May Issue 2012

By | Arts & Culture | Published 7 years ago

Hasan Rizvi has just one-upped himself. He first introduced Karachiites to Bodybeat, a dance studio offering classes on everything from hip-hop to bhangra, and after seeing its success grow over the years, he has now launched his very own dance video, ‘Naach.’

Made in collaboration with Pantene, the video was launched on April 10 at, surprisingly, a house in DHA. However, the décor and celebrities in attendance, ranging from the famous Ayesha Omar to the infamous Maya Khan, made up for the location. Javed Sheikh’s daughter Momal Sheikh covered the red carpet (which was more of a cul-de-sac), and acclaimed dancer, actress and filmmaker Arjumand Rahim hosted the show.

The show itself began an hour late and Sheema Kermani and Javed Sheikh were given honorary awards for their contribution to dance and the arts. In her acceptance speech Kermani spoke of the struggles of dancing in a country where the morality police is always waiting to crack down, and Javed Sheikh was reduced to tears as he accepted his award from his long-time colleague Bushra Ansari and his daughter Momal.

There were musical performances by Ifti, the mastermind behind the song ‘Naach,’ and Hasan Rizvi’s sister, who is none other than the renowned Komal Rizvi. Ifti sang live very well but it was only when Komal stepped on stage that the show really took off. A born performer, she commanded the stage as she sang everything from Abida Parveen to Jewel numbers.

By the time Hasan Rizvi came on stage to introduce his dance video, the anticipation had already been built up for a long time. Unfortunately, the video didn’t quite live up to expectations. Ifti’s song, which Hasan Rizvi settled on after a two-year search, was catchy but the choreography itself lacked the ‘wow’ factor. Granted there were some impressive back flips thrown in, the steps and formations were not exactly memorable.

However, before the video began, Rizvi had prefaced that it might have its critics but they should all remember that this video is a stepping-stone — not the final goal. Promoting dance in this country is no small feat and nitpicking the video would be unfair. Hopefully, Rizvi will continue with such endeavours and with time, the quality of his productions will also improve.

Immediately after the video was screened, Rizvi stepped on stage in a bedazzled, deep V-neck sherwani and, with his troupe of dancers, performed a series of energetic dance numbers. One wishes that the dances had been included earlier in the evening, especially since the event was devoted to dance, but at least the evening ended on a high note.

This article was originally published in the May 2012 issue of Newsline under the headline “Stepping Up.”

Zehra Nabi is a graduate student in The Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked at Newsline and The Express Tribune.