Pony Verma Aims to Choreograph Vidya Balan and Kartik Aaryan in 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3

Pony Verma, Choreographer of Original 'Ami Je Tomar' in Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Eyes Repeat Performance with Vidya Balan and Kartik Aaryan in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3

Choreographer Pony Verma fondly remembers director Priyadarshan's unwavering faith in her when he entrusted her with the iconic track "Ami Je Tomar" in the film Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007). "Priyan ji reached out to me and expressed, 'Pony, this is going to be the song of your lifetime,'" she reminisced.

He proved to be correct. Presently, Verma regards "Ami Je Tomar" (Mere Dholna) as one of her most iconic creations. While Vidya Balan remains her "lucky charm," she continuously praises Kartik Aaryan for faithfully recreating the original track in the sequel Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (2022) choreographed by Chinni Prakash.

During a candid conversation with us, she expressed, "I was truly impressed! Kartik put in so much effort. How often do we witness a mainstream actor performing a classical piece? He executed it brilliantly, without a doubt."

With the announcement of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3 featuring both actors reprising their roles, how would Verma respond if she were approached for a potential showdown between Balan and Aryan in the third installment? Verma eagerly embraces the idea, stating, "I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the chance to work with both a male and a female actor."

In the original "Ami Je Tomar," Balan showcased a fusion of Kathak, Odissi, and Bharatnatyam in a classical number. The storyline also depicted her portrayal of Manjulika, influenced by her dissociative identity disorder. Balan's dual personas in the song are markedly different. While she exuded elegance and beauty as the royal dancer, Verma disclosed that the portrayal of her "wild, unkempt" appearance was the aspect she enjoyed the most.

Describing the contrast between the two personas, the 46-year-old choreographer stated, "One was portrayed with loose, relaxed movements, while the other was controlled!" "When Vidya embodied Manjulika, we incorporated a specific walk, head movements, and unconventional sitting postures to depict roughness rather than delicate femininity," she explained.

Verma added, "During rehearsals, Vidya often had swollen feet and bruised knees. We dedicated 20 days to practice, and to ensure precision, I even wore Vidya's costume to evaluate the choreography. She looked stunning, and I couldn't take my eyes off her."

According to Verma, given her reputation for typical "Bollywoodish songs," many doubted her ability for this one. "It wasn't just about singing, collecting money, and leaving. It went beyond that. I vividly remember both Vidya and I cried when we saw the final cut. We reassured each other - we've done it!" shared an emotional Verma.

Verma, who is married to actor Prakash Raj, disclosed that because Priyadarshan never used storyboarding, she had to meticulously plan the entire song. "He would indicate the cut points, and if we weren't prepared, adjustments had to be made on set. Sometimes you say - magic happens on set. And it happened here!"

Furthermore, she emphasized her determination regarding a specific Radha-Krishna pose. "I found a picture from 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna.' That's the extent of research we conducted."

Bhool Bhulaiyaa," a remake of the Malayalam film "Manichitrathazhu" (1993), was also adapted into Tamil as "Chandramukhi" (2005), as well as in Kannada and Bengali. With accomplished dancer-actors like Shobhana and Jyotika portraying roles akin to Balan's in previous adaptations, Verma understood that comparisons were inevitable. "I knew that if anything went awry, people would say - these Bollywood folks ruin everything (laughs)," Verma responded.

The shooting of "Ami Je Tomar" spanned a month. Verma disclosed that she turned down every offer that came her way during this period. In her own words, she gave it her "200 percent."

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