Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 9, 2013

Old moves

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 1:07 am

February 08, 2013

Cast: Prabhu Deva, Kay Kay Menon, Ganesh Acharya, Salman Yusuf Khan, Lauren Gottlieb, Prince Gupta

Director: Remo D’Souza

ABCD, an acronym for Any Body Can Dance, should have been more fun than it is, given that it’s a true-blue 3D dance movie packed with energetic musical set-pieces. But the film suffers from the same malady that plagues this genre everywhere. Like the Step Up movies from which it’s evidently inspired, ABCD has a threadbare, predictable plot, and a cast of professional dancers who can break into gravity-defying moves but can’t deliver a line of dialogue convincingly.

Prabhu Deva stars as Vishnu, the chief instructor at a big-league dance company, who finds himself out in the cold when his shallow business partner (Kay Kay Menon) gives his job to a fancy American choreographer. Encouraged by a friend, Vishnu decides to start his own studio in a rundown garage, offering to train young dance enthusiasts from a lower middle class neighborhood for free.

The wafer-thin screenplay reads like a laundry list of clichés, as the narrative moves clunkily from one tired plot-point to another. There’s a love triangle going on in the troupe, a follow-your-heart message delivered through another subplot, and there’s no escape from such overarching themes as the merits of hard work and honest competition.

To be fair, you don’t go into a dance movie expecting a layered script and character depth, but it’s unfortunate that even the dance numbers in ABCD seem interchangeable. There’s one set-piece filmed skillfully in the rain that stands out, as does the climatic performance at a dance competition. Yet, if none of it is particularly memorable, blame it equally on the disappointing soundtrack by Sachin-Jigar that doesn’t offer one unforgettable track.

The ensemble cast of dancers has an infectious enthusiasm when it comes to their moves, but they’re woefully inept in the acting department. It doesn’t help that director Remo D’Souza (a well known Bollywood choreographer himself) demands full-on melodrama from his amateur actors in the film’s final act, and stays too long on their awkward close-ups in the emotional bits.

Prabhu Deva plays it straight as their committed instructor, occasionally giving you reason to smile as he breaks into a dance himself. Kay Kay Menon, meanwhile, sportingly sinks his teeth into the caricature that is the character of the cut-throat businessman who gets to deliver such bumper-sticker lines as: “Medicority is king” and “Packaging is everything”.

At 2 hours and 20 minutes, ABCD is too long. There’s some genuinely original choreography up there, but it’s lost in a plodding film with characters you couldn’t care less about.

I’m going with a generous two out of five for ABCD. Even if it’s true what this film claims – that any body can dance – it also provides evidence that the same is not true of acting!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Agree with u on this one 😛

    Comment by Kaif — February 9, 2013 @ 3:07 am

  2. The motivation behind making such movies is not wanting to narrate a brilliant story. The real motive is to show awasome dance performances which could not have been possible in a mainstream movie.

    If you check with its target audience, you know the kind who watch and maybe even participate in shows like DID, this film hits a bull eye.

    Comment by Jayesh Gandhi — February 9, 2013 @ 7:04 am

  3. dont watch the review only watch the movie
    its nice movie

    Comment by rohit — February 9, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  4. I do not agree with you sir….i ‘ll go with 3/5..

    Comment by Divesh — February 9, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

  5. Time and again you prove that critics are just there to fill up newspaper space and now web space…This was an incredible effort from a very new and ordinary cast…in the times of Sajid Khan movies, ABCD should be given an Oscar…

    Comment by Mahesh Desai — February 10, 2013 @ 11:37 pm

  6. I absolutely loved the movie not for the story or acting.. because of the dances featured in the movie.. Awesome dance by Prabhudeva, Lauren Gottlieb, Dharmesh Yelande, Salman Yusuff, Punit Pathak ! It is for people who love dancing. These dancers are definitely not actors.. but dancers.. I think they did a absolutely fantastic job in terms of the acting because it felt real. Better than all those actors who 1st movie was such a waste… Really appreciate the effort made by Remo D’Souza even if some of the scenes resembles Step Up movie at least this is so much better because this movie has the Desi tadka ! 🙂

    Comment by Shilp — February 15, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

  7. This movie did not suffer from the same problems that every genre specific movie in bollywood suffers. When a Super Hero movie is made in Bollywood, it is almost always certain that it is going to have a very pathetic excuse of a story and even more pathetic control over the story. ABCD wasn’t that. It wasn’t a bad story. It never lost track of its story and the dancers did a great job of acting too. D and Chandu portrayed their characters like you would expect from character actors. Everyone else was also average to above average but never bad.

    Comment by Vishal — March 22, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

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