Street Dancer: All melodrama and no fun

The Indian film industry, unlike its foreign counterparts churn out much fewer dance films. The ABCD franchise did create some hysteria, largely due to the success of its first part that had Prabhu Deva as the antagonist. He was part of ABCD-2 too and in order to expand the franchise, the maker roped in star, Varun Dhawan. Needless to say, the star and the dancing legend feature in Street Dancer as well—the unofficial third part of the ABCD franchise.

The story is set in London, where we are introduced to two sets of dance gangs, one an Indian group led by Sahej (Varun Dhawan) and the other being a Pakistani outfit helmed by Inayat (Shraddha Kapoor). For reasons best known to them, the two gangs are often at loggerheads. One night, while watching an India-Pakistan match at a pub, a nasty brawl breaks out, forcing the pub owner Anna (Prabhu Deva) to intervene. He tries to mediate between the two groups but to no avail.

We are introduced to a sub-plot about illegal Asian immigrants who are spread across the UK. Anna’s major objective is to feed those who are homeless but quite obviously, he isn’t rich enough feed them all. This is when a dance competition is announced, where a price money of 10000 pounds is offered to the winning team. If this is the motivation for Anna, Sahej’s eye is on the prize for a different reason, his brother’s redemption.

So, it’s India vs Pakistan in this fight for that prize money, with a British team also thrown in. There are also some convenient love tracks in the plot, most of which comes across as speed breakers due to their corny execution. Amidst all this, the one thing that stays constant throughout is, dance, and dollops of it. Remo D’Souza is a fabulous choreographer and we’ve seen that over the years in all the films he’s worked in. But he isn’t a good writer or director, and this is one thing he doesn’t seem to realize even now.

ABCD-2 was a film that was hugely melodramatic and that made viewing it frustrating despite the innovative dance moves. The less said about Race-3, the better. Remo’s graph sinks further with Street Dancer, as there is more of juvenile sub-plots, dialogues and situations. Varun Dhawan tries to salvage things, but it’s beyond his reach. Shraddha Kapoor struggles with her dance moves while Nora Fatehi impresses with her lightning quick steps and electric presence.

Prabhu Deva is still the uncrowned dancing king of India and he once again shows us why. The legend is effortless as he throws in some jaw-dropping moves. As mentioned earlier, the dance portions are quite thrilling and entertaining. However, the core plot is old-fashioned and the treatment is amateurish to make matters worse. Patriotism is a strong emotion that needs to come naturally. If forced in a storyline, it just looks tiring.

Performance-wise, there is nothing to write home about and that’s solely due to the messy script and lazily sketched characters. Despite all its flaws, the film could still have been a fun ride if the run time was trimmed. On the whole, the film comes across as a half-baked dance entertainer that has a lot of old wine packaged in a new bottle. If you don’t mind the excessive melodrama that you see on TV during dance reality shows, you could find Street Dancer watchable.

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