Here Are Five Iconic Shah Rukh Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant Collaborations

Here Are Five Iconic Shah Rukh Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant Collaborations

The actor and the choreographer have worked together to give us several celebrated Hindi songs in the last two decades

The newest song from the highly-anticipated Jawan, which will see Shah Rukh Khan return as an action hero after the blockbuster success of Pathaan (2023), is 'Not Ramaiya Vastavaiya', in which SRK grooves to moves choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant. “Want to thank Vaibhavi Merchant for bearing with my two left feet,” the actor joked in the caption of his Instagram post promoting the song. With pelvic thrusts, wind-blown hair and slow-mo galore, music director Anirudh’s anthemic track shows off Khan’s chemistry with co-star Nayanthara, and also includes glimpses of the all-girl brigade that will team up with Khan in Atlee’s film. 

Merchant and Khan have collaborated on some iconic numbers in the past. Here are some of our favourites. 

‘Haule Haule’, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)

Surinder staring lovingly at his lunchbox
Surinder staring lovingly at his lunchbox

This endearing song opens with Khan’s Surinder feeling over the moon because his wife packed him lunch for work. It gives him a kernel of hope that love might still bloom in his arranged marriage. The yearning is earnest, and the dance moves are simple — well-suited to the office-drone Surinder who is not a dancer (at least at the beginning of the film). Even as everyone around him is going about their business, Surinder can’t help but gleefully break into dance. The hook step, which features Khan gently placing his hand on his chest and dreamily spinning around, is particularly lovely.

‘Radha’, Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017)

Shah Rukh Khan (Harry) and Anushka Sharma (Sejal)
Shah Rukh Khan (Harry) and Anushka Sharma (Sejal)

Set amidst the narrow streets and red-roofed houses of Prague, this upbeat song is made even more fun because of the playful dynamic between Khan and Anushka Sharma. Merchant’s choreography here is dynamic and has the couple interacting with their environment. Khan throws himself on a bench at one point, dips Sharma against a window arch of a historic building in another. The frisky dance moves, coupled with gorgeous cinematography, are extremely charming as Khan’s and Sharma’s characters gallivant around Europe.  

‘Ishq Shava’, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)

Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif
Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif

As the moonlight glimmers on the surface of the Thames, Khan and Katrina Kaif’s chemistry takes centre-stage in this sensuous song from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Shot in London and accompanied by a large troupe of dancers, the couple come together in this song about pursuing love with reckless abandon. One brief sequence is reminiscent of the childhood game ‘Dog and The Bone’ (Rumal Jhapatta), when Khan and Kaif, backed by their respective dancers, inch towards a bottle of alcohol on the ground between them. As the music swells, the two dance around each other before they end up touching foreheads and gazing into each other’s eyes. The choreography of ‘Ishq Shava’ is sexy, subdued and sophisticated. Khan nailed his moves, despite reportedly not having enough time to train. “Sometimes, I wonder what it is that he can’t do!” said Vaibhavi Merchant in an interview.

‘Jabra Fan’, Fan (2016)

Gaurav as fanboy extraordinaire
Gaurav as fanboy extraordinaire

This song is our introduction to Gaurav, an ardent fan of Bollywood superstar Aryan Khanna (both played by Khan). Promoted as the ultimate ‘fan anthem’, the sequence features Gaurav dancing enthusiastically in multiple locations in Delhi. We see him in the middle of a crowded market square, at the top of a telephone pole, and even on the lip of an Aryan Khanna billboard, looking out over a packed main road. His steps are goofy and imprecise, perfectly capturing the uninhibited adoration Gaurav feels for his idol.

Bonus: ‘Besharam Rang’, Pathaan (2023)

Shah Rukh Khan's iconic adaab
Shah Rukh Khan's iconic adaab

One of the most popular songs of the year, ‘Besharam Rang’ is our introduction to Deepika Padukone’s character, Rubai, in Pathaan. Khan appears only briefly in the song. He spends most of the song sans shirt, gazing at Padukone from a distance, before finally joining her to strike a pose or two. Padukone and Khan have terrific chemistry, made more pronounced by the sultry choreography. Vaibhavi Merchant shared her experience with the actor's iconic adaab in the song: “When he comes and he does his bit, he will give you variations. He will look away and he will also look back and again, he will do another variation. You will get some 50 variations from him. That's Mr. Shah Rukh Khan for you.”

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