Two underdog rival dance teams, South Asian in origin but born and brought up in London, relentlessly fight against each other to be declared the ultimate street dancing ensemble, only to realise their real rivals are the Britishers (Bollywood’s perennial antagonist).
And so, on the Republic Day weekend, here’s a film that pits Indians and Pakistanis against each other, only to ultimately make them realise that their strength lies in unity, against white supremacy. (No brownie points for guessing who wins.)
A keen observer could gather all this from Street Dancer 3D trailer. There’s no real need to watch this play out in a painfully formulaic manner on the big screen. But then you are pacified by seeing Prabhudeva do a Muqabala 2.0. Total paisa vasool, as they say. And even though the rest of this review may end up being snarky, the dancers and their hard work deserve a special mention. These kind of films are not easy to make.
Street Dancer 3D couldn’t be more predictable with its plot and messaging (this would be a good time to remind everyone that the director Remo D’Souza’s last film was Race 3); but in these politically turbulent times, it’s heartening to see a film that puts peace and harmony above xenophobia. But sadly, Street Dancer 3D has nothing new to offer — even the choreography and the dance sequences seem familiar if you’ve seen Indian reality shows. It’s a breezy film that goes by rather quickly, but don’t expect any nuance or depth in Street Dancer 3D.
The film follows the same track as its predecessors, ABCD and ABCD 2 — however this time the cause at the heart of the film is illegal immigrants in the UK, and rehabilitating them. Sahej (Varun Dhawan) runs a dance centre where he and his fellows dancer friends compete with the rival Pakistani dance troupe, fronted by Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor). Some familiar faces can be found in these groups, including Salman Yusuff Khan, Dharmesh Yelande and Puneet Pathak among others, whose claim to fame have been Indian dance reality shows.
Prabhudeva or Anna (sigh) owns a cafe where these guys kill time (because nobody really has a job in these films okay?), and it is his brainchild to unite these two teams and fight off the reigning dance champions, The Royals (brute Britishers who won’t smile even if someone paid them). The money they win will help illegal immigrants in their area get back to their hometowns in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
There’s also an extremely sanitised track involving four Punjabi dholwaalas, led by Aparshakti Khurranna, who enter London illegally with the help of Sahej, and they become the moral centre of the film. Street Dancer 3D has its heart in the right place, one only wishes the music and the choreography had something new to offer. The 3D and some semi-cool visual effects only slightly distract you from a wafer-thin plot that is constantly on the verge of breaking.
The last two ABCD films boasted of decent music and great dance sequences (‘Bezubaan’ and ‘Ga Ga Ga Ganpati’ have a combined total of 500 million views on YouTube), but the same can’t be said about Street Dancer 3D. That said, the real tragedy is that the insanely talented Nora Fatehi gets the short end of the stick, with a forgettable role and having to share screen space dancing next to Varun Dhawan, who always manages to steal the spotlight.