When we look back at the glorious days of Bollywood, our mind is flooded with images of actors prancing around trees and singing amid the snow-clad mountains. The Hindi film industry has been synonymous with dance and song sequences and it definitely is Bollywood’s calling card to the rest of the world. Apart from defining Indian cinema, these two elements of filmmaking have done more than just being relief. There have been instances when dance and song sequences have defined the narrative of the film.
On Monday, Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif announced their collaboration – a dance movie. Directed by director-choreographer Remo D’Souza, the 3D dance drama will also star dancing icon and actor Prabhudheva and will hit the screens on November 8, 2019. The announcement of the dance film had us revisiting the movies which had the art form as a dominant element in them. While we await to hear if this Varun and Katrina starrer is the third instalment of the hit ABCD franchise, here is a throwback to Bollywood films which had dance as a dominant factor in the narrative.
We Dance to EXPRESS not to IMPRESS. THE #BIGGESTDANCEFILM EVER IN 3D is here,
8th November 2⃣0⃣1⃣9⃣🕺🏻
Let’s do this. #BhushanKumar @tseries.official @katrinakaif @remodsouza #LizelleDsouza @prabhudheva pic.twitter.com/QsUNnr0T0P
— Varun DAN Dhawan (@Varun_dvn) March 19, 2018
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955)
The 1955 film directed by V. Shantaram was a story about two passionate dancers Girdhar (Gopi Krishna) and Neela (Sandhya) who fall in love while practising their art. Their love comes in their way of winning the title of Bharat Natarajan and they eventually part ways.
Disco Dancer (1982)
The Mithun Chakraborty starrer introduced disco dancing in Bollywood and gave Mithun the title of ‘disco dancer’. His moves in the song “I am a Disco Dancer” became a rage in the country. The actor changed the dance culture of the country in the 80s giving Bollywood his own version of disco dancing. The plot of the film revolved around a street performer Anil who goes on to become a sensation when his skills are noticed by Om Puri, who plays a manager. The other songs of the movie “Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja” and “Yaad Aa Raha Hai” are still a favourite of Bollywood fans.
Naache Mayuri (1986)
The 1986 T. Rama Rao directorial starred Sudha Chandran. The film, a remake of Telugu film Mayuri narrated the story of Bharatnatyam dancer Chandran who lost her leg in an accident but didn’t give up on dancing. After getting an artificial foot, she went ahead to learn dancing again.
Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)
Yash Chopra’s 1997 musical romantic drama starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor changed the way audiences looked at Bollywood dance. Ace-choreographer Shiamak Davar made his debut in the Hindi film industry with the movie and introduced the dance form Jazz to the audience of Hindi cinema. His work was appreciated so much so that he won the National Award for the film.
Dance had an important role to play in the plot of the film. Shah Rukh aka Rahul essayed the role of a play director who is in search of a dancer of his dreams, Maya for a show. Nisha (Karisma Kapoor), the lead dancer of Rahul’s dance troupe is in love with Rahul and cannot imagine anyone else taking her place in the troupe. The third angle in the story comes when Pooja (Madhuri Dixit), an aspiring dancer joins the troupe after Nisha accidentally hurts her ankle and is on bed rest. Eventually, Pooja and Rahul fall in love during the dance rehearsals but there love story too hits a roadblock when Pooja’s fiance Ajay (Akshay Kumar) returns. The climax of the movie has some of the best dance performances by ever so graceful dancer-actor Madhuri.
Aaja Nachle (2007)
The film marked the return of spectacular dancer Madhuri Dixit on the silver screen. Here she played a choreographer Dia who does everything that it takes to save the dance theatre Ajanta owned by her dance teacher after his death. It is with a powerful dance performance that Dia manages to stop the demolition of the theatre.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)
The theme of this Yash Chopra film was romance twinned with comedy and dance. Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma played a man and wife in the movie. To make his wife live her dream of winning a dance competition, a simple 9-5 worker Shah Rukh (Surinder Sahni) transforms into Rocking Raj and accompanies his Tani partner (Anushka) in the dance competition. The last dance competition in the movie is the one which left many impressed with debutante Anushka’s tryst with dance.
Munna Michael (2017)
The dance drama starring Tiger Shroff and Nawazuddin Siddiqui was a tribute to dancing legend Michael Jackson. Directed by Sabbir Khan the film had Tiger playing Munna, a born dancer who goes out to challenge the dancers of various dance clubs. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a gangster, gets impressed with his dancing skills and asks him to teach him how to dance. During the dance training sessions, Tiger and Nawazuddin become best of friends and Tiger even tries his best to get Nawazuddin the girl he loves. The film tanked at the box office but as always Tiger’s dancing skills were appreciated by all.
Remo D’Souza directorial Anybody Can Dance (ABCD) marked the coming together of Dance India Dance contestants Dharmesh Yelande, Punit Pathak, Salman Khan, Mayuresh Wadkar and others. The bunch of these dancers came together on the silver screen for the first time and the film was touted as Bollywood’s version of Hollywood dance franchise Step Up. Prabhudheva played the role of a dance teacher who makes his own dance troupe with a bunch of street dancers whose dancing skills he notices at Ganpati Visarjan. He trains them for India’s top dance competition Dance Dil Se and as they (Dharmesh, Mayuresh, Salman, Lauren Gottlieb and others) performed, the audience witnessed some exuberant dance performances on the silver screen.
Happy New Year (2014)
Though the Shah Rukh Khan starrer was a revenge drama, dance played an important role in driving the plot of the movie. Shah Rukh Khan (Charlie) with his friends played by Sonu Sood, Boman Irani, Abhishek Bachchan and Vivaan Shah plan to participate in world dance championship to avenge the death of Shah Rukh’s father. They are joined by bar-dancer Deepika Padukone (Mohini) who aspires to open her own dance school.
ABCD 2 (2015)
A sequel to 2013 release ABCD, director Remo D’Souza came up with the second instalment of his dance film, this time with big names associated with it. Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor played the lead roles in the movie along with other Dance India Dance participants Raghav Juyal, Punit Pathak and Dharmesh Yelande. The story of the film revolves around a group of underdog hip-hop dancers, who want to relive their golden days. ABCD 2 had its heart in the right place and that is – dance. Much of the film is inspired by real-life story of a Mumbai group who made it to the world hip-hop championships a few years ago under tough circumstances.