals and the adults get fit. Asked if it were possible, if a particular student’s talents caught her eye, that she could put in a good word for them back in India, Meghna’s response was incredibly positive.

“Personally I know a lot of choreographers that I have worked with over my time in the business. I would say I have worked with the top 20 over the last decade and they know that I am starting my dance academy. I will be able to recommend the kids if they are good enough and hopefully put them forward for dance shows and from there, who knows?”

Either way, Meghna explained, every dance academy student who wishes to will get a chance to perform during a class show at the end of each semester with a possible view to putting on a large annual extravaganza once both schools are firmly established.

Talking about the prospect of discovering raw talent prompted Meghna to recollect her first steps into show business. During which she imparted this advice to budding film stars.

“I started my career very late. In the ten years I have been doing it I have seen four-year-olds and six-year-olds performing like they have been doing it forever. I would always tell them to focus on their education because that is so important. It has to be a balance of both. If you have the natural talent, though, you have to follow your dreams. I could not have done anything else. It’s my passion.”

But does being the founder of these academies mean we won’t get to see Meghna do her thing on camera anymore? Don’t count on it.

“I have been doing a lot of work in the southern film industry and I will be continuing that,” she concluded. “I won’t be giving up. It is where I come from and what I love. As well as my new love of teaching I still love to put on shows and appear in films.”


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