Heena Panchal: Working with Saroj Khan ji was itself an achievement
Heena Panchal known for her works and item songs like "Balam Bambai" and "Bevda Bevda Zalo Mi Tight", in an exclusive interview with The Hans India talks about her experience of working with the legendary choreographer Late Saroj Khan and body shaming women has become a common thing for trollers
Heena Panchal, an Indian film actress is known for her works in Hindi and Marathi language films. She is most famous for her item songs "Balam Bambai" and "Bevda Bevda Zalo Mi Tight". In 2019, she participated in Bigg Boss Marathi and was also a part of the dating reality television series Mujhse Shaadi Karoge.
Sharing about her journey, Heena shares, "My journey has been very simple. I do not come from the family that has an industry background. My mother is a house wife and my father had a business. I was a mechanical student studying in Navi Mumbai in a Polytechnique college. Suddenly my father's business collapsed and that's how I decided to start working. I joined Ganesh Acharya as a background dancer and for almost 6-7 years I did that.
He asked me to do an item song for Anees Bazmis movie. That was with John Abraham and was titled 2020. I was assisting Ganesh Acharya for the song and they had a requirement for a female dancer. They found me very photogenic on the screen and suggested that I should do more of Television and music videos. I then did a Bengali song and from there Piyush Mundhda, the producer of the film Raag offered me this item song in the movie. It was the first Bollywood item number that I did as a known actor."
Heena shares that Raag happened to her 4 years ago and at that time the movie was title Babuji Ek Ticket Bambai.
She adds, "I was a background dancer then. It was my first dance performance in the film and it was to be choreographed by Late Saroj Khan Ji. For me, it was epic and legendary as I was to work with Saroj Khan Ji who had choreographed the likes of Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Kajol and many more. For me, it was an opportunity that I did not want to miss.
I was super excited when I came to know that the song was to be choreographed by the legendary Saroj Khan ji. Working with her was in itself an achievement for me and at that time I did not care whether the song would see the light of the day or not. Although I was scared a lot as I did not wish to commit any mistake in front of her. As we all know that Saroj ji was a perfectionist and she was very quick to pinpoint even the minutest of mistake on the set. As a dancer she always wanted the other dancers to give their 100 % to the art and she did not take any kind of lacuna in it. She did not take anything for granted and gave her 100% to everything. This is what she expected out of others as well."
As a dancer Heena was already aware of this trait of Saroj Khan as she had also worked as a background dancer for her.
Challenges as an outsider in the industry
Heena shared that her parents are very chilled out and they always supported me in all my endeavours, but the relatives opposed my decision to join the industry since they come from an orthodox background.
She shares, "My father however is a broad-minded person and he supported me a lot. Although even he faced a lot of resistance from the other family members. But after the popularity that I gained after Big Boss Marathi, that changed their perspective. They were convinced that although I had joined the film industry but I was still connected to my roots and the values that my family holds. I have learned a lot through the struggles and the ups and downs I have faced in my life. Even when I was working for Big Boss Marathi, I had a lot of disagreement with the people in the house but that was only because they failed to understand my point of view and it was pointed out by Mahesh Manjrekar as well.
He always told the housemates that ' Aap log Heena ka point of view kabhi samajh hi nahi paye'. I make sure that I apologies for the things where I go wrong."
She further shares that she does not hesitate from the struggles that she has gone through to make my mark in the industry. Most of the dance numbers that she has done are purely done on the basis of reference as she does not come from a film background.
"Although I was launched by Ganesh Acharya but that did not mean that I did not have to struggle. Many of my dance numbers are not released yet. All of them are very catchy numbers and will instantly be a hit amongst the people. But they are yet to see the light of the day. I would have been on a different platform had those songs released timely," adds Panchal
Trolling and body shaming women has become a common thing for trollers
Adding about trolling and body shaming, Heena shares that as a child, she faced a lot of body shaming due to her imperfect skin or the way she smiled.
She shares that, "This also led me to a lot of self-esteem issue but my family has always been very supportive and they have accepted me the way I am. They helped me love myself and increase the positivity in me. To the women out there I would just like to say that love yourself the way you are. Do not fall into the trap of trollers. Rather surround yourself with people who help you grow and help you love the way you are."
On work front, Heena currently has a Marathi music video lined up for the release by next month, which would be released by Tips. She ends saying that a lot of other things are there in the pipeline but due to the pandemic, they are on hold at present but hoping for the best.