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Aaja Nachle

Genteel, winsome, directed with restraint. Some of the best dialogue in recent times, resting on a core of quietude.

Aaja Nachle
Aaja Nachle
Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak, Konkana Sen, Akshay Khanna, Kunal Kapoor
Directed by Anil Mehta
Rating: ***

Madhuri Dixit is to the camera born. She has a wonderful delicacy of expression and a rapport with the camera which makes acting seem effortless. But fans used to her crowd-pleasing moments may be a trifle disappointed here. Her moves are subdued in sensuality and she doesn’t quite play to the gallery as she has been wont to. Which is the charm of Aaja Nachle and Madhuri’s comeback. The star doesn’t hog the scenes but recedes to the background to let the story play itself out. The big moments are reserved for the many small people and what wonderful small people they are.

The story is all about NRI Madhuri returning to her home town to resurrect the local Ajanta theatre through a performance involving the locals. As an ensemble film, Aaja deftly defines its people and their relationships. It makes the characters throb with life. Take Mohan (Ranvir), the village tea vendor, just one scene of him ironing away the creases of the poster of the woman he loves is enough to tell you it’s a lifelong, albeit one-sided commitment for him. It’s these people who create the right textures for Shamli, a small town in the throes of consumerism, where theatre fights the mall, where dance itself has acquired a Bollywood touch. In the midst of real situations, Madhuri herself is more real than a diva. She plays her age, whether in her interactions with her daughter (very natural Americanised kid) or her flirtation with a younger man (Akshay). Stylistically too, the film is adventurous, telescoping time and establishing the entire context in one song at the very start and then using a long theatre performance of Laila Majnu (great lyrics by Piyush Mishra, forget that one offensive line) in the climax. Of course, there are problems. The dancer-mentor relationship could have been better explored, the guru could have avoided those silly flowing gowns and Madhuri’s whirling dervish dance could’ve been better put together. The audition scene feels clunky and pray what is Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev poster doing in the guru’s recorded message to his shishya? But overall Aaja is genteel and winsome and directed with restraint. Some of the best dialogue in recent times, resting on a core of quietude.

High Fives


1. Aja Nachle
2. Goal
3. Om Shanti Om
3. Jab We Met
4. Bhool Bhulaiyaa


1. Enchanted
2. Beowulf
3. This Christmas
4. Hitman
5. Awake

Music Videos

1. The Ultimate Hits (Pearl)
2. Beyonce Experience (Columbia)
3. One Man Band (Starcon/Hear)
4. Future Sex/Love Sounds
5. Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007

Courtesy: Film Information

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