How to ace the seductive ‘Gaja Gamini’ walk, a la Bibbojaan from 'Heeramandi'

When done well, the walking can do all the talking.

22 May, 2024
How to ace the seductive ‘Gaja Gamini’ walk, a la Bibbojaan from 'Heeramandi'

The courtesans and their performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar continue to shine bright weeks after its release earlier this month. While audiences were thoroughly impressed with the lavish sets, costumes, dance, and music, it was Aditi Rao Hydari’s stunning and sensual ‘Gaja Gamini’ walk that was one of the standout moments in the series, so much so that it has become a viral sensation all over social media. 

If you're not up to speed on what we're discussing, allow us to introduce you to a step rooted in the Kamasutra. There’s a remarkable scene in the song 'Saiyaan Hatto Jaao', where Bibbojaan (Hydari) effortlessly captures Nawab Ali's (Fardeen Khan) attention with her graceful gait, infectious charm, and performance. It's a flawless rendition of the 'Gaja Gamini' walk at its very best.

What is the Gaja Gamini walk? 

"Gaja Gamini" in Sanskrit translates to "one with the gait of an elephant." The walk is therefore said to be graceful, dignified, and perhaps a slightly regal walk, akin to the majestic gait of an elephant. The 'Gaja Gamini Walk' conveys the idea of women with a curved body shape, large hips, and graceful personalities. While it is being lauded for its sensual style, Hydari is earning all the praise for a remarkable display of being confident in one's body. The Kamasutra, the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on sexuality and eroticism, associates elephants with ‘unrestrained raw sexual power’ considering the female elephant to be very lustful and vulgar in their attitude and appearance.

Add to that, this particular walk is also mentioned in the Mahabharat. Draupadi is described as a Mada-gaja-gamini, indicating women who walked like cows and elephants. In simpler terms, this walk symbolises a large, voluptuous, graceful woman, inspired by the swaying hips of an elephant.

That said, Hydari joins an illustrious list of actors who have captivated audiences with the 'Gaja Gamini' walk, including icons such as Madhuri Dixit and Madhubala, who left audiences in awe in their respective films. While Dixit showcased this in M F Hussain's 2000 film, Madhubala did the same in the epic period film Mughal-E-Azam during the song 'Mohe Panghat Pe'. And that’s exactly what’s happening in the song.

Here are a few tips that will help you ace this seductive walk. 

Blend charm with gentle flirting

You don’t need words when charm meets desire. All that the dancer, in this case Hydari's character, does is be her seductive yet graceful self. There’s enough flirting between her and Nawab Ali as they exchange glances, and the former affectionately throws a flower at him. 




Walk with a slight sway in your hips

She gets up and (with her back to Ali and the camera) starts swaying her hips from left to right, shows her face (we love the eye contact here), and displays the same movement that sees the chemistry build up to temperatures so hot that it could cut through butter if it were a knife. Please note, Bibbojaan doesn't aggressively sway her hips from left to right. There is a very gentle and fluid movement in her hips, which weaves together into a rhythm of sorts. When you turn around and start walking like that, we bet your boo will just find themselves lost in the gorgeous rhythm of it, with their jaw on the floor!

Flirt using your entire body

While walking like that will definitely make it difficult for your boo to look away, there are more ways to keep them rather hooked. Bibbojaan's walk is so much more than just moving your hips from left to right. It's about feeling it in your entire body. Imagine there is a seductive BGM playing and express your feelings through your face and body.  It’s the graceful walk, off-beat with the music, but still perfectly in rhythm with the sheer subtlety of her waist movements—that’s sheer chef’s kiss.

Hold their gaze

It's not just your body but your eyes that are doing the talking as well. Watch Hydari in the song, and you'll see how effortlessly her expressions change from innocent and graceful to naughty and sexy. Whatever steps you take, try to maintain eye contact whenever you can to gauge how much your lover is craving you. Even though you won't be facing them with your back turned, this is the moment to sway your hips, knowing you're just seconds away from seeing their reaction. The beauty lies in those moments when you aren't seeing each other.

Practice makes perfect. Once you master the Gaja Gamini walk, every stride you take is sure to turn heads. Your symmetrical body alignment and rhythmic movements send a subliminal message to those watching that you're in touch with and in control of both your body and your life.

Furthermore, the walk also makes your body look more voluptuous. Long story short, walking this way won't just make you look hotter, but you’ll also feel sexier and more confident. 

Is it easy or is it tough? And why is this step so simple, yet so sexy?

The step is so much more than swaying your hips, says Kanchi Shah, choreographer and founder of Two Right Feet. "It looks very easy because you think she is only walking and showing her back. But it's not just that. There is so much technique involved in the walking; she's shifting her weight at a particular beat and the body is held tight. She is holding her core and the posture has to be a certain way. That's what sets it apart and gives it that wow factor. This kind of a move, a stop-walk, weight shift takes about an hour to master."

While one certainly believes in the ABCD philosophy that anybody can dance, Shah adds that the body will respond differently to this walk. "Anybody can do it, but everyone will respond differently. For example, Aditi Rao Hydari cannot do what Madhuri Dixit has done, and vice-versa. Both have different bodies and have a different way of shifting their weight and being that particular character. Getting into the zone is different for every individual."

As a fan of Hydari's expressive eyes, Shah says that the eyes and facial expressions for this step need simplicity. "I think she was very subtle, but she looked beautiful. Too many expressions wouldn't look good. It's a tease at the end of the day. You don't want to be fully out there. There is a curiosity that gets built up."      

Lead image: Netflix

Also read: Richa Chadha: People keep telling Mr Bhansali that he should get out of this courtesan mode, but I beg to differ

Also read: Sonakshi Sinha on playing an antagonist in 'Heeramandi' and working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali