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Extended reality show

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right stepsstill from the film ‘ABCD’
right stepsstill from the film ‘ABCD’

For long we have been waiting for a film around contemporary dance forms which have emerged on the scene in the last decade courtesy dance- based reality shows on television. Once upon a time we had films like Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and Navrang where dance played a crucial role in taking the narrative forward and after a long gap choreographer-turned-director Remo D’ Souza, who is regularly seen as a judge on reality shows, has come up with a film that is rather flaky in content but has enough to keep you interested if you are a fan of hip hop or B-boying.

Remo draws liberally from Step Up franchise and tries to see the situations in Indian conditions. So we have a choreographer Vishnu (Prabhu Deva) who is booted out from a reputed dance academy run by a shrewd businessman Jahangir (Kay Kay Menon) who sees dance as a form to impress while Vishnu calls it a means of expression.

Well, Vishnu goes to the grass roots, picks a set of boys and girls and challenges Jahangir’s boys on a popular reality show. In between we have the usual concerns of local politics, jealousy over love, drug addiction, that affect the unity of the dance group. Then there is a Muslim boy D (Dharmesh), whose father doesn’t want him to take dance as a profession. Remo has ticked off all expected plot points and fails to surprise with the treatment. Full of contrived situations, the screenplay unravels like those back stories of the participants that we see on reality television.

D’Souza has cast actual dancers and choreographers for important roles. So besides Prabhu, we have Ganesh Acharya as his buddy and Dharmesh Yelande and Salman Yusuf, the winners of a popular dance-based reality show to take the narrative forward. Interestingly like Remo, both Ganesh and Prabhu are directors now. It helps in making the dance sequences believable.

Prabhu’s solo act is easily the best of the lot but when it comes to emotional outbursts the masters of steps are found wanting in choreographing emotions. Prabhu manages to underplay but the effort shows when he faces Kay Kay, who is in form. Ganesh matches his size in loudness and Dharmesh’s eyes refuse to express anything. Anybody might dance but anybody can’t emote on screen! We expected Remo to bring in an insider’s knowledge of how these shows operate. But apart from one or two manoeuvrings of Jahangir, he hasn’t really gone into the details. The one that stands out is the way how money bags and ‘funny’ participants are allowed to overshadow talent. 3D is just for gimmicks and the dance movements begin to get repetitive towards the end. A little more classical element could have brought variety to the proceedings.

A must for the addicts of reality shows but for the rest there is enough realism to catch up this week on screen.

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ABCD

Genre:Dance drama

Cast:Prabhu Deva, Kay Kay Menon, Ganesh Acharya, Dharmesh, Salman Yusuf

Plot:A dance teacher avenges his insult by putting together a rag tag team of youngsters

Bottom line:A missed opportunity.


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