Suresh Mukund on winning World Choreography Award 2020: This is a huge win for our country
Emmy Award-nominated choreographer Suresh Mukund, recently became the first Indian to win the 10th Annual World Choreography Award 2020. Earlier Suresh and his team Kings United had won the American dance reality show World of Dance Season 3 (that had celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, and Derek Hough) and in 2015, choreographer-filmmaker Remo D’Souza had made ABCD2 based on Suresh’s real-life story.
After his recent international win, Suresh spoke to Bombay Times exclusively. “I’m the only Indian who has won this award and the only dancer and the only team that has reached this level. This makes me feel really proud of myself and my team; that they trust me and have always believed in us.
When I used to look at my dancers, I’d always feel that they are unique. Over the years we got platforms where we could prove our talents at the national as well as international level. This win is a part of our journey. Our journey has been more than a decade long with so much hard work and finally, this is the result which makes me really happy and proud of my team,” he says.
Suresh believes that this is a huge win for the country because before Suresh’s foray into international stages, not many Indian choreographers felt that they could go to that level or they had it in them to compete internationally. “I remember before winning World Of Dance and winning the Bronze in Hip-hop International, people always used to think that an international dancer’s level is very high.
Somewhere we thought that it would be a tough competition for us. But I believed that we could do this with the right platform and right direction. Long back in 2012, I started participating in International competitions. First, we went up to the finalist level. And in 2015 we won the first Bronze medal and then in 2019, we won the World Of Dance. Now I feel we have everything today and this is a huge victory for our country.
Because earlier when we used to ask dancers what they wanted to become in life, the normal answer was that they wanted to become as good as the internationally popular dancers. But now the answers have changed. They say they want to represent India and take it to another level, take India to the international level. So, this is a huge victory,” he explains.
For Suresh, being a choreographer and leading a team of fab dancers was not about the fame and recognition he got, but was about the fame his team achieved. Not many choreographers or leaders think like him, think for the team more than the self. When we asked him what was the one thing he felt was tough being a choreographer this is what he had to say. “The toughest part of being a choreographer was always about how to increase my team’s recognition.
Earlier it was always about one individual dancer getting fame and others supporting him/her. And in those days the team was always on a lower level. I figured out how to boost them and had to work hard to get them the recognition they deserved. I wanted to do something for the team so that they could get the popularity an individual dancer gets. For that, we had to do something out of the box so that the team could become a brand.
And that’s what we worked towards all these years. And then we started national level competitions and slowly after eight years we went ahead with international competitions and won the World of Dance. That’s how things changed for us. It was difficult for me because I had this vision to give my team this popularity. And that’s how we did it,” says Suresh.
Just like most choreographers, Suresh too had always had a Bollywood dream. “I always dreamt of working here and becoming an artist in the Bollywood industry. After winning the World of Dance, I remember that almost every popular choreographer from our country and also big actors had congratulated me on personal messages as well as on social media. In fact, Hrithik Roshan who had actually inspired me to start dancing also tweeted about this. That’s how I wanted to enter Bollywood and finally, here we are.”
Suresh has seen a lot in his career as a dancer-choreographer. And over the years has had to face team members leaving. Despite all the wins and the global recognition, Suresh feels that this is the most difficult part of being a choreographer.
“I feel the most difficult part is to hold the team together for such a long period because there are different people in the group who have different mindsets and different dreams. With time, dreams change and it becomes very difficult to keep them focused on one goal.”
Elaborating about the tough parts of his journey so far Suresh says, “It’s been difficult, especially with financial problems for the last two to three years. But I have people who work with me, practice for me, believe in whatever I say is best for the team and competition. I feel really happy that my team struggled together for 12-13 years and we are all here with all the experience.”
The pandemic situation has been really tough for Suresh and his team. “We have been going through huge losses since the last one and a half years because there were many shows and tours that got canceled. But right now, the focus is only on the safety of everyone and the health of their family. This is the prime focus for us as of now. And I am sure that we all will overcome this situation and life will be better and come back to normal,” he signs off.