Published On: Wed, Jul 10th, 2013

Namma Mahi to rock …in California!

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In Silicon City – in California, not namma Bengaluru – what do our own techies do when they want to shake a leg or do a desi jig? Give Mahi a buzz. Namma very own Mahesh Kumar Hiremath. Just out of his teens, Mahi, as his friends call him, wears multiple hats, as dancer, actor, director, producer, and choreographer. Now chasing his dreams in California, Mahi is already the go-to Indian for a taste of Bollywood kinda dance.

Actually, it’s not just Bollywood, he protests. “I am more into Kalaripayattu, Indian folk dance,  Bharatanatyam, and classical stuff. The Bollywood jig is just an excuse to get people hooked into Indian classical dance.”

Point noted. Begin with a Jhalak dhikla ja. Get the audience on their feet. And then get them swooning over Kathakali and Bharatanatyam. In Calif, Indian folk and classical dance is novelty. And Mahi is doing his bit to push it to the mainstream.

For Kannadigas settled in California, April 20, 2013, was a day when their heart swelled with pride at their own boy wowing fellow Americans with his precocious talent. Mahi’s show appropriately titled, Bollywood Fusion, at the Jewish Commercial Centre in Palo Alto, had over 120 dancers performing a potpourri of Bollywood, Bharatanatyam, Kalari and Indian contemporary, Salsa, Hip-hop, and Western dance. The well known Teresa Cox, Trade Advisor to Obama Administration, who was the chief guest at the show.She gave great appreciation for this good cause and culture exchange.

The show was fun, but what’s more important is that it helped raise funds for Sahaita Foundation, an India-based NGO, and Sarvaguna, a NGO based in the US, for organizing free medical camps to the poor in both the countries. And the show will go on, for this is being planned as an ongoing event.

Dance is not just a ticket to name, fame, and riches, insists Mahi. “I want to teach homeless people and poor kids in San Francisco to dance free of cost. We are already conducting dance classes in over 10 places in Bay Area, San Francisco. I also want to perform fund-raising shows for NGOs in India and in the US.”

At a very young age, Mahi has been there and done that. He has performed shows for the world’s best companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, performed for San Francisco’s basketball team Giants in January, and was part of Utsav Show, presented by Star Plus. Several stars have witnessed his performances in India and the US, such as for example cricketer Sreesanth.

Right now, Mahi is in Bangalore to attend the Indian International Dance Congress (IIDC) and is impressed with the buzzing dance scene in Bangalore.

Right from he was a four-year-old Mahi took a fancy for dance and pursuing his passion from an early age was trained by veteran Abilash Ningappa in Kalari. Mahi’s forte is Kalaripayattu and Navarasa (Bharatanatyam) and he specializes in the ancient temple dance form called Shringara Nrityam.

How does he explain the Bollywood twist to his shows? “Bollywood is a mélange of so many dance forms, Indian, Western, classical, and contemporary. There is a bit of everything – spicy, saucy, showy, salsa, and stuff. My own take is that we have blended everything together and packaged it in a way that will appeal to the masses and classes.” He pauses and adds softly, “The classes in India may not admit it though!”

On a more serious note, Mahi says it was this mix ‘n match that appealed to him and inspired him to come up with his own inventive moves. “My own dances are focused on the ancient temple dance form which is an element of Bharatanatyam, even though they are packaged in Bollywood fusion style.”

Recalling his early days, Mahi says he first got his feet in at Shiamak Davar’s, where he honed his latent dancing skills. Folk dances were his first love, but he went on to evolve and experiment with diametrically different forms. Like, he learnt Salsa from Eddie and is also a internationally certified Salsa dancer. Along the way, he extended his repertoire to Latin, Jazz, hip hop… and more.

Mahi shot to the limelight in the dance reality show, ‘Sye to Dance’. The show’s judge was our own Michael Jackson, Prabhu Deva and Mahi admits to having a few goose bumps initially. Mahi danced his way to the semi-finalist stage. Predictably, the flashbulbs chased him after this and he went on to play lead roles in TV serials. For some time, Dancing with the Stars and on TV became his life.

After his stint in TV, Mahi’s creative juices veered towards film making and so he went on to do a course in digital film making from the San Francisco School of Digital Film Making.

Mahi has trained and worked with several big names in the field of dance. With Lourd Vijay of the LVDS Team, he groomed himself in Kalaripayattu, contemporary dance, jive, Salsa and of course Bollywood. Lourd Vijay, a Latin cultural music and dance artist, is the Guinness world record holder for the maximum number of swing dance flips in a minute. Rajesh Nair, a veteran dance choreographer who has given more than 1000 stage shows, was his mentor in the reality show, Sye to Dance. Mahi also has worked with Richard Tholoor, international Salsa champion, Abhilash Ningappa, his guru, and Shiamak Davar among others.

There’s more to namma Mahi than his dancing feet. Keep it rocking, Mahi, until the next time you make breaking news…

To know more about Mahi visit :  https://www.facebook.com/MahisDance/ or write to him at  h.s.maheshkumar@gmail.com, Ph: 91-9663715392

 

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