The first thing a good dance movie ought to do is give us numbers that make us want to leap up to our feet right there in the aisle, and go shake-shimmy-shake.
On that score alone, Street Dancer 3D, the third in the ABCD line, flubs it. Except for maybe two-and-a-half dance numbers which are passable, you are just sitting there, wondering just why is it so difficult to choreograph original, rousing sequences: the others are as much as a drag as the film.
The film is based in London, so the two chief competing gangs have to be, naturally, Indian and Pakistani: the first is headed by hot-headed Sahaj (Dhawan), the other by pretty Inayat (Kapoor). Perhaps recognizing that neither is exactly fleet-footed, she much less than he, a sub-plot involving illegal immigration is shoe-horned into the film. But it ends up sticking out clumsily, added only to add teary melodrama about ‘apna watan’, and the longing to return home.
But the real trouble is that the dances are so seen-it-before, so-not-exciting. The two teams squabble while watching India and Pakistan play cricket, minded by club-owner Ram Prasad (Prabhudheva), who is given lots of time showing off his trademark moves (his iconic number “Muqabala” is given a long make-over), and it says something about the quality of the rest of it, that it stands out, regardless. As does Fatehi, who burns it up, whenever she gets a chance.
Another film would have made something of the fact that its two warring-but-will-turn-into-loving leads belong to ‘enemy’ countries. But all this one does is have Sahaj, repping Big Brother India, lecture Inayat’s conservative family, so she is ‘allowed’ to do what pleases her. Still, when the film starts making noises about India-Pakistan bhai-bhai, with the almost-forgotten ‘mile sur mera tumhara’ ringing in the background, you want to give it a bravery award: any talk of ‘bhaichara’ in these times deserves attention, even if it stays strictly on the stage.
If only the dancing were better.
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