Choreographer Karishma Chavan On Facing Body Shaming Repeatedly In Her Career, But Not Backing Down. We Love Her Spirit!
Usually when fat (yes, let’s use the word without shame, please) people dance, the compliment that they usually get is “Wow, they’re so graceful!” The idea that a person who is overweight or heavier cannot dance as efficiently has been proven wrong by so many choreographers like Ganesh Acharya, Saroj Khan and so on. And yet, the body shaming persists. Dancer and choreographer Karishma Chavan has recently spoken up about how she faced a lot of body shaming and rejection when she entered the industry.
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Karishma Chavan has choreographed movies like Tumhari Sulu and Veere Di Wedding, starred in ABCD and even judged the most recent season of reality dance show Dance Plus. But despite her talent, she says, she had to face a good amount of body shaming and lack of faith because of her weight.
“I joined Shiamak Davar’s dancing classes for a few years but as background or stage dancer I never fit the bill due to my weight issues. I had hormonal problems that led to weight gain, but I refused to give up! I joined local choreography classes and worked on myself to lose 25 kilograms. That’s when I decided to find work in the field of dance.”
Damn, that brings up memories! I love dancing, and even though I usually dance like no one’s watching, I’m never completely devoid of the prickling feeling that somebody is watching me move my heavy body and judging me for it. This phobia has inhibited me from performing on stage often, and even joining a dance class, despite being good at Bollywood dancing and obsessed with learning international dance forms. I was always going to be the dancer in the back, because nobody wants to see the fat girl in the first line, do they? The body shaming may not always be overt, but society does find a way to make you feel bad about your body.
Karishma revealed, “I struggled a lot to find work and did a couple of dance shows Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa and finally I started assisting senior choreographers in films. I met Sonam Kapoor and got to train her and it was then I had an opportunity to work for producer Rhea Kapoor. It was then I did two songs for her production Khoobsurat followed by Kick, Hasee Toh Phasee and others.”
Also Read: Anjana Bapat On Being A Plus Size Belly Dancer And Why People Are Triggered By Women Who Are Confident About Their Bodies
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It’s good to know that Karishma Chavan did not back down. The uphill climb was difficult, sure, but she kept going and has reached a place in her career where she’s done work she is proud of—from choreographing for big Bollywood movies to acting and mentoring new talent as a judge of a dance show. What’s more, she is gearing up to launch her own plus size fashion line because God knows we need some good ones that come from people who understand plus size people’s bodies and design clothes that are fashionable and comfortable. As Karishma put it, its not just about fitting into clothes but also liking what we put on our bodies, following the latest trends and feeling good about ourselves when we look in the mirror.
She also plans to soon direct a short film on themes similar to her life’s struggle, in the hopes that she can share the message that body shaming is grossly wrong.
“I don’t want young girls to face what I faced, body shaming is never okay and one should never accept it. We need to change this perception any which way.”
More power to Karishma Chavan!