Cast: Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Prabhu Deva, Nora Fatehi
Director: Remo D’Souza
Much like ‘ABCD 2’ (2015), this Remo D’Souza dance film packs in some amazing pieces of choreography, but falters on the plot front. From the streets of Mumbai, this motley group (familiar faces from ‘ABCD’ and ‘ABCD 2’) of talented dancers has now moved to London. While the production quality has improved, the storytelling, not so much!
‘Street Dancer 3D’ at the outset looks like a dance film about two rival teams — one from India, led by Sahej (Varun Dhawan), and the other from Pakistan, led by Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor). These two are engaged in constant one-upmanship, whether it comes cricket matches between their national teams or their own street dance routines. The two engage in verbal spats and are always trying to outdo each other as dancers.
If the story had stuck to this basic premise, I guess, it could have followed a coherent plot trajectory. But the writer-director Remo D’Souza decides to add more elements to the mix. So, we have a parallel storyline about Sahej trying to fulfil his elder brother’s wishes and an altruistic effort by Anna (Prabhu Deva) to provide food for poor immigrants from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). The sub-plots were probably meant to break the monotony of the dance narrative, but the mediocrity of the script fails to do justice to the actual story.
The two rival groups decide to participate in a dance competition, known as ‘Ground Zero’, where the competition is supposed to be very tough and the winning team stands to make big bucks. Prabhu Deva is roped in by one team and the others are urged to join and participate as one, because, well, India and Pakistan against the British — an obvious response to years of Imperialism.
Most of the film plays out like a montage of highly-stylised dance sequences — much like the dance reality shows that we have seen over the past few years. The dancing talent on display is praiseworthy, but the 3D format requires a lot of gimmicks to be packed in for each performance. As a result, the group dances have too many moves and seem to go too fast to be actually enjoyable. It completely rests on Prabhu Deva’s dancing prowess to keep the audience mesmerised with his solo performance. The other dance piece that is really enjoyable is the one where the two brothers, played by Varun and Punit, perform together. The rest is lost amid a flurry of flips, backflips, pelvic thrusts and visual effects.
After a dream run at the box office, this is the second time (after ‘Kalank’) where Varun fails to impress. He seems to walk around with a constant frown and fails to rise above the flimsy script. I fail to understand why Shraddha Kapoor was cast in this role: she neither has the moves nor the oomph to carry off the persona of a dancing diva. I can’t help but compare this, yet again, to the dance numbers that Katrina Kaif has pulled off in Kamli (‘Dhoom 3’), Cheekni Chameli (‘Agneepath’) or even as Sheila (‘Joker’) — I know of people who bought the tickets to see her dance on the big screen. Shraddha, alas, fails to impress.
This is a well-intentioned dance film that wants to talk about the migrant crisis and the need to forget our petty differences . It is also, sadly, a film that desperately needed better writing. The song-and-dance routine starts getting to you after a point. And what is this competition where the participants are free to swap sides whenever they want?
If only intent was be the yardstick to measure a film’s success! Watch ’Street Dancer 3D’ if you want to watch Nora Fatehi move and groove. There’s really nothing more to it.