Nilesh Auti is a man of many talents. Be it dance, painting or choreography he has seen it all and done it all. Of course his uniqueness lies in executing various female dance forms which is oh so uncommon for a man. Our Group Editor Vaidehi Taman had a quick Q and A session which has Nilesh explaining various issues like the challenges he had to face to make it in this unique profession and also how painting and dancing can be used for societal change as art forms.
Can you please tell readers something about your life and career so far?
I am a very common man who believes in exploring life. Despite my family believing in social status and typical lifestyle my dreams are phenomenal.
What you like the most painting (Illustrator) or dancing?
God has gifted me painting and dancing skills to express what society needs to know. Life has more to it than we imagine and it’s an evolutionary process each day. We just have to look beyond the horizon and keep on going with all the good things.
How did you get that typical feminine tint in you? Do you observe a lot or is it an inborn talent?
Yes. I do observe. Emotions and beauty doesn’t have gender. This is what I believe in.
It is very rare that male giving woman centric dance performances, what has motivated you to do female number in female getup?
I felt that my own aesthetics can give justice to any form of visual – dance or painting. Hence my dance and dressing helps my painting and vice versa.
In our society when males show inclination towards female dressing, makeups, dances or any cross dressing they are tagged to gender issues, have you ever come across such awkward situations?
Superb question but to be honest people have always respected me as an artist and nothing more than that, at least on my face! And I believe in things which I personally experience and not by what people say about the same behind my back. I am not at all interested in that.
What you like the most – A male or female get up?
I like myself as a person. Get up should not change the originality and it should look genuine.
Have you ever come across a situation where men had a crush on you?
I have experience this situation many times in my life. But I have no memory of any man trying his luck in an indecent way when I am in a female costume.
You also do Lavni (traditional folk dance of Maharashtra). Did you undergo training for that?
I never had any formal training but yes I experimented and observed since my childhood. Though I believe any art form grows with the age of the artist still there is so much to explore and learn new things in life.
What other forms of dances do you perform?
Dance is my way of telling a story and representing my own thoughts. I can dance on any number you play. Language or a type of music can’t restrict me when I am myself. I have enough understanding of feelings than lyrics and actions. I also do folk, western, contemporary and I am also a hobby dancer.
Did you ever had a chance to work in cinema?
Yes but I am not very serious about it yet.
You hail from a very small village in drought hit Ahmednagar district and are trying your luck in Mumbai since seven years. Where have you achieved till date?
Now I am better as a person and I am known as an artist far than what I was seven years back. A big fan following encourages me to perform better everytime. At the same time, I am concerned for their betterment as well.
What are the challenges for an artist to reach his/her goals?
Being true to own self and still struggling hard to gel with the commercial and techno world now. I find it tough to being pure to production in today’s fast paced world. Maintaining originality and pure production is a challenge which I have to encounter.
Do you recollect any suffocating moment during this struggle?
It is suffocating at times when I am swimming out of the flux.
Any memorable good moment you would like to share?
I met wonderful people through art and also grabbed lot of respect for the art forms performed by me. All these moments are memorable.
What would be your message for our readers?
I personally feel god has gifted this life to explore and grow as a person and leave something behind which society needs for betterment. Believe more in what is within you and not in what hundred others are doing. Nothing equals anything. What matters is originality of oneself. Live life to its fullest.