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This Desi Rendition of ‘Dirty Dancing’ is a Must-Watch for Every Bollywood Aficionado

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by Ashni Mehta

DD: The Shaadi aims to adapt one of Hollywood’s favorite movies into a desi-inspired short film. With dance being such an integral part of Bollywood culture, I could not think of anything more perfect. Premiering in New York City on September 23, DD: The Shaadi is an exciting short film that builds a bridge between American and Indian culture.

Here’s a sneak-peek:

Badass co-directors Shivani Badgi and Raashi Desai talk about their experience creating this production.

1. Dirty Dancing is one of Hollywood’s most popular classics, especially when it comes to dancing. What about the movie inspired you, and how do you aim to make that come alive for your audience?

We love how the original Dirty Dancing is first a film with a heartfelt storyline and lovable characters.The dancing in the movie has such a big element of “fun” in it. Even where they are doing more difficult partner work or lifts, you can still see how much they are enjoying the music and performing so effortlessly. For us, we wanted to create that same environment where even after we created this unique dance world for them that would combine Indian elements of dancing with Western, it would still feel extremely flawless and the actors could still enjoy performing them.

2. Having two female South Asian co-directors is pretty rare! What advice can you give our readers looking to explore their creative side and pursue nontraditional careers?

Do it, do it, do it! Both of us left everything and followed our passion and it is extremely rewarding. Be prepared for a life of a lot of hard work, working extremely late hours with no sleep, and sometimes being the only people who are working through the week 24/7. When you voluntarily drive an hour to and from NYC for rehearsal every night, getting home and sleeping at 2 or 3 am, all with a smile on your face, you know you are where you’re meant to be. This journey was tiring but it’s all I want to do. When you find something like that, something you just want to do over all else, there’s always a way to make it your life. Explore it, try it, work at it, because you never know where that can lead you!

3. Tell us a little more about your amazing cast and crew. Who are they and how did you cast them?

Our amazing cast went through a series of two auditions. We had them do acting, dancing, and chemistry tests, so we could find the people that would be perfect for the roles. We have Sharayu Mahale as Sana (Baby), Nikhil Saboo as Roy (Johnny), Pia Sawhney as Vani (Penny), Rohit Thakre as Ishaan (Billy), Chinmay Tavargeri Kumarji (Kellerman), Suchi Gulati as Raina (Lisa), Kalpana Mehta as Mrs. Soman (Mom), and Sudhir Kulkarni as Dr. Soman (Dad). We went through about a month of intense rehearsals everyday so everyone could really get into their characters. Our entire cast was so amazing during filming and really made our vision for the film come true.

These cast members really came from everywhere. Some were friends who had shown interest, some were family friends, and some were complete strangers who stole our hearts. We’re so pleased to say that we have truly become a close group of friends who look for excuses to hang out post the production of the movie. Having a team that craves to spend time together has made this process so fun and we feel that it translates to the screen!

4. What was your favorite part of filming this short film?

From the time we through of this idea sitting in the car in Princeton to now, the premiere, it has been such a whirlwind. Because we were always on some what of a time crunch, we were really immersed in the entire movie, in rehearsals, in all the planning, which was an amazing feeling. We kind of felt like we were in the Shaadi ourselves for a few months and that is something we are really going to miss.

We loved the moments during rehearsals where both of us directors would sit and try to iron out some kinks in the script and from the corner we could see the cast goofing off and having a great time. Seeing them enjoy their time together really warmed our hearts and it felt like we had created something really special.

5. We’re all obviously very excited about the film’s upcoming premiere. For those who can’t make it, where else can Dirty Dancing: The Shaadi be viewed?

After our New York Premiere this Saturday, we are planning to have a couple more premieres to really put our production company and film out there. We want everyone to be able to experience the magic of the Shaadi! After that, we will be releasing it to the public, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the updates!

Support the arts in the South Asian community by sponsoring DD: The Shaadi on their GoFundMe page.

For a behind the scenes look at what went down, watch here:

Ashni is a Social Media Manager, Digital Strategist and Lifestyle Blogger living in the Big Apple. Currently, she develops and executes digital strategy for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, which is a political and legal non-profit advocating for democracy and equal justice for all. She is also a professional Bollywood dancer who has performed at venues across the country such as Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Global Citizen Festival and more. When she’s not navigating the Twitterverse or dancing through life in classic Bollywood fashion, you can find her eating, laughing and shopping her way across New York City or better yet, traveling the world! You can follow her adventures on her blog, as well as Instagram and Twitter.

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