Bollywood: Elli AvrRam calls Aamir Khan 'grounded, humble'
The actress praises the Bollywood superstar for letting her voice her opinions and treating her as an equal as they matched steps for 'Har Funn Maula', which has crossed 40 million views on YouTube
Bollywood actress and former Bigg Boss contestant Elli AvrRam is currently making heads turn, matching moves with none other than superstar Aamir Khan in Har Funn Maula, a song from the upcoming film Koi Jaane Na.
Even though the Laal Singh Chaddha star recently announced he was leaving social media, the news doesn’t appear to have dampened enthusiasm for his work, with fans going gaga over the video for Har Funn Maula which has already racked up over 40 million views on YouTube.
Elli who made her Bollywood debut with Mickey Virus back in 2013 had earlier received compliments from Aamir for her work in the track Fidaai. She says she feels “extremely blessed” to have been part of Har Funn Maula.
In a Zoom conversation with City Times, the gorgeous Swedish-Greek actress, who spent some time in Dubai last year for a shoot and is full of praise for the city, spoke about her passion for dancing and why working with Aamir in Har Funn Maula was “truly a strong and beautiful validation for working so hard all these years in Bollywood.”
The number of views is spectacular — 40 million and counting — and fans are loving your chemistry with Aamir. How do you feel about being part of Har Funn Maula?
I feel extremely blessed and just great! There is a lot of gratitude and love. I got this song a year back, then Covid happened. And I was like, ‘I really hope this song is going to happen, let’s see when…’ We finally shot it, with God’s grace, and it is an experience which has left me with so many beautiful memories. The way it’s come out, the kind of response it has got, it’s just pure love, for sure!
While there’s a lot of buzz because you danced with Aamir Khan, the audience is loving your looks and moves in the song as well. What was it like matching steps with the superstar?
Simply beautiful. He’s such a wonderful person. I remember when I moved to Mumbai, people were always talking about what a perfectionist he is, how humble and amazing he is. Then I met him and it was just so right — all the things I heard about him are true!
He is this huge superstar but he is such a beautiful human being. He’s so grounded, he’s so humble, he’s so real. That’s what I love about him, as well as how supportive he was and open to hearing your thoughts and your opinions. That is something one really takes notice of and where you feel great because you feel like ‘I am also being respected as a human being’, because we’re doing this together, we all are like a big team. So I really love that about him, how he allows everyone to express their thoughts, and is willing to give their ideas a try. That’s just how it should be, I feel, and it was so beautiful to get that experience with him. Because of all this, I want to work with him again even more.
Everyone would love to go to a work place feeling good and knowing that you’re also being seen and are part of the team. Especially as an artist, because if you’re not allowed to express then you feel choked.
That’s an important point because Aamir Khan has been a popular star for over three decades and everyone looks at Har Funn Maula thinking ‘oh, Aamir khan is in it’. But if you feel you got equal footing and he gave you that kind of platform and respect, it’s great.
That’s why I feel so extremely blessed. Especially coming from Aamir who is such a perfectionist and you can see from his work that he really knows what he is doing. You can see the finesse that he has. Getting to dance with him and having him appreciating my art is a huge compliment. I would say it’s truly a strong and beautiful validation for working so hard all these years in Bollywood.
Aamir is known to be a perfectionist no matter what project he takes on. Did he want a lot of takes or was it all smooth-sailing at the shoot?
We both rehearsed so well and he learned everything during the rehearsals so when we went for the take it was not a matter of ‘oh step nahin aa raha hai’. We both knew our steps completely. He catches the beats, the feeling… which has to be right more than the moves being right. The mood, expression, the swag — that has to be bang on. Which he does really well.
And also, he is so strong! He knows how to hold you correctly and his grip is really good so you feel so comfortable, when there was a lift, or I had to fall down or get up or be turned.
It might look as if that is not a big deal but it is really important. The difference is that when you’re not strong enough or if you don’t know how to hold properly, the girl is going to feel suddenly scared, and her body automatically will not trust the person.
You received a lot of praise (including compliments from Aamir) for your choreography in the music video for Rahul Jain’s recent track Fidaai as well. What does dancing mean to you?
Ever since I was in my mother’s belly, I have been dancing! My mother was also an actress, she was doing a play of Scheherazade which involved dancing and she did that play till she was in her seventh month. For seven months I was actually in my mother’s belly, moving! So it’s definitely something that’s always been there in me. Having said that, I was also a figure skater, and again, that’s all about expressing, dancing on ice, performing. And with that figure skating training came ballet classes, modern dance.
In Fidaai after so many years of dancing a lot of ‘Bollywood’ I stepped into the zone of doing the type of dance forms which I used to do years back as a teenager. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time because I know what I am capable of! I know that I can do more than what has been seen.
I’m so happy that Saurabh Prajapati, a young director-choreographer, saw me two years back on an award show and immediately understood that ‘wow, I want to work with this girl because I know what I can pull out from her’. It was so much fun for me to do something which is so difficult but which I also have so much passion for because it was very similar to my figure skating days.
I loved it because when I actually dance without being told what to do, that’s when I truly feel that I align with the divine. It’s so deep and it’s like going into a trance. I listen to the music and it’s literally just my soul moving. I’m not thinking, I have no idea what I am doing. I’m just feeling the music and the music is making me move. Dance and music are very close to me. They are my true spirit, I would say.
You are known to be fond of travel and have been showcasing interesting pictures of your trips — including Goa, Maldives and Dubai — on Instagram. Last year you were in Dubai for a shoot; what are your thoughts on the city?
I love to travel! I want to explore the entire world, different cultures and learn so much! The first time I visited Dubai was to shoot a song with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. I had always wanted to go to Dubai after hearing about this amazing city, and when I came there it’s like literally everything is perfect.
I really like Dubai. It’s sweet in its own way, it has its own charm for sure. I am a lover of nature and I Iove the desert and the sand dunes! Dubai has so many cool sports activities which I was eager to do. I went go-karting for the first time last year, which was so much fun and gave me such a kick. However, I think one of my favourite activities was horse-riding in the desert on my last visit. I used to do it when I was younger and I really loved that after so many years I did it again. It was a beautiful experience. Every time I am connected to nature that’s when things become very special to me.
I love the food in Dubai as well — everything just tastes delicious! And it’s definitely fun to go shopping!
One more thing that I want to add on which a lot of people didn’t know, is that I have so many close friends who are Arab — one of my closest friends as a teenager is Kuwaiti. I have always had this craze for Arabic music — (there was a time when) my entire playlist consisted of only Arabic songs! I would just sing them and dance to them, and my friends were like ‘you are so cute Elli, you sing all these songs, you learn the pronunciation and everything correctly but you have no idea what they mean’!
I love Arabic music which is full of life and emotions also because it’s a little bit close to Greek music. I am half-Greek. It has the same kind of vibe.
When I landed in Dubai, I would always tell my driver ‘can you please put on an Arabic channel on the radio’. I think the Arabic language is also so attractive — it’s actually one of my dreams to learn at least one Arabic dialect.
What can fans expect from you in the future?
I am currently shooting for a new film. It’s a very sweet story. I can’t speak more about it because a proper announcement hasn’t been made yet. I believe I will do that once I’ve completed the shoot. But it’s something I am extremely looking forward to as an actor and seeing what my fans will think because it is something I am doing for the first time; I have been working very hard to get everything right. Let’s see how that goes.