Soubin's dance in the song was choreographed by Fawas who is a performer, actor and teacher.

Loved Njan Jacksonallada from Ambili Meet Fawas of the team which choreographed it
Flix Mollywood Sunday, August 04, 2019 - 15:10

Choreographer Fawas Ameer is tired on a Friday evening. Everyone who met him that day wanted to see him do the dance sequence from "Njan Jacksonallada" that he has choreographed with Pratheesh Ramdas for the film Ambili. Waving his hands around, he says he enjoys it – dancing, performing, moving all the time. He’d move around like a doll keyed up, he says. But sometimes, he may not just be in the mood. He is not quite a crowd-person.

All that changes, of course, when he is onstage or in front of a camera. Fawas is a performer, before anything else. He dances, acts, performs and simply moves about wherever he is -- sometimes on the street he walks. He has been working in theatre and films for years now, but the dance sequence in Ambili has suddenly brought him a lot of attention.

“We were told that it should be something that everyone would be able to associate with. And Soubin -- who performed the bit -- has contributed a lot," says Fawas, on a day when he has been giving interviews, and dancing too, at request. The "Jackson" song became one of those viral sensations like "Jimikki Kammal". Only here, it is not a group dance. It is a short sequence with one person suddenly breaking into a lot of movement, and at the end, when the beat changes, everyone else around that person joins in. Just like in the film.

Soubin appears to play a character too innocent for his age. Fawas and Pratheesh designed his steps, considering how an innocent person would react to a fast song like that. "He has his mannerisms, and we wanted to create something with it. It is like how we behaved as kids, breaking into whatever movement we felt like when we heard a song we enjoy. And we let him do it in his own style," Fawas says. If you didn't know it, you'd think the director -- Johnpaul George -- just let Soubin do whatever he felt like when the song was played. It's all in the flow.

The work came to Fawas and Pratheesh through Mamangam, the dance school in Kochi run by Rima Kallingal, actor and dancer. Rima and he have been friends for a long time, Fawas says. "I have known her since 2005, when she auditioned me for an event in Bengaluru. That was my first audition. Years later I met her again during the sets of the film Aabhaasam, in which we both acted. After that, I began working for Mamangam, as artistic director and movement faculty."

Before that he worked with Attakkalari in Bengaluru, where he had also studied movement acts and mixed media on scholarship. "I had been dancing for a long time. But at one point I felt I had to train. It is at Attakkalari that I learnt classical dance," Fawas says. And before Attakalari, he was with Abhinaya Theatre, performing / choreographing in plays like MacbethPacha and Invisible Cities.

Even during his college days in Thiruvananthapuram, Fawas choreographed other students. He is not sure where he first picked up dance. He has performed since he was a child and after schooling, he went for a short while to a catering college. That didn't work out, of course. Fawas's heart had always been in performing. He doesn't use the word "dance" much -- it is mostly movement. And movement is an idea still new here. Fawas wants to spread it, start a movement school in Kerala. 

He already has another company going on -- started with friends and artistes Abhija and Firoz. "It is called Vantablack -- that's a new kind of black, the blackest of blacks. It conveys depth, we felt, and that's what we teach." 

Independent dance productions, collaborations with artistes from across the world, film choreography and acting are all waiting for Fawas, who had to take a most frustrating break in his career after an accident some time ago. "I was so down about missing many opportunities to perform, and moved to Delhi. I sometimes want isolation," he says. 

Work never stopped coming to him though. He lists a few experimental films he is going to work in -- the next by Bilathikuzhal director Vinu Kolichal, My Girlfriend by Jerry Mathew where he's doing the choreography and acting, Accessible Horizon by Sindhu, from a Pondicherry-based film collective, and an English film by his friend Ashish for which he has been growing his noticeably long beard. "It took me two-and-a-half years to grow it so much."

There have also been music videos, he says excitedly. One viral video called "Thirayayi" that he choreographed and performed with Ketaki, and another with singer-composer Gowry Lekshmi that just came out.

Fawas is also excited about another development -- he has been chosen as a member of the International Dance Council under the UNESCO. That was 10 days before the "Jackson" song. In all, it's good times for Fawas.