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'ABCD 2' review: This one won't make you dance!

'ABCD 2' review: This one won't make you dance!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Friday 19 June 2015

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Movie Title

ABCD 2

Director

Remo

Star Cast

Lauren Gottlieb, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Dhawan

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' This phrase comes to mind as you see this much-awaited sequel to 2013's ABCD (Any Body Can Dance).

The second installment crushes exactly what worked for the first one - a fresh story and approach, soulful dancing, relatively unknown dancers who played the central parts, and NO STARS. Here you have a stale story, the hero taking centre-stage over everything else, and dancing that misses verve and soul. We had headlined the ABCD review as 'An Ode to Dance'. Sadly, this one doesn't even come close.

We trail the journey of a dancer Suresh (Varun Dhawan) and his team who have recently been humiliated off a reality show for plagiarism. This affects Suresh the most as his mother was an illustrious dancer, who "died with her ghungroos on".

And so Varun Dhawan gets to do an 'emotionally charged' dance number with his mother's image in the background. Also, as is the problem throughout with this film, the scene also has fire sparks in the background to jazz up an already cool performance.

As was the case with the first film, ABCD 2 has the following - the senti dance number, the water splashing dance choreography (far better in the original), and the finale performance that is more about jingoistic nationalism than about dancing. What the sequel has gone ahead and done is adding superfluous things like a typical Bollywood number with swirling chiffons and scenery. And they've completely ballistic with the patriotism angle.

Suresh and his venerable guru Vishnu (Prabhu Dheva) aim to form a team to compete in a Las Vegas dance competition, so they can regain their lost reputation. The money appears miraculously, and they're all set. Turns out, Vishnu has plans of his own, and wants to go there for different reasons. This reason, as it turns out, is so weak, it's ludicrous.

We inch towards the finale, where you get snowed under hyper-nationalism with our dancers wearing tacky costumes with Indian-flag coloured pockets, and waving the flag within the performance. It's just absurd, if you think how it would look if another country did this on a competitive platform. Meanwhile, a character coughs blood, and there is further trouble (never explained).

A word about the way the film treats its female characters. It is unforgivable to reduce the main female dancer (Shraddha Kapoor) to a wishy-washy side character who exists only to support the hero's dreams, to injure herself before a dance, and to mope helplessly while he flirts with other people. Lauren Gottlieb is the film's brightest sparks, but her sensuality is focused on a tad too much in the sequel (shots of midriff etc). And Prabhu Dheva's ex-wife is a person who ditched him because he didn't have a proper job and is now happy with a "normal guy". Sheesh.

Writer-director Remo D'Souza brings in several things that worked in the original. Like the technique of showing us competing teams' moves in a quick-cut montage set to thumping music. Quite puzzlingly, this appears repetitive and jarring here. There are a few visual gimmicks, but not enough to warrant a 3D viewing.

Varun Dhawan, he of the spectacular gym body, dances with heart and is earnest, but his character never seems wholly convincing. Ditto Shraddha Kapoor, who grapples with a one-dimensional character. Even their romance is carelessly developed.

The 'only' time the film comes alive is when Prabhu Dheva takes to the dance floor in a pub scene, when Lauren Gottlieb sets the screen ablaze with her superb dancing, and when the troupe dancers, several from the first film, show their mettle.

As someone who wholeheartedly enjoyed ABCD, I have to say this has proven to be a disappointing and unworthy sequel. The film ends with a quote by Remo that says, 'Life is all about the next step'. We certainly hope Remo's next step has us dancing again!

Rating: 2.5 stars

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