'Anybody Can Dance 2': Can they?

MUMBAI: Anybody Can Dance 2 (ABCD2) is a sequel to ABCD (2013) and is also about hip hop dancers who aspire to make it big. Wanting to cash in on the fair success and appreciation of the earlier version, the sequel seeks to be more ambitious. It features rising young stats, Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor, as against the unknown, non-glamorous faces of the original.

Varun is a pizza delivery boy whose mother was a Padmashri awardee classical dancer. Dancing is in his genes but being today’s youth, his choice is hip hop. He has formed his own group along with other such boys. This group has just one girl among them, Shraddha, who works at a ladies salon nearby. This lot is from a distant Mumbai suburb working their way to break into the middleclass bracket.

The group is full of enthusiasm but is rudderless. They have nobody to guide them and whatever they learn about dancing is through videos. They decide to make it big and participate in a dance competition. They dance well but are soon exposed for having copied the whole performance step by step from a foreign group. They are disqualified and jeered.

This may be a small group from almost nowhere but, taking an indirect dig at the contemporary media, their ‘shame’ makes headlines all over with captions “same to shame”! So much so, even dance competition organisers all over the world know about them. The makers could have used this kind of imagination on the script.

The boys are devastated and most of them opt out. Only Shraddha and a couple of others still have faith in Varun who wants to regroup or form another group and earn fame through the backdoor, which is to participate in the international hip hop competition at Las Vegas, US.

The boys need guidance and soon they find a guru in Prabhu Deva, a renowned dancer whom every dancer and aspiring dancer worth his salt knows. However, the route to the Vegas hip hop competition is through all India qualifier at Bangalore. Prabhu prepares them for the qualifier. But, when they arrive at Bangalore, they are welcomed with a chant of “Cheaters, Cheaters”! One of the judges decides to disqualify the group.

One thought a judge at such events was as much an outsider as the participants; they are not the organizers. The judge even wants to know who Prabhu is, so much for being a celebrity dancer who even a dance competition judge does not know!

Expectedly, the boys qualify to participate at the Vegas event. Like all Indian sports and competition films, they are the underdogs. The usual routine follows, qualifier, quarter finals, semi-finals and, eventually, after much ill-conceived dramatic moments, the finals.

ABCD 2 has nothing in the name of a script. Even documentaries have better ones. The director has no clue where the film is going and, in the absence of anything cogent to go on, spends over 38 minutes on songs and dance (most of it cacophonous) and rest of the time on the group rehearsing in this marathon 153-minute trial of patience.

This is a musical and yet it has poor musical score and almost nil romance. All relations are cosmetic. Dialogue writing shows incompetence. Lyrics, when audible, fail to make sense or blend with the situation. Also, considering this is a film about dance, choreography leaves much to be desired except for the last two songs. The positive in the film is its visual appeal, which makes it tolerable to an extent.

As for performances, considering it is a dance film, though they may be on the same side, pitting Varun against Prabhu was a bad idea. Shraddha Kapoor is just passable in dances. As for acting, nobody bothers. Bringing Lauren Gottlieb as a third angle in a romance that is not, proves a dud. Prabhu’s dancing is not much help either.

ABCD 2, as expected, has taken a good opening thanks to the expectations of youth but the word of mouth is not good and sustaining at the box office will be a task.

Producer: Siddharth Roy Kapoor (Disney)

Director: Remo D’Souza

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Lauren Gottlieb, Prabhu Dheva, Dharmesh Yelande

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