Dancing to AR Rahman's tunes

Anjana Ghonasgi performed with the music composer at IIFA Rocks 2017

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Anjana Ghonasgi

As a little kid, Anjana Ghonasgi would stand on the bed and dance to AR Rahman’s composition, Chaiyya Chaiyya. “The bed was my train and I would make everybody at home sit and watch me. They were my audience. It’s an embarassing memory,” she laughs. But at that time, the trained Bharatanatyam dancer and performer from India, could have never imagined that one day, she would be performing alongside her favourite music composer. In July, Anjana performed at IIFA Rocks 2017 ‘Celebrating 25 years of Rahman Music’ at the MetLife Stadium in New York City. She performed solo on Tere Bina from the film Guru, that was sung live by Rahman and Jonita Gandhi.


A graduate from one of New York’s finest and world renowned studios Broadway Dance Center, Anjana got to know about the auditions via social media. “Shakti Mohan, the choreographer for IIFA Rocks posted about the opportunity on a Facebook group page. I applied by emailing her my dance headshot, resume and dance reel. I was asked to record a small snippet about a minute of me dancing Bharatanatyam to Rahman sir’s song. And finally we had a FaceTime meeting and that’s when I found out that I booked the gig!” she recalls with a smile. The Indian classical dancer was thrilled to get this lifetime opportunity, but performing in front of thousands of people, and that too on one of the biggest arenas in NYC, must have been pretty nerve-wracking? “Of course I had jitters! But it’s the dancer’s job to surrender to the music and deliver his/her best performance,” says Anjana.

The performance will definitely count among one of Anjana’s most special moments ever. “In all honesty, it was literally like a page taken from my dreams and forged into reality. Incidentally, this was my first Indian Classical Bharatanatyam performance in New York. Performing with live orchestra is always a fulfilling experience but to dance while ARR is singing live is a whole other experience in itself. I felt myself living in that moment and I walked off the stage feeling overwhelmed in the best ways,” she adds.


Unfortunately, Anjana did not get a chance to meet Rahman. “Since it was a concert setting, once Rahman sir was on stage, he didn’t step down till the end,” she says. But she did manage to have her fangirl moment backstage right before he went on stage. “He smiled at me. I should have asked him for a photo or something but I froze,” she laughs.

So what’s next for this young talent? “I recently performed at the Indo-American Art Council’s festival Erasing Borders on August 15 with Kalamandir Dance Company, which is a New York based Contemporary Indian company. What’s next is to keep dancing and keep working hard and letting life unravel on its own.”

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