There’s no easy way to say this: instead of bothering with a script, director Remo D’Souza (A Flying Jatt, Race 3) and his writer Tushar Hiranandani should have just collated a bunch of TikTok videos and strung them together.
Because Street Dancer 3D is an alarmingly moronic film.
Varun Dhawan (Sehej) and Shraddha Kapoor (Inayat) play dancers who live in London but have their roots in India and Pakistan respectively. They get into violent battles (there’s a scene where Kapoor stabs a fork on Dhawan’s butt), waste a whole lot of food in a bar they patronise and generally live the shabby-chic life until Kapoor sees… poor people.
She’s so moved by their plight that her life changes. In one scene she is throwing donuts at a dude’s face, next thing you know, she creepily stares at homeless people eating leftovers. In fact, after watching them, she goes home and says, “Aaj main pet bhar ke khaoongi.”
I’m not making this up—there are unbearable scenes where the camera zooms in on homeless people as they devour leftovers. It’s the kind of clueless exploitation which is embarrassing and discomforting to watch.
The reason? You gotta make a dance film that’s more than, just, you know dancing. But Remo, literally nobody, not a single person, expects a movie about dancing (that too in 3D) to be a social commentary on the migrant crisis. There’s no beat to it. But well, it’s Bollywood, and this is probably their idea of alleviating guilt that comes with privilege? A CSR movie if you may.
In any case, Kapoor and Dhawan’s passive aggressive relationship and unreleased sexual tension finds its way on the dance floor; Nora Fatehi does what she’s exceedingly good at: mean moves; while somewhere out there, homeless people on the streets of London battle it out with the cops and the climate. Is the title a metaphor for something deeper? Hmm.
What worked for the first two movies was the fact that it delivered on what it promised: dancing. The first film, ABCD, had professional dancers as actors, the second had a simple yet engaging story aided by Kapoor and Dhawan’s star power. The third film is simply sloppy: the dances aren’t too impressive, and nobody asked for this India-Pak-London love triangle.
And then there are the random, cliched speeches by Prabhudeva. In one segment he goes on and on about how “two negatives make a positive and united we stand, divided we fall.” Mr. Modi, are you listening? The idea is to unite the Indians and the Pakistanis to become one team, win an ultimate dance face-off which will make award them with enough money for the... illegal immigrants... to be deported back home.
Wait, what? Never mind.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.