street dancer

Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor in ‘Street Dancer 3-D.’ (photo provided)

‘Street Dancer 3-D’ is a film where a (Western-meets-Punjabi-meets-acrobatics-meets-gymnastics) dance happens every few minutes of its exorbitant length of almost two and half hours. Sahej (Varun Dhawan) is an NRI whose only dream is to fulfill his injured brother (Punit Pathak)’s dream to win the Ground Zero dancing competition in London, which he could not due to an injury. Of course, no one knows how the brothers earn their livelihood in that expensive locale.

Sahej builds a dance studio for his brother and assembles a troupe called Street Dancers. But they have to deal with a group called Rule Breakers of Pakistani origin, led by Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor) and Zayn (Salman Yusuff Khan), who are superior. For this Sahej uses his girlfriend Nora (Nora Fatehi), who comes from a group that is called The Royals, to improve their dancing.

Sahej, who has been to Punjab for a wedding, does not reveal to his brother how he managed to get enough money to buy the studio. Meanwhile, Inayat’s and Sahej’s group meet at a restaurant managed by Prabhu Anna (Prabhu Dheva) as separate entities to eat and also watch Indo-Pak matches. They naturally squabble there.

One day, while leaving the place, Inayat sees some suspicious characters entering the restaurant’s back door. On demanding an explanation, Prabhu tells her that he secretly feeds these people are illegal immigrants who are trapped in London and are of both Indian and Pakistani origin. Inayat tells her gang, who decide to enter the Ground Zero competition to help get the prize money that will help them return to their motherlands.

Meanwhile, Sahej wants to win the same competition to realize his brother’s dream, but he has a dark secret. Prabhu Anna asks the two groups to join and smash the competition. What happens next?

One wishes that director Remo D’Souza had concentrated more on the story and less on the excessive dances that (including in the competition) are of the “Seen-one-seen-them-all” kind. The convolutions in the plot apart, we also have the defunct Indo-Pak harmony leitmotif that will find few takers today. The absurdity of the Pakistanis dancing to a song extolling Lord Ganesh is also ridiculous, though it is interesting (if illogical) how Prabhu Anna shows what he truly is—but again, minus a back-story.

The music is a mixed bag, with re-creations (including from the “ABCD” series that preceded this dance film from the director) and original songs. Most of the lyrics are in Punjabi and further pull down the pan-Indian appeal. Of the lot (more than 10!), only “Garmi” and the re-created “Muqabala” stand out.

Technically, the film is a treat, especially the complex choreography by Kruti Mahesh, Rahul Shetty and Tashan Muir. Never mind if all the dances here will pale before both Indian and Western classical dance in vital matters like grace, nuances and skills. Vijay Kumar Arora's and Tushar Kanti Ray’s camerawork and the technical aspects including the impressive 3-D are fabulous. Given the weak script, Remo’s direction is alright.

Among the actors, Sharddha Kapoor scores best, including in the dances. Prabhu Dheva underplays well. Aparashakti Khurran impresses, though that track is quite illogical. Varun Dhawan is just alright. The rest serve the purpose.

The film, oddly enough, does not really manage to stay afloat. Yes, it is better than “ABCD 2” with the same lead pair that managed 100 crore. But the earthy grittiness of “ABCD” is completely missing. THAT was a film, with music that lives on. This is a product. And that’s the difference.

Rating: *** (Just About)

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Lizelle D’Souza & Divya Khosla Kumar

Directed by: Remo D’Souza

Written by: Remo D’Souza, Tushar Hiranandani, Farhad Samji & Jagdeep Sidhu,

Music: Sachin-Jigar

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Prabhu Dheva, Nora Fatehi, Aparshakti Khurrana,  Punit Pathak, Salman Yusuff Khan, Raghav Juyal, Dharmesh Yelande,  Sonam Bajwa, Vartika Jha, Murli Sharma, Adriano Gal,  Antolin, Jai Hickling & others

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