Profile of the Month | Reetu Jain
She was recently spotted on the front page of The New York Times as a US Citizen finding her American Dream in India. However Reetu Jain captivated our attention way back when she was a Houstonian. Reetu also recently made headlines with her debut as an item girl hip swinging with mega star Naseeruddin Shah.
Lights Camera Action’s Ruchi Mukherjee captured a telephone conversation with this passionate dancer and philanthropist Reetu Jain who was born and raised in Houston, Texas but is now a happy resident of Mumbai, India.
You are technically a Houstonian so how does it feel to be living in Mumbai?
Living in Mumbai has been very exciting. I’m getting to meet interesting people of varied backgrounds, some NRIs, other expats and even others who are Indians, that are embracing the energy in India and taking on their life goals. India is the land of opportunity and the buzz around that is evident.
Your passion for dancing and performing in Bolywood films was very strong and here you are dancing away with Nassiruddin Shah. Tell us all about that.
It was a privilege and honor to work with Naseeruddin Shah, one of the most renowned actors in Indian cinema/theater. “How funny!” I think to myself, as I sit in the movie theater, watching scenes from the first half of The Dirty Picture, and relate it to my experience as an “item girl”. Fortunately enough, many of those experiences were more hearsay than actuality, but it all seemed very possible. I had never thought, six months before the shoot, while sitting at my corporate desk job as a Certified Public Accountant, in Austin, Texas, that I would be dancing alongside the legendary Naseeruddin Shah, in a Bollywood film called Chaalis Chauraasi (4084). And there I was, on the set, making googly eyes, and throwing my hips around to the lyrics “Badmast Main Ho Gayi Re”.
I’ve acted in a few television ads and played a lead role in a short film on human trafficking. I’m also currently teaching tribal belly dance around Mumbai in group and private lessons and have performed at shows and festivals around India. I look forward to other potential projects in both acting and dance.
Tell us about your career as a dancer and how it all got started.
I started dancing at a very young age. My first stage performance was when I was 4 years old to “Dafli Waale”, a Bollywood song from the 1979 hit film Sargam. My Mom was a trained Kathak dancer and was keen on putting me in Indian classical dance classes. So from the age of five, I began my training in Bharat Natyam and Kuchipudi which lasted about 13 years. I also performed and competed nationally in folk and Bollywood dances throughout my childhood. As an adult, I became very interested in world dances such as tribal belly dance, flamenco and the tribal dances of Uganda. My curiosity grew as I started traveling extensively and it just went from there.
The very beautiful dancer and aspiring actor Reetu concludes the interview sharing some insightful thoughts. “I had no idea what it took to be an actor. A lot of getting made up, hard work, waiting time, irregular eating (unless you have your own nutritionist and cook with you) and odd working hours. The end product looks like it was all fun and games, easy-peasy. But it takes more than that,” shares Reetu Jain.