Director: Remo D'Souza
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Prabhudheva
Rating: 3 stars
After successfully testing the waters with a bunch of non-starrers and absolutely stunning dancers, director Remo D’Souza, predictably enough, introduces some star quotient in the sequel ABCD 2. Enter a massively toned Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor as part of a struggling dance troupe, Mumbai Stunners, that’s aiming to win a world dance championship. The premise is far from fictitious. The troupe’s story draws from the experiences of Suresh Mukund and Vernon Monteiro of the Fictitious Group dance outfit from Nalasopara, a Mumbai suburb.
ABCD 2 does not, even for a moment, pretend to be anything else but a dance movie. Which means if you go looking for a coherent plot line and an insightful portrayal of characters, you will be let down. The film does try to address some serious matters such as plagiarism, but only manages to skim the surface. The troupe is nationally shamed after their dance routine presented on a reality show is found to be shamelessly copied from a Filipino performance. The insults that follow range from a video called Same to Shame that goes viral, to disgruntled customers refusing to pay the pizza delivery boy who happens to be one of the Mumbai Stunners. You betrayed our country, so I’m not going to pay for your pizza. Simple.
Bruised but not beaten this bunch, after a series of curious coincidences, meet their mentor in Prabhudheva who plays Vishnu Sir. And boy does he know to make an entry! The man cannot act, and his Hindi leaves a lot to be desired. But when you can move like Prabhu, who needs all that? The song Happy Hours that marks his entry keeps you intoxicated for a while, and you are on a happy high as you walk through some ludicrous sequences that follow, that has Varun (who plays Suresh) trying to convince Prabhu to mentor them for an international hip-hop competition in Las Vegas.
There are a handful of contrived twists in the plot but thankfully they are short-lived. Director Remo knows where his strengths lie, so you are never too far away from a jig that will blow your mind. If dance is all you want to see, then Bollywood has never seen anything better than this. Also we are thankful to Remo for giving us our desi Channing Tatum. Varun’s strategically exposed six packs (or was it eight?) coupled with his killer hip-hop moves helps us overlook that he’s also boringly large-hearted, unlike Tatum’s bad boy inStep Up. Thanks to his acting chops, the star also manages to lift the very flat lines that he has to mouth.
Shraddha Kapoor has worked really hard to match steps with the talented cast but unlike what the title claims, dance is not for everybody. And this girl needs to better her act too. Her Vinnie is a sad reminder of her shrieking ‘Ei Villain’ days. All steps lead to a giant dance battle, and like things happen in Bolly-verse, where every competition somehow ends up looking like the freedom struggle with the national flag filling up the entire screen, this film too follows suit.
It helps a great deal that the shallow plot is packaged with some awe-inspiring choreography and gravity defying dance moves. Even in the presence of stars, it’s dance and dance alone that is the hero of the film. Each dancer gets to do his bit, watch out for the entry of Dharmesh Yelande, the baap of locking and popping. Whistles guaranteed. Lauren Gottleib, Sushant Pujari and Punit Pathak add to the brilliance. And all the eye-popping choreography comes to three-dimensional life which leaves little room for complaint.
Yes, it can get better, but ABCD 2 is definitely one step in the right direction....