"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."- Pelé
The man who makes people move on his command, Indian dancer, choreographer, actor and film director Remo D'Souza has been through a lot for reaching where he is today.
The man who moves in luxurious cars and stays in the marvellous mansion now has been through moments when he didn't have food to eat, money to grow and shelter to live. But it was his hard work and determination that made him what he is today.
So, let's see the event full journey of Remo D'Souza from Jamnagar to Mumbai. How from being a struggling background dancer, he received India's 63rd National Film Awards for Best Choreography in 2016.
On April 2, 1974, Remo D'Souza was born in Bangalore as Ramesh Gopi Nair to K. Gopi, a cook in the Indian Air Force, and Madhvi Laxmi. In his family, he has an elder brother, Ganesh Gopi and four sisters. He did his schooling at the Air Force School, Jamnagar, Gujarat.
It was Anthony his brother-in-law and childhood friend who influenced him to attend church, where he felt a connection and converted his religion with his family's support. This is how Ramesh Gopi became Remo D'Souza.
He couldn't afford to buy branded clothes, so he bought fancy cheap clothes from the Sunday flea market. His love for shoes grew seeing the shine of the pilot's polished shoes which Remo used to polish while helping his mother work in their quarters.
It was Remo D'Souza's inspiration that took him to Mumbai. Want to know who was his inspiration?
He worked in bakeries, ration shops, cycle repair shops and many such places. With no proper training or even TV to watch and learn from, Remo's dreams were high and passion alive.
"I was 14-15 when I first saw Michael Jackson dance and I thought 'How can he move like that?' I started following him. We didn't have a TV in those days and could access videos on VCR. But who in Gujarat would keep an MJ tape? After a year or so, I knew somebody from Mumbai who got that tape for me," he told PTI.
"That is how I started dancing and told my parents that I don't want to study but dance. Initially, they were very scared, my father was against it. But my mom and sister supported me and allowed me to go to Mumbai for a month," Remo told in an interview.
After reaching Mumbai...
"Like everyone, I too came here with a lot of expectations of becoming a star. One of my friends came to pick me up when I landed in Nana Chowk. He used to live in Chawl and my first reaction was 'Oh my God where have I landed!' Reaching Bombay and residing in a Chawl was like the biggest shock in my life. I stayed there for two days and then went to Mira Road to stay at my friend's brother's flat from where I started my struggling period," he said.
"At the beginning, I had no source of income and considered myself lucky to be staying with a very sweet family. I didn't have any money to pay them initially and they, too, didn't ask for it," he said.
In his struggling days, there were moments when he did not have anything to eat...
After a few days, he opened a dance class by the name of 'Super Brats' at Churni Road. Along with three of his friends soon opened two more branches of the institute, one in Andheri and other in Borivali. He used to travel to Churni Road in the morning, take the class there, come to Borivali for the second class and then catch the train to come to Andheri for his last class before he can go home.
"After a month, I was on the streets… Had no food, no money, sleeping on stations. I thought my life was over and I will have to go back, listen to my father. So, I lied to my mom for months that I have work. Then came Rangeela in 1995 and I got to showcase my talent," he told PTI.
His team first got noticed in the competition...
It was in All India Dance Competition that their team came first and they got noticed. At that time, Ahmed Khan was working on Ram Gopal Varma's Rangeela and was on the peek for fresh faces. He auditioned them, and they got selected.
In the beginning, he was rejected because of his dark complexion and unattractive features. But it was his dancing skills that he got the part in the film. He got selected again for Rangeela's first song, Yayi Re Yayi Re. He was also in the opening shot of the movie, sitting and having a beedi. From there I started assisting Ahmed.
He believes there are three people who are his Godfather in the industry...
"People usually have one Godfather, but I was fortunate to have three. Ahmed Khan who introduced me as a dancer, later making me his assistant; Anubhav Sinha who gave me the first choreography break in a video and Hansal Mehta whose 'Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar 'was my first film. They were part of my destiny, which helped shape my career based on hard work," he said according to The Hindu.
It was again Anubhav Sinha who gave him his film Tum Bin which proved to be a big hit. But the real breakthrough he got is from the film Kaante where his choreographed item number 'Ishq Samundar' proved to be a major success.
"It (his journey) was a roller coaster ride and certainly not an easy one. But I am thankful to Almighty that in one lifetime I have seen both the extreme side, the good and the bad. So, I take my success humbly and work hard to continue. My success is the result of my struggle," Remo told IANS.
Any idea which was Remo's first film?
His first movie as a director, F.A.L.T.U, was a moderate success at the box office. He made India's first 3D dance movie, ABCD - AnyBody Can Dance, with contestants from series 1 and 2 of Dance India Dance. His next directorial venture, ABCD 2, was released in June 2015. He also directed 'A Flying Jatt' in 2016.
As per the sources, he has also contributed to other Indian film industries, mainly Bengali cinema. He was a judge in the show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa with the Indian actress Madhuri Dixit and the director Karan Johar. Currently, he is the "super judge" on the prime-time dance show Dance+, on Star Plus, along with team captains Dharmesh Yelande, Shakti Mohan, and Punit Pathak.
The show he looks forward to...
Remo credits dance reality shows like Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa on Colors for making him a familiar face with the audiences.
"I look forward to Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa every year because the format of the show is really nice; celebrities coming in and competing with each other. The main reason I do it is Madhuri Dixit. I am a big fan and I sit next to her so it's like a dream," the choreographer said.
He is married to Lizelle, an Anglo-Indian from Mumbai. According to the sources, Lizelle is a costume designer who has designed costumes for many television shows. They have two sons, Druv and Gabriel. Currently, he is residing, with his family, in Andheri West, Mumbai.
This is how Remo D'Souza, among one of the best choreographers in India, got established. His life is an inspiration for many others who are striving hard to approach the spot they wish to.
"Patience and practice are the biggest keys to success."- Remo
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