Saturday, December 01, 2007

‘Aaja Nachle’: Return of the Dancing Diva

-By Swetha Amit
Some films make you laugh, cry or cringe with the hard hitting reality cum social message. However there are few which leads you to a dance. Yash Raj’s Aaja Nachle falls in the latter category and proves to be a dance drama till the end with a slight drag.

This eagerly awaited flick also enhances the comeback of yesteryear's all time dazzling star- Madhuri Dixit; giving an opportunity for the audience to get jiggy with her.

The film starts with an energetic Dia (Madhuri Dixit) conducting dance classes in New York. Everything seems fine until that phone call from India reporting about her Guru (Darshan Zariwala) breathing his last. This prompts a rather frantic Dia to fly down with her daughter and what follows is a series of flashback of events eleven years ago. Belonging to a small town of Shamli, Dia was like any other bubbly girl indulging in mischief with her friend Najma (Divya Dutta). Yet she possessed a strong passion for dance making her a favorite with her teacher. Her independent streak propels her to fall in love with an American photographer and elope with him, causing disgrace to her parents; distress to her silent lover Mohan (Ranvir) and earning the wrath of the town folk along with a maligned reputation.

On arriving and much to her dismay, Dia learns about the dreaded commercialization that has engulfed Shamli. This has posed a threat to the existence of her dance school ‘Ajanta’ which is to be replaced by a shopping mall. Vowing to retain Ajanta to her ‘Guru’, she goes all out to keep up her last promise. Battling against the two month time; a deal struck between her and the MP Uday (Akshaye Khanna in a cameo role), Dia manages to keep up the never say die attitude in spite of the unmistakable hostility and uncooperative gestures from the people.

With grit, determination and a little comic relief, Dia brings in different characters to enact in her dance drama of Laila-Majnu, which is more than a showdown for saving ‘Ajanta’ from the political clutches. Tremendous support from Imran (Kunal Kapoor), Anokhi (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is a tomboy and in love with Imran; Vinay Pathak who is a government official; Jugal Hansraj and despite a few corrupt hurdles of a mix up between business and politics by a shrewd Businessman Irfan Khan, Dia goes on to achieve the impossible at a ‘stretch’.

Aaja Nachle proves to be entertaining in the first half and loses its momentum towards the end of the second half where the story was dragged unnecessarily. The movie belongs to Madhuri Dixit out and out who looks ravishing. Whether it’s her effortless and brilliant dance, her graceful screen presence or her million dollar smile, nevertheless she manages to evoke a thunderous roar of applause from her fans. Some of the dance sequences and stage performances remind one of a tinge of Dil to Pagal hai which had the same Yash Raj-Madhuri combo.

Kunal Kapoor and Konkona share an excellent on screen chemistry which is continued from their last release of the same banner. Both their performances are profound and keep improving with every release of theirs. Ranvir and Vinay Pathak do well. Akshaye Khanna manages to make a mark in his brief role and so does Irfan Khan. Jugal Hansraj and Divya Dutta make their presence felt in their mediocre parts.

Direction by Anil Mehta is decent. Music by Salim-Sulaiman is average with the exception of the title track making the audiences sway along with the dancing Diva. The dialogues especially the ones between Akshaye Khanna and Madhuri Dixit are power packed and amuse the viewers with their verbal combat.

However the script does have a few loopholes which would fail to match up the hype and promos. Yet it’s worth a watch for fans of Madhuri who would let out a whoop of delight to see her back on screen. And for non fans also, who would probably become one after watching her in this film.

Overall Aaja Nachle is an entertaining dance drama which despite its drawbacks draws the audiences into a foot tapping fiesta and marks the return of the Dancing Diva. This proves it to be a worth watch at least once which will make many say ‘Aaja Dekhle’ or rather ‘Aaja Nachle’.
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