Bollywood songs just don’t exist without those incredible ‘hip-shaking’, ‘waist-twisting’ and sometimes, ‘acrobatic-styled’ background dancers who score brownie points for making a song more interesting. The trend of using background dancers in Bollywood is decades old and back in the day, filmmakers used random people to fill in the spaces with the lead cast. Now things have changed and they are a quintessential part of any movie.
These ‘background dancers’ or ‘fillers’ were called as ‘extras’ to make a song look more charismatic. Cut to 2018 – the same dancers now take this job very seriously. In fact, it has become a professional job for those talented dancers!
Right from costumes, props, make-up etc, they share the same stage with our Bollywood superstars like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, SRK, Madhuri Dixit etc. These dancers match each of those steps with their leading stars to make the songs memorable.
Even Bollywood star like Shahid Kapoor started his career as a ‘background dancer’ to reach to the top. His training under Shiamak Davar helped him improve his style and hone his natural talent which didn’t go unnoticed.
With the onset of cult movies such as ‘Rangeela’, actresses like Urmila Matondkar looked even more graceful with her ‘extras’. They became critical to make songs more iconic, adding that aesthetic charm and doing it in perfect sync with director’s vision.
It’s therefore, only right to assume that these ‘background dancers’ get equal recognition and realistic payments for their share in the limelight.
And not just Bollywood, even the TV industry is hunting for talents like them via reality shows and competitions. Dance shows like India’s Got Talent or Jhalak Dikh Laja are some of these opportunist platforms.
How much do you think an average Bollywood ‘background dancer’ should earn for all those shaking booties and perfect coordination? Well, it depends on the choreographer (like Shiamak Davar, Saroj Khan or Remo D’Souza) or the movie in which they are cast.
If it’s a multi-crore movie, chances are that they will earn pretty well! Here’s the truth – on an average, a background dancer is paid from anything from approximately Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 Lakh per month!