Khan dances to own beat
By SEETA PERSAD Sunday, July 29 2012
WENDY Khan was just seven years old when she, alongside her father, began re-enacting many Bollywood scenes and dances at family gatherings. Decades later, this experience has helped Khan make a mark in the entertainment and media industry in New York.
Khan was born in Springvale, San Fernando, to Savi Gayah and Shyam Samaroo, and was just two years old when her family moved to the United States in search of a better life. Her talent as a young child had blossomed, but it was not until she was 17 that she finally had an opportunity to display this on stage in front of a live audience at a wedding reception.
Needless to say, Khan captured her audience with her pretty smile and graceful movements to the Bollywood music. It was not long after that she emerged as one of the top filmy dancers in New York. She was sought after by many of the top promoters and had the good fortune of touring with some of the more popular artistes in the music industry in New York while she was a teenager. She eventually went to host the New York Indian Variety Show, broadcasting on ITV and was also host of the radio show Bollywood Cafe on 87.7FM in the USA.
Years later, she met with producer Buddy Singh and was offered the job to host the award winning programme "The JKS TV Show" on Time Warner Cable in 2007. In 2009, she also appeared in the off Broadway show “West Indian Dreams,” a West Indian musical/drama produced by the New Age Theatre and Dheeraj Cultural Foundation, at the American Theatre of Actors in New York City.
During her career, Khan has interviewed several top name actors from Bollywood, including Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, Sharukh Khan, Sanjay Kapoor, Manna Dey and Abhishek Bachan. Her accomplishments as an artiste and media broadcaster have also earned her numerous awards and recognition throughout the years. Among her accolades are the Indo-Caribbean's “Best TV Personality;” a City Council Citation Award; US Congressional Achievement Award; NYS Woman of Distinction Award and a NY District Leader Award for Music, Art and Culture. Apart from her profession, Khan, who has a degree in public relations and business management, is an excellent dance choreographer and dancer. In fact, she is currently the director of the popular Chynadolls Dance Company based in New York.
"Dancing is a great pastime for me. It helps me to express my culture and give me that connection to my ancestors," Khan told Sunday Newsday.
Khan said she prefers doing Bollywood film songs that carry fast-paced music because she likes to bring energy to her performances. And she does not stop working either. While currently back home on vacation, she has hosted a show at the Maracas Night Club and made an appearance at the taping of the local television series Indo Muqabla at Gulf City, San Fernando. She has been keeping herself busy in the region within recent years hosting several shows in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad. "You know when you are born in a family where Indian music and films dominated, you cannot help but gravitate towards this world of music, dance and song," she said, adding that it is almost inevitable.
Khna told Sunday Newsday that her exposure to Bollywood actors and films though her media job had helped her own career, allowing her to realize the great potential she has to reach a wide market.
"Bollywood films have an enormous market in the western countries and these stars are so popular that they perform monthly in the US for sold out crowds,” she said, adding it is the same for the Caribbean.
While it is a hectic life filming, performing and travelling, Khan says she enjoys every bit of it and would not change it for anything in the world. Talking about her home country, Khan said she was amazed at the level of talent that exists among the youths in TT.
"They are by far the best I've heard in any of the western countries I have been to," she said.
Khan said she is currently working on a number of short films involving people in the performing arts.
She had some words of advice for young persons.
“Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to make that happen.”
Her advice to those in the arts was, "Accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes as you see fit, not because you think someone else wants you to be different." She ended by saying, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”