Starring: Prabhudeva, Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Raghavan Juyal, Dharmesh Yelande
Directed by Remo D'Souza
ABCD2 feeds on the Step Up franchisee, very unabashedly at that. Like Step Up, not only does it aim at the youth as its core audience but is even structured like most of the recent dance movies from the West. Which means a string of spectacular dance set-pieces linked together by random scenes, a wisp of a story and kindergarten-level Hinglish lines for dialogue. Sample: “Tumhari poojya mataji died with ghunghroos on”. However, to underline the Indianness of the context the victory cries of the dancers are, predictably, “Ganapati bappa morya” and “Bharat mata ki jai”.
Acting is also least important in the scheme of things. Everything is a filler. Even the Sachin-Jigar music is there to just serve the moves. It’s dance all the way. And everyone delivers adequately on that count. Understandable, considering the director himself—Remo D’Souza—is a career choreographer. However, things do get stretched beyond a point and the dance—with its jumps and flips, bodily athleticism and contortions and nth take on Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk—ends up seeming repetitive. It feels like an extension of a TV dance show, one that goes on and on. Why, there’s even Comedy With Kapil shoved in the frames. Like in most heart-tugging of TV talent shows, the focus here is on a bunch of underdogs who want to rise above their limiting circumstances. So we have team Mumbai Stunners from Nalasopara. Suru (Varun) works in a lounge bar, Vinnie (Shraddha) in a beauty salon and there are a bunch of others. All want to regain their lost respect after being knocked out of a competition for copying from a Filipino dance group. So they head for a hip hop dance competition in Las Vegas under the guidance of the brilliant guru, Vishnu Sir (Prabhudeva), who also has some other plans hatching on the sly, all to add up an element of unnecessary mystery. The emotional chops come in the form of a hearing-impaired dancer who helps the filmmaker assert that anyone who can feel the music can dance. And, of course, there’s Suru’s sentimental speech seeking a second chance for redeeming their earlier mistakes. The Begunaah dance set-piece that follows works the best. As does Prabhudeva’s ever-so-flexible turn in the Happy Hour song.
The 3D SFX add to the spectacle. But the third dimension serves as a gimmick rather than a thought or philosophy, as in Wim Wenders’s immersive Pina, on the legendary dancer-choreographer Pina Bausch and her Tanztheater Wuppertal. What struck me about 3D is how lean it makes everyone look: Shraddha with barely an inch of a waist, Varun in all his six-pack glory and Prabhudeva slender beyond imagination. Not the best film to watch if you are not in the fittest of frames yourself.