In conversation with Giju John an innovative music vocalist, a producer and a world ranked salsa dancer. Needless to say that Giju is indeed a powerhouse of talent. Check out this interesting tete a tete and get to know more about this dashing personality.
An Engineer/ A dancer/ a singer or a Producer? which one of the four describes you the best?
At this point in my life, all of the above. They are so intertwined and with so much overlap, it’s really hard to compartmentalize. And strangely enough, I like it that way.
How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to be a dancer?
I started getting training at the age of 8 and despite doing shows and competitions throughout my school and college days, I never aspired of being a dancer. My primary passion was music and I really wanted to be an established singer. Dancing was more of a support system to help me achieve that goal. But that changed once I got into salsa, back in 2000. It was a pivotal point in my life. My new found love and ardent passion for salsa was the main trigger for the finding of ‘latin-indian’ music genre which I launched in 2007.
Did you have a formal training?
Yes, I’ve had formal training in Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam from the age of 9 to 16. For the past three years I’ve been training with the phenomenal Sri. Mahesh Kale, here in the bay area.
You are a professional singer as well you also have a few music videos in your kitty..how did that happen?
I launched the ‘latin-indian’ music genre in 2007 through my debut album ‘Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya’. The three music videos that I produced (shot in san francisco/Oakland, Mumbai and kerala respectively) were to promote my album. Sandeep Mohan, who is the director of ‘Love, Wrinkle-free’ directed one of the music videos for me (Dil Ko Kiya) and that led to our association in LWF.
You are a well established engineer by profession…how do you balance the two different worlds of technology and art?
I consider myself very fortunate for having been able to maintain this balance between my engineering career and the music-movie career, thus satisfying my intellectual as well as artistic aspirations. We all juggle quite a few many things in our lives. I think ‘lack of time’ is just an excuse for those who are not motivated enough.
Tell us something about your production company “Beyond Dreamz Entertainment”?
Beyond Dreamz Entertainment was found back in 2007 with the mission of making music and dance productions in the ‘latin-indian’ genre, which is what I specialize in. The music album ‘Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya’ along with the three music videos were released under this label. Beyond Dreamz has also done several dance productions since then, with the primary focus to popularize this unique music genre.
How did “Love,Wrinkle Free Happen”?
‘Love, Wrinkle-free’ is entirely a Sandeep Mohan product. When he was developing the script, he asked me to produce two songs in the latin-indian genre for the movie and also do a cameo. That was my initial involvement with the movie. It was around the same time that my friend and business partner Kamal Shah and I had decided to launch ‘Tiranga Productions’ with the intention of making indian independent movies, emphasizing on content and substance, within reasonable budget. We wanted to make indian films for a global audience. So when Sandeep shared the script with us, we were absolutely confident that we couldn’t have asked for a better film than ‘Love, Wrinkle-free’ to launch as our flagship project.
Since I’d already worked with Sandeep (he directed ‘Dil Ko Kiya’ for me), I have seen first-hand how efficiently he can take a concept and execute it with the utmost efficiency and that too within budget.. So as you can see, it all came together perfectly..
What is the film about?
Love, Wrinkle-free peeps into the life of a dysfunctional family in India where a husband, his wife who is 8 years elder to him and their adopted teenage daughter try to come to terms with the unplanned late pregnancy of the wife. It is a light-hearted story about Urban Indian society’s newfound obsession with wrinkles, looks and youth. It has a fantastic cast lead by Ash Chandler (mixed doubles, guzaarish), Shernaz Patel (Black, Guzaarish), Ashwin Mushran (Fashion, Munnabhai), Seema Rahmani (Sins, Good night Good morning) and Sohrab Ardeshir.
You can watch the trailer and other details about the movie at www.lovewrinklefree.com. Please do check out our facebook page as well and ‘like’ it http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Wrinkle-free/244538693364. Films like ‘Love, Wrinkle-free’ needs a lot of support from the audience to be a success.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I try to live the moment, without planning too much into the future. I can see myself definitely making more Indian Independent movies as well as popularizing the ‘latin-indian’ genre..
Finally a message for our readers
Don’t heed to nay-sayers and skeptics.. Believe in yourself and pursue your dream, whatever it is, with utmost passion and determination. And of course, please spread the word about ‘Love, Wrinkle-free’.
Giju’s debut hindi pop video fusing SALSA with indian pop. Visit www.beyonddreamz.com for more details about Giju’s music.