The O Saki Saki video on YouTube has more than 5 MILLION views as I write this article. I firmly believe 1 million out of those come from me.
I have seen the video so many times, marveling at the ease with which Nora Fatehi goes about doing those back-breaking steps. It never gets old.
Safe to say, she is one of the best dancers in the country and is rightly getting the spotlight she deserves.
Now, that is a fact that everyone knows. What people don’t know is the struggle that went into the making of Nora Fatehi as we know her today.
Coming from Canada, Nora grew up watching Indian movies and was particularly fascinated with Devdas for its grandeur and drama. So, when she was approached by her then-agent in Canada regarding opportunities in India, she immediately said yes.
However, she admits that she may have gotten ahead of herself as she landed in India without any contacts or knowledge of Hindi. That is when reality hit her.
When I reached India it was nothing like that. I had the biggest shock of my life…The struggle I went through, the bullying, the rejection, the traumatic experience.
She met some evil people on the way who stole her passport. As a result, she was deported to Canada and had to make her way back to India. And then there were others who’d call her for auditions, knowing she is not from the country, and ask her to read dialogues in Hindi.
Nora would say, “I’ll try”, and then they’d all laugh – something she did not appreciate and confronted them regarding.
I spent hours, weeks, months… years with my Hindi coach and he’d tell me “I am so proud of you”. And then I would go to an audition and people would laugh in front of me. High-fiving each other; and I’d be like “how f*cking dare you?”. Wait till I leave, at least.
Another challenge she faced was that of identity. People would tell her “do you even understand what it means to be Indian?”. She says that initially it used to irk her, but now she sort of gets where they were coming from.
Nora cried in the autos, she lived with 8 people in the same house – most of them really vicious, she was made fun of, she was called names, she was humiliated when she was just trying her best.
But none of this could break her spirit, because she did not want to go back home and prove the naysayers right. It was unacceptable for her to accept defeat and it is the result of that hard work that she is at a point where she can easily claim to be the best at a very important skill. In all of Bollywood.
She does admit, though, that things were really rough and it breaks her heart to think that there must be so many people who give up, but could have contributed a lot if they hadn’t. Or if the opportunities had come their way.
All of this puts her ‘overnight success’ into perspective and while we struggle to settle on one adjective for her, she has no problem doing it. “Amazing”, she says. Amazing it is then!
You can watch the whole video, here: