"I have always been running away from dance numbers. That's been my problem. But of late I have started to accept the fact that if you have to do it then you might as well enjoy it. My audiences who love me don't mind me dancing with two left feet. And by large if you see, a large population of the country who dance at any occasion are not perfect dancers. Music and dance is more of an outpour of an emotion at that particular moment."
I was sitting here trying to figure out how to explain why I actually love Sunny's dancing so much when I stumbled on the quote above -- it's from an interview he did with the Times of India leading up to the release of Yamla Pagla Deewana.
And it sums up SO PERFECTLY what I was hamfistedly trying to explain to Ness one day when we were talking about this. I was trying to say that what I was seeing more and more, especially in Sunny's more recent films, was him just throwing himself into the dancing -- not worrying about being a dancer, but dancing like his character would -- dancing just like any ordinary person, not a perfect dancer, but just enjoying the emotion of the moment.
Because it's very easy to reduce Sunny to the infamous Sunny Stomp* from Jeet (1996):
*I was floored to discover that this dance from Jeet actually has a name. Or, two of them. Apparently, at the time of the film's release, it became famous as the hathoda (hammer) or cockroach dance. I am suitably gobsmacked and delighted all at the same time.
Actually, I have a few things to say about this: first, if you think it merely provides proof of Sunny's two-left-footedness, I'd counter that it also shows his boundless joy, and his ability to just, as he would say, throw himself into the moment.
Second, and this is also something Ness and I have discussed -- not all the blame here can be laid at Sunny's left feet, because there's a choreographer involved in here somewhere, and I think, as with all dancers, some choreographers are better than others at highlighting someone's strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. As evidence of that, I present this clip, "Sigdi" from Fool N Final (2007):
I believe Ahmed Khan did the choreography for this film as well as directing it, and kudos for shooting a song that makes both Shahid Kappoor and Sunny Deol look good, even when they're dancing in the same frame.
One of the best examples of the "ordinary guy just getting his two-left-footed groove on" can be found in the song "Tiledar Dupatta" from Right Yaaa Wrong (2010). Sunny plays Ajay, a cop who is the heart and soul of his team, who loves his wife, and adores his son. He throws her an anniversary party as a surprise, and he gets up and dances. Who expects a cop to be a perfect dancer? No one -- but the joy on his face when he dances with his son makes up for it:
But -- nowhere was this joy of just throwing oneself into the moment more palpable than in this year's Yamla Pagla Deewana, which saw Sunny reunited with brother Bobby and father Dharmendra. Alas, the full song is not availalble anywhere that I can find, but I think the joy of all the Deols at being together is evident in this clip from the film's title song:
(Pssst....YPD is filled with all sorts of Meta-Deol goodness, and I'm sure you noticed that little bit of hammer dance going on in there.....)
As Sunny says: "If you have to do it, you might as well enjoy it."