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Street Dancer 3D review: 150-minute excuse to showcase dance sequences

Release Date: 24 Jan 2020 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 24min

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Keyur Seta

Without the dance sequences, Street Dancer 3D, starring Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor, would have just been a short film.

For much of the first half in Remo D’Souza’s Street Dancer 3D, it is difficult to understand what exactly the film is trying to say or do. You have two warring camps of Indian and Pakistani youngsters in London headed by Sahej (Varun Dhawan) and Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor), respectively. They leave even schoolkids in the shade when it comes to fighting each other while watching India-Pakistan cricket matches. Apart from yelling irritating slogans, they fling foodstuff like doughnuts, biryani, noodles, drinks, whatnot. Both teams might swear off cricket if they were to see all this.

In the midst of all this craziness, we do get a glimpse of some semblance of a story. Sahej lives with his elder brother (Punit Pathak) in London. Curiously, the migrants from Punjab live in a posh house with all the luxuries of life simply by running dance classes.

Pathak’s character injures himself while performing at a prized dance competition called Ground Zero and becomes dependent on crutches. So Sahej takes it upon himself to ensure that his group wins the tournament for his brother. His dance group is always at loggerheads with the Pakistani group led by Inayat. Pub owner Anna (Prabhu Deva) tries to mediate between them but to no avail.

In a film whose story revolves based on a dance competition, it is obvious that there will be a lot of dance sequences. But unlike D’Souza’s earlier two dance films, ABCD (2013) and ABCD 2 (2015), Street Dancer just bombards you with dance throughout its lengthy 150 minutes. It would be no exaggeration to say there is an overdose of dance. In fact, without these sequences, Street Dancer 3D might well have been just a short film. The visuals are vibrant and the production design is rich, but is that enough to make a film?

To make matters worse, there is a lot of acrobatic stuff happening in the name of dance. So much, in fact, that it starts appearing repetitive in the first half itself.

The film doesn't do any justice to the use of 3D either. The effect is seen only here and there when characters throw things in your direction, including doughnuts.

If there is dance, there has to be music as well. But the film is disappointing on this score too, except for the ‘Muqabla’ track, a remix of the 1994 song that was picturized on Prabhu Deva and Nagma in the film Kadhalan (Hum Se Hai Muqabla in Hindi) and became a craze back then.

As for the performances, it appears that all the artistes concentrated so much on their dance moves that they just forgot they had to act as well. Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor look good together and display good dancing skills, but they could have done so much more. Their shallow characterization is also to blame. And Nora Fatehi just seems to be playing herself.

The only people you can take seriously are Aparshakti Khurana and Punit Pathak to an extent. Prabhu Deva is impressive with his dancing, which is no surprise, but he struggles with his Hindi.

Street Dancer 3D also touches upon the issue of illegal immigration, but in an unintentionally hilarious way. So here is a group of people in Punjab eager to enter London illegally to make a living. But they are happy to pay Rs40 lakh each to the person who will do the task for them! Leaves us wondering: when you already have so much money, why would you risk your life to become an illegal immigrant?

The dance competition Ground Zero also throws up some questions. Though it is supposed to be an international competition, players change teams midway. In another sequence, somebody unplugs the music when a group is performing and the organizer rules the team out despite it not being at fault. Moreover, he justifies his decision saying, “It’s my competition, my rules!” Really? Is this how international events are run?

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