Some of the best on-screen dance talents come together for a riveting climactic mela in Anybody Can Dance, dubbed in Tamil as Aadalaam Boys Chinnadha Dance (U) that features Prabhu Deva as the protagonist. Themed to suit the dance star to perfection, the idea is fresh and the dancers prove to be a meritorious choice. Films that stick to a particular genre are a norm in Hollywood but here it’s been a mix of everything possible — ‘masala’ is the nomenclature, and it generally sells. So it’s a welcome move that Remo D’Souza has decided to make a totally dance film with an ample dose of sentiment, love, jealousy and the — To Sir, with Love — kind of teacher-pupil equations.
Over the years, Prabhu Deva has honed his expressions well and now, delivers with aplomb, as ABCD shows. The role is a breeze for the multi-faceted veteran. Quiet, subdued and dignified even in anger, Prabhu Deva shows that it’s not dance alone that he can excel in. In comparison, Kay Kay Menon, the antagonist is a caricature of villainy that we are so used to in cinema. This time round Ganesh Acharya’s job is restricted to providing levity and he achieves it. Dharmesh as D, the initially rebellious and soon an ardent student of dance, who pursues the art in spite of stiff opposition from his father, garners notice. So do Salman Yusuf Khan, who plays Rocky, and Lauren Gottlieb — Rhea in the film.
When Vishnu (Prabhu Deva) and Jahangir (Kay Kay Menon) lock horns in the opening sequences it’s clear that the base of the story is rivalry reaching the levels of chicanery. Weaving in various saleable elements, Remo D’ Souza manages to keep your interest alive. The friendship, animus and angst that the students share have been worked out clearly, despite melodrama lifting its head now and then.
Potholes in the storyline are many. At the beginning you get the feeling that reality shows have their share of politics, and underhand deals that can make a loser win and vice versa. You sit up for an inside view of the way such shows operate but D’Souza suddenly decides to play it safe. So eventually you are told that only the capable win.
Choreography, also by Remo D’Souza, is a strong point. Forget plausibility. The final dance sequence is undoubtedly an energising experience. The vim, vigour and vitality on display are almost palpable. Very intelligently, in this segment, the director incorporates religious sentiment, and the belief that the deserving always wins — ABCD’s climax warrants applause.
ABCD is promoted as ‘India’s first dance film in 3D’. But the purpose is puzzling, because in this case the 3D inclusion is redundant. Probably as a pioneering effort in the genre, it deserves to be noted. Dance based films aren’t new in the West. More recently, Simbu’s Podaa Podi was a dance romance. Despite the clichés and predictable turns D’Souza’s dance film remains faithful to the genre.
ABCD is for those who revel in modern dance forms with a dash of the traditional.