Top 5 Michael Jackson-inspired Bollywood Icons

It’s no secret that India is OBSESSED with Michael Jackson! Today we’re going to take a look at the actor-dancers of Bollywood who have honoured Michael’s style with some style of their own!

5.) Mithun Chakraborty
This list would be incomplete without mentioning Mithun. His dance style (which was actually more disco than Michael Jackson) relied heavily on footwork, which was unheard of for a male dancer in Bollywood!

Check out Mithun’s moves in this song “Julie, Julie”!

4.) Govinda
Govinda did justice to Michael in the zaniest of 80’s costumes, including this homage to Michael in a song and dance sequence for the film “Ilzaam”, called “Street Dancer”.  Red leather jacket and all…

3.) Shahid Kapoor
Moving a little closer to our current generation of Bollywood stars, we put Shahid as number 3 on our list.  Shahid starred in flop film after flop film, but it was his abilities as a dancer that kept getting him signed.

Check out his moves in “Why Does it Happen in Love”

2.) Hrithik Roshan
We don’t get nearly enough of Hrithik as we’d like! His dashing good looks are much talked about, but it’s his dance moves that are incomparable and leave us wanting more.

Check him out in this stylized dance: “Main Aisa Kyun Hoon” / “Why Am I Like This?” (with English subtitles!!)

1.) Prabhu Deva
Now, some might contest making Prabhu Deva our number one choice because technically he’s not from Bollywood . His career was made in Tollywood (the Tamil film industry), which is quite different. But Prabhu Deva was so famed for his dance moves that they dubbed his films into Hindi so Hindi-speaking audiences could enjoy his work. He’s a classically trained dancer who eventually branched out into his own style. To this day, Prabhu Deva is referred to as the Michael Jackson of India.

Check him out in his first film in the song “Urvashi, Urvashi”

Just a heads-up for those who aren’t aware, the swastika is an ancient and auspicious Hindu symbol! It’s become stigmatized in modern times because of its use by Hitler and the Nazis during WW2, but the origins are ancient. Just in case you are confused by the image of Prabhu Deva below…

Anita’s Top 5 Bollywood – Hollywood Knockoff Films!

As we approach the opening of Oy! Just Beat It! (a play that takes western pop music and gives it an Indian spin!), I thought I’d reflect on this trend of Bollywood imitating western pop culture…

5) Mohabbatein (“Many Loves”)

This one is a tribute to Leon Aureus (Felipe in Oy! Just Beat It!). The time I talked Bollywood with Leon, this is the movie he wanted to talk about!

This film is “inspired” by Dead Poet’s Society.  And who is our desi Robin Williams?  Shah Rukh Khan, of course!  SRK wields a violin around the college campus and serenades the ghost of his dead girlfriend, (none other than Aishwarya Rai) in his off hours.  But instead of teaching the school curriculum, he teaches the students about … LOVE.

Good luck passing finals.

4.) Pyar To Hona Hi Tha (“Inevitable Love”)

This film tends to get forgotten by Bollywood fans.  A knock-off of the Meg Ryan film French Kiss, Pyar To Hona Hi Tha was a super hit when it came out in 1998 starring the husband-wife duo, Ajay Devgan & Kajol.

One of the key things to know about Bollywood, is that they love to set movies against European scenery, and this movie had European locales and dances aplenty!

3.) Phir Milenge (“We’ll Meet Again”)

I am partial to this one. It’s a copy of Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and it took years for Bollywood to work up the nerve to make this movie.  AIDS awareness in India was taken to a whole new level when this film came out.  Though it followed the story of a straight couple (baby steps, people!), it broke down barriers. Shilpa Shetty, one of the stars of the film, took her advocacy work on HIV/AIDS beyond the movie and helped continue to address the stigma that surrounded the topic of AIDS.

2.) Daraar (“Crack”)

There were many Bollywood copies of the Julia Roberts hit Sleeping With the Enemy but I think this is my favourite.  The film was not a hit, but it showcased the hysterics of Juhi Chawla, who was mainly known for romantic comedies at that point. But in true Bollywood form, Juhi Chawla as the battered, physically abused wife had never looked more beautiful.  Not a hair out of place! Ah Bollywood. So true to life … or something like it.

1.) Koi Mil Gaya (“I Met Someone”)

An Indian remake of E.T.

Oh no.


That was pretty much my response when I heard about this movie.  How could this NOT be number one on our list!

For a long time, Bollywood wasn’t known for its special effects. But then came Koi Mil Gaya. Though it didn’t become the super-hit that E.T. did, it launched the sci-fi genre in Bollywood. With an blue alien named “Jaadu” (“Magic”), how could you go wrong!  It also had the requisite entourage of cute children and a romantic storyline to keep the masses happy.

A special mention has to go to Satte Pe Satta which is a golden oldie from 1982 starring Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan.  The movie was a copy of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  That’s right people.  You thought it, and it happened!

Till the next blog … see you at Oy! Just Beat It! opening this Friday at the Tarragon Theatre!

Anita’s 5 Favourite Bollywood Costumes!

5. Costumes can’t be mentioned without bringing up Govinda. I would be hard-pressed to call him a “style icon” but in a film genre where the focus is usually on the actress, or heroine, and her stunning outfits, Govinda manages to steal focus with blindingly white pants, yellow jumpsuits and too-small overalls. This is my tribute to Govinda! A man who paid homage to Michael Jackson in a film called “Ilzaam” with a song called “I Am a Street Dancer”!

4. Let’s go back in time to 1983. A young Bengali actor named Mithun Chakraborty introduced disco to Indian pop culture. Disco became all the rage in 1980’s Bollywood and Mithun was the leader of the pack! Any Bollywood expert worth their salt will remember “I Am a Disco Dancer” with fondness or disdain – but remember it, they will!

3. A special mention has to go to Kajol and her neon green lehenga in “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”. The movie that ran for 700 weeks (!) and continues to run at a theatre in Bombay to this day wouldn’t have been the same if Kajol hadn’t gone with this unique green outfit. We at “Oy! Just Beat It!” love it so much that it’s the inspiration for our poster.

2. Nothing represents my childhood memories of Hindi cinema better than Madhuri Dixit’s blue-purple sari in “Hum Aapke Hain Koun”. Madhuri was considered the Queen Bee of Bollywood in the 90’s and made this stunning sari the hottest trend in the 1994-95 wedding season.

1. The list wouldn’t be complete without a nod in Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s direction. The (then) Ms Rai catapulted onto the Indian A-list after her dance “Nimbooda” in “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”. This was the dance and the costume that inspired my first play, “Fish Eyes”!