She comes onscreen and a million heartbeats almost come to a stop. The men instantly start day-dreaming, the women are overcome by uncontrollable jealousy, the choreographers adore her and we simply love her! Mumaith Khan is a household name for all those accustomed to Indian cinema. She may just appear in a 5 or 6 minute song sequence most of the time but that mere 5 or 6 minutes is enough to give the film’s fate a new direction. Mumaith also recently brought the house down when she performed at the 56th Annual South Filmfare Awards. However, we know very little about this iconic face that we see set fire to the screen each time she appears on it. So Bollyspice is now bringing you an up, close and personal encounter with the girl who’s has never been out of fashion! Be it the size zero season, or international project trend, Mumaith Khan is one person who doesn’t follow any trends, she creates them!
Your dance career kicked off at the age of 13 in Remo’s dance group. Tell us a bit about your experiences as a young dancer in Remo’s group?
It was awesome actually! It was a nice experience all the way…being a young dancer in his group was new experience for me and I was always into dancing since my childhood and one day my sister Zabyn got an opportunity to join the group and she asked me, I was like OK!!! Since then we started our work as background dancers in Remo’s group and we were his favourite dancers. Being young also was a plus point for us to explore more and learn more in this industry that means we got educated right here!
Editors note: Keen to see Mumaith Khan as a background dancer? Then be sure to watch ‘Ishq Kamina’ from Shakti and see if you can spot our favourite girl!
How would you describe the feeling of facing the camera for the very first time for the in your first item number ‘Dekh Le’ in Munna Bhai MBBS?
Well, like I said, being a dancer you dance behind an artist and I was always familiar to camera. When I got the song I just did it for the sake of doing it and they were paying me good amount and that too for a dancer, and according to my mentality I was getting paid good so I was happy and that’s how I did the song. It was like a roller coaster for me! That song changed my whole life and today I am here on this stage where everybody recognize me and my work. I’m not being formal but with my whole heart I’d like to seriously thank the whole team of Munna Bhai for trusting me and taking me in the song and to Remo for teaching me and always keeping as his favourite child.
After this performance predominant number of your performances have been in the Telugu film industry, so why the shift? Was it a conscious decision or one that depended on the offers you received?
After Munna Bhai my whole life changed and people started calling me for many things. God! It was like “Are you serious I am just a dancer?!” I didn’t know I would get so famous that’s how I got a call from the Telugu industry for a song and I started thinking again “Oh okay, its a different language so fine let me try.” Damn! I never knew people will love me here in the Telugu film industry so much and make me so famous, especially the audience. That’s how I started my career here in Telugu film, and the people here are very nice and great money too! I just love it here now
How would you describe your journey from a background dancer to one of the most re-knowned item girls India knows today?
It was nice and a good experience for me, and like I said it was like a roller coaster for me!
Your journey has of course been quite phenomenal and many would say that being carried away with the success would have been easy however you have remained so rooted, how have you managed this amongst all the hype and attention that surrounds you constantly?
Okay now that is something I wouldn’t talk about much because in a very short span of time I became famous and some people can digest it and some cannot. For me everything is fine and good. I don’t even give interviews many a times, people simply write about me here every once a week [laughs]. I am simply taking all this as excess baggage. I will never take fame seriously to my heart because if I am not there it doesn’t mean that whole industry will stop working. If it’s not me than someone else, that is it. I wanted to earn money, worked hard and I did it. The rest of the things have just come along with me and I have no one to blame nor will I try to justify myself or make people think about me differently. We are all individuals and we all have rights to think whatever way we like. So that is why I am happy the way people talk about me, whether it’s good or bad.
You’re infamous of course for your ‘item songs’ so were you ever apprehensive to be labeled and ‘item girl’?
I am a performer. People gave that tag of an ‘item girl’ to me. And like I said I love dancing; it’s everything to me so it doesn’t matter to me what anyone says as it doesn’t affect me.
Do you wish you’d be given more chances to show off your acting talents or are you content with songs?
I have just started acting in the Telugu film industry, and I am just few movies old. This is not even my language and people love me here and trust me blindly. I am a good dancer but acting I have just started to learn, and I am sure I am in love with the acting. The whole new job for me is very creative and something different which I never expected to do in my whole life. I can say I am learning now and I like it. I will never stop doing songs. Even today if someone asks me to perform in a nice number I would say “bring it on dude” [laughs].
One of the most memorable moments of your career is your item song in the Puri Jaganath’s Telugu Blockbuster Pokiri with Mahesh Babu. So tell us the experience of being part of such a legendary number and did you expect that the popularity of the song would reach such heights?
Well I have never thought about becoming famous in my life or do anything like this. Puri is an amazing guy. I did his first which was even before Pokiri. Since then we are best buddies and he asked me to do a song for his second movie, and I was happy that I would be going back to see my whole crew and meet Puri again. While doing that song Puri left everything on me, he trusted me blindly and that was good to leave everything on me because it gave me the opportunity to learn to take responsibility and work hard on my job. I finished the song. It felt good and after that it was like “Wow my song is a hit!!” I literally jumped off my couch and I was like “YES! I have done it!”
Being a trained dancer have you ever choreographed your own pieces?
[Laughs] Yes just few times, that’s it. I don’t want to say anything about it because all the choreographer will kill me . [Laughs] Just joking, but yes I do share my ideas with them and they mold it accordingly to what would look nice on screen.
Who are some of the dancing divas of Indian cinema that you admire?
I love Madhuri Dixit and Jyothika.
Amongst your contemporary item girls whom do you admire the most?
I won’t be formal but I like everyone because they all put the same amount of energy and are hard working the way an actor does it.
Do you have a particular choreographer that you share a great repo with and is your favourite choreographer?
I have worked with many choreographers in this industry and I like all of them as I have shared great moments with them while shooting. I know most of them, and it’s an amazing experience when we work together on any song.
One of your upcoming projects that everyone is looking forward to is Vikram’s Kanthasamy, tell us a bit about your role and the film?
It was amazing because the whole shoot we did in a transparent bus, and the bus was moving while we were taking shots. With Vikram, well he is an amazing dude! You can never come across a guy like him. Such a good person by heart. My cinematographer for the film was awesome. And of course my favourite was Susi Ganesh – a good and amazing director to work with and he was the one who told me to shoot without make up. So on the first day I had makeup on and the rest of the song you will see me without any make up. I have only a song in the movie and very few scene in the movie, but altogether it was awesome!
Off-screen your biggest dream you say is your orphanage in Hyderabad, what prompted this huge and noble assignment you’ve taken on board?
Yes, I do want to do that some time in my life especially here in Hyderabad. I have everything now and it is all from this city. My food, my career and everything I have is from here so I’d like to give something back to them. People are nice here and very real. I will take time to do this project and hope to start it in a few years because right now I am busy with work but I will certainly do it for sure!
Lastly, what advice would you give to all the struggling artists out there?
No one is a struggling artist here in the industry. Everyone is doing a great job. I would only say that work hard and it will take you somewhere in life. Be honest to yourself and people who love and trust you. Life is a roller coaster, just enjoy the ride!!!
What a thought to end on ‘life is a roller coaster, just enjoy the ride’! Well this goes to show that mere looks and talent don’t make this sizzling personality one of the hottest icons of the country. It is the optimism, the hard work and the sheer intelligence that immediately makes her stand out of a crowd of millions!