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ABCD: Any Body Can Dance (2013) - Hindi Movie Review

ABCD: Any Body Can Dance (2013) - Hindi Movie Review

Cast :
  • Prabhu Deva as Vishnu
  • Ganesh Acharya as Gopi
  • Kay Kay Menon as Jehangir Khan
  • Lauren Gottlieb as Rhea
  • Pankaj Tripathi
  • Dharmesh Yelande as De
  • Salman Yusuff Khan as Rocky
  • Saroj Khan in a special appearance
Directed by : Remo D'Souza
Produced by : Siddharth Roy Kapur
Written by : Tushar Hiranandani
Singers : Shankar Mahadevan, Vishal Dadlani, Mohit Chauhan, Priya Panchal, Tanvi Shah, Deane Sequeira, Udit Narayan, Mika Singh, Anushka Manchanda, Raman Mahadevan, Jigar Saraiya, Madhav Krishna, Suraj Jagan, Hard Kaur
Music by : Sachin Jigar
Cinematography : Vijay Kumar Arora
Distributed by : UTV Motion Pictures

Bollywood is largely known for its song and dance routine. Yet films primarily centered on dance have been few and far between. Furthermore decent films in the dance genre are even rare. Amidst this Any Body Can Dance (ABCD) is perhaps the first dance film directed by a proficient choreographer. While the technically informed and experienced Remo D’Souza knows almost the A to Z of choreography, this is a film which attests how adept he is at the ABCD of storytelling!

The premise of the plot is pretty basic. Vishnu (Prabhu Deva) disassociates himself from Jehangir’s (Kay Kay Menon) dance academy over difference of ideologies. While
seeking shelter in his friend Gopi’s (Ganesh Acharya) house, he comes across some boys in the locality in whom he sees potential dancers and decides to coach them. Despite differences, the local gangs headed by Rocky (Salman Yusuf Khan) and D (Dharmesh Yelande) come together and are mentored by Vishnu to participate in a group dance competition for a TV show where Jehangir’s troupe has been a regular winner.

Having Prabhu Deva as the lead in a dance film, one might get carried away with the thought that half the battle is won. However director Remo D’Souza neither overuses the dancer nor underutilizes his potential. While Prabhu Deva remains an integral part of the narrative from opening to end, he comes up with his first dance act only at the interval point. Expectedly he is exceptional in his dancing, but while at one hand you feel the film has taken a little too long to boot, on the other hand it gives a high-pitched interval point and also justifies the narrative, while not exploiting Deva’s presence to gimmicky levels.

With Vishnu getting on his own pretty early in the plot, the film gets straight to the point from the start. However post that it expends too much time in the buildup of the dance company and nothing much happens in the first half. For the dancing troupe, Remo employs real dancers over actors. While it certainly aids the authenticity of pure dancing that the film demands, then again it takes time for the viewer to accustom to the anonymous cast. Also they appeal more as artistes than actors.

With too many characters in the ensemble troupe, the focus keeps frequently shifting from one to other and somewhere you feel lost in the crowd. Their team-building is quite uninspiring and characterizations mostly half-baked. Further since the writing is kinda patchy and the actors are largely raw, you remain indifferent to their individual conflicts. You don’t feel much for the characters until somewhere in the second half you perceive some progression in the plot and the performances.

Most of the story progresses through song and dance. At instances you feel there is an overdose of the song and dance routine but then what else can you expect from a dance film. Sachin-Jigar’s music, while adequate, does lack the X-factor one expects from a dance film. With Remo D’Souza at the helm of affairs and the major cast comprising of professional dancers, the choreography of the film is unarguably fascinating. However there is recurrence of seemingly Remo’s favourite form of lock-n-pop and hip-hop and thereby intermittently one doesn’t experience much visible variation in the choreography.

The 3D in ABCD, the first for an Indian dance film, could have been a huge pull-factor but ends up being sorely disappointing. The stereography is quite mediocre and except for a select few sequences, there aren’t any great effects as such, despite the immense scope that the new genre offers. Also for a 3D film, the runtime is overtly long at more than 2 hours. Even the production values are quite tacky.

The film actually gains momentum as the narrative nears the dance competition. It scores big time with a strong climax and an inspiringly choreographed act in the grand finale which absorbs the audience and substantiates the title that any body can dance. Such stimulating is the end that it overpowers all shortcomings of the film. It’s the spirit of dancing more than the dance per se that clicks with the viewer.

Prabhu Deva, despite his accented Hindi, is perfect in his part. The roly-poly Ganesh Acharya comes in as a comic relief but often sounds pansy and unpolished. Kay Kay
Menon is functional. From the dancing troupe Lauren Gottlieb, Salman Yusuf Khan and Dharmesh Yelande, though raw actors, make a decent debut.

Any body craving for dancing will enjoy Any Body Can Dance!

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