Dance is definitely in the air! For Indian cinema, dance was never an option, nor was it a “want”, it was a need! We’re known for our musicals; musicals that set ablaze stories of a lifetime through footsteps. Continuing in this very tradition comes the latest outing from tinsel town boldly titled Let’s Dance. The film brings memories of several Hollywood feature films on the subject and even some home-grown pieces features but it’s still worth a watch.
It’s always rather exciting to walk into a cinema hall to witness brand new talent. You have no pre-conceived notions many a times and are simply ready to take the plunge. With the inextricably linked with its own politics, established stars usually unconsciously bring a piece of their lives to the screen as well. So it’s rather refreshing to witness talent for what it is, with no strings attached. Let’s Dance offers this very rare opportunity and is the launch of Gayatri Patel, Ajay Chaudhry and Abhaas Yadav amongst many more. So what do these fresh faces and a script promising to deliver the dancing extravaganza of the year have to offer? Read on to find out!
The film begins with perhaps a flashback of RGV’s Rangeela with the entrance of Suhani (Patel) dancing on the streets of Mumbai with no care in the world! She’s an aspiring artist in the world of dance. She strives to one day feature in the renowned RJ’s (Aquib Afzal) music video and whilst striving towards this dream she runs a dance school for kids. Of course there is a man in the picture as well and that would be Neil (Ajay Chadhary) who despite being a stranger initially to Suhani, knew more about her dreams then she did. Now we have a man in the picture, a dream in sight so what is missing? Ah of course the best friend, Anushka (Sughanda Garg aka Shaleen from JTYJN) who, like Neil, may just know more than Suhani about what it’ll take for her dreams to turn into reality. Next up is the mission of a lifetime that the young dancing tornado embarks on. On her way home one evening she encounters a group of young street kids dancing by the road in a style that many would consider only native to those born and bred in a dancing studio but here it is running through the veins of children who have not much to smile about yet continue to dance the night away! Let’s Dance is not only the story of Suhani but how her journey intertwines with these kids who have more talent than any star on the big screen but who’ve forgotten to dream. Will she succeed in her dreams? Will she be able to make the kids dream again, and if so, will those dreams ever come true? Well that you’ll have to see for yourself!
Usually we’d leave the critique for the choreography for later, but with a film like Let’s Dance, this is the most important aspect of the film! The film features numbers of all genres; classical, contemporary, jazz, hip hop and many more! All in all an absolute dancing treat! The list of choreographers, Saroj Khan, Pappu, Mallu, Rajiv Goswami and Longiness Fernandes, are as versatile thus justifying how each and every form of dance has been choreographed to the optimum level.
Story by Mauzzam Beg forms a strong base for the entire film but the screenplay fails to hold your attention at all times. Dialogues by Sibtain Shahidi are strong at times, but at other times they just don’t. Indian cinema has yet to grasp the use of English and Hindi in a perfect blend with class instead of a ‘try-hard’ tag. Cinematography by Nirmal Jain, costumes by Samina Sheik and art direction by Sunil and Ratan prove to be a highlight of the film. Rarely does one come across a film that’s based in Mumbai which keeps to its ethnic roots in terms of realistic character images and down to earth sets. One doesn’t expect a struggling dancer to have a studio that resembles Shaimak Davar’s dancing academy nor does one expect her to be marching around in Gucci and Prada. Thankfully, those in charge kept this in mind and don’t make this common mistake which at times seems inherent to Indian cinema.
Now to the performances! Gayatri Patel makes a confident debut with no glimpse of inhibitions in front of the camera. The actress has the correct attitude and body language and manages to blend with the character perfectly. Perhaps it helps that her life in terms of her passion for dance is not much different from that of Suhani’s. Of course a newcomer by no means has to be perfect and Gayatri has room for improvement. However with a great start she’s surely someone to watch out for. Same can be said for Ajay Chaudhry who is basally confident and content in the skin of Neil. Sughanda Garg mkes her presence felt however one wonders when such a talented lady will be considered for roles that aren’t “the best friend”! Abhaas Yadav has to be one of the most expressive youngsters the silver screen has seen in a very long time. The young boy excels not only in his dialogue sequences as the tapori but also shines in his dance performance. In particular, his expressions and body language portraying the pain of Aftab’s life in the final performance is worth a special mention.
To come to a conclusion Let’s Dance definitely has authenticity and hard work and wasn’t a film rolled out in the spur of the moment like countless titles that hit the screens nowadays. However, it does lack a certain ‘X’ factor, something to set it far apart from other films on the same subject matter. At the least it remains credible and definitely not a waste of time! Despite its obvious flaws, give this one a watch if you have a moment, it’s definitely something different this season!