No single artist in the world - no movement or force – no event or human - has eclipsed what Michael Jackson (MJ) accomplished in the 50 years of his existence. MJ changed the balance in the pop music world and the dance world in a way that nobody has and perhaps, nobody ever will. Like a Golden Star shattering into pieces of shining fragments of Gold around, MJ left behind his legion of music, moves, moonwalk and magic.
One such shimmering piece landed straight in India in the form of Karthik (Surname) who, as if rising from the soul of MJ himself, formed India’s first and one-of- its-kind dance group, MJ 5. Hailing from a humble middle-class family in Delhi, a 23-year- old Karthik brought together his love for Michael Jackson and Bollywood dance forms. Even as he woke up every morning and went about his routine of teaching dance at the Big Dance School, Delhi, something within him gnawed to take his dancing skills to the world. Which is when he ideated and conceptualized MJ 5, a dance group that would seamlessly fuse the panache of MJ and the vibrancy of Bollywood. Karthik brought together a fun mix of his own students from Big Dance and just like that, these 20-somethings moved to Mumbai. The five boys Vishnu (Surname), Himanshu (Surname), Rohit (Surname), Dennis (Surname) and the creator, Karthik himself spent hours and hours rehearsing and perfecting a technique that nobody in India had even conceived in 2013.
Come August 2013, an entire nation of dance lovers and TV viewers watched MJ 5 make their debut in the Star Plus show, India’s Dancing Superstar. Dancing, spinning, animating, locking, popping, exhibiting fierce glares at the stunned audience, oozing with swag and suave in their crisp white shirts and ties, MJ 5 did a powerful job of moonwalking and mythologizing their own blend of this new mystery style of dance – the MJ 5 style. There was some MJ, there was some Bollywood thumkas but most of all, there were these five boys gliding through the stage sprinkled with some funny, fresh wit and humor. Nobody in India had seen anything quite like it before. Maybe they never will again.
MJ 5 didn't just grab the gold ring: they hooked it to a new bar and set it even higher, and nobody has yet snatched it with quite the same flair or results.
Even as the celebrity judges of India’s Dancing Superstar Geeta (Surname), actor Ritesh Deshmukh and ace dancer Ashley Lobo were blown away by the performances of MJ 5, India and the Indian junta voted in massive numbers and more to make MJ 5 India’s No. 1 Dance Group.
“This is it!” – while this phrase holds great importance in the life of the original MJ, for MJ 5 it holds the fact that they had indeed arrived. The Indian audiences had never seen a genre, a style this unique in terms of moves and wit, a beautiful marriage between MJ and Bollywood, a culmination of a certain unique dance animation style that MJ 5 brought about. This celebrity dance group then started to perform at almost all main events for Star Plus. They were and even today, remain the favourite dance group of India, not just among the audiences of a billion people but also the celebrities and other dancers that came along in their journey.
Year 2014 saw MJ 5 tour the world with an average of 15 shows a month encompassing the lengths and breadths of Asia including Hong Kong, (add a few Asian countries and others here). They won the prestigious ‘2014 Most Entertaining Act’ awarded by (name of institution or people who awarded).
In 2014, MJ 5 appeared in almost every dance show imaginable on Indian Television - Dance India Dance, Dancing Superstars, Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhlaja… (please add/subtract list). They have had superstars Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Farhan Akhtar, moonwalk with them in their own unique style swaying these personalities to fall in love with them. In spite of being the No. 1 Dance Group of the country, what’s most endearing about this celebrity dance group is that, these boys keep themselves stuck to their roots, even as they grow in popularity with each passing day. They are known for their professionalism and immaculate down-to- earth persona, a quality coveted by many and the mark of great artists around the world. In 2017, MJ 5 made another appearance on the show, The Dance Champions anchored by celebrity choreographers, Remo and Terrence Lewis. This time, the acts that MJ 5 showcased were a notch up their own, and they had the entire country cheering to them yet again with as much love and passion as they did four years prior with their debut performance. Their YouTube subscriber score reached up to a whopping 6 lacs (and counting,) and Facebook page exploded with over 3.2 million followers.
While the journey for MJ 5 has only been soaring from one milestone to another over the years, it hasn’t been an overnight miracle of sorts. The kind of dance moves and animated formations that the celebrity dance group makes in any given performance is not deemed easy by dancing experts and artists world over. They sure appear easy due to the seamless and smooth performance of the five dancers, but the style has had them practice long hours, make humungous sacrifices in personal and social lives, dedicating a lifetime to the art. And still, as they say, the thirst for growing never declines. MJ 5 have only come a short distance before they embark upon bigger, more ambitious journeys for themselves. Karthik, the founder of India’s favourite dancing group aims at performing at some of the biggest world stages. The celebrity dance group also aspires to start its own dance school in the coming years, teach the needy for free and bring about a colossal dancing revolution in India. Here’s to that and moonwalk!