Review: AajaNachle

Scripted with more potholes than you could find on a post-monsoon road, Anil Mehta's Aaja Nachle is a vast disappointment, avers Khalid Mohamed.
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Updated on Dec 01, 2007 12:28 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By Khalid Mohamed, Mumbai

Aaja Nachle
Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Kunal Kapoor, Konkona Sen-Sharma
Direction: Anil Mehta
Rating: **

Ek do teen, don’t frown. Somewhere out there in a small town, the Ajanta Disco Akademi is about to be replaced by a shopping mall. Such gall. Really the townies don’t even seem the type who’ll stroll in to buy a fancy doll or beach ball.

Scripted with more potholes than you could find on a post-monsoon road, Aaja Nachle is a vast disappointment.

Certainly don’t expect the Madhuri Dixit of yore, don’t weep at the lack of sophistication by first-time director Anil Mehta (would he please stick to cinematography?) and don’t be shocked by the lack of A-class production values from the Yashraj banner. Say cheesy.

Forget unexplored Swissscapes, you’re not even flown to Manhattan where Ma’am Dixie Diya teaches moves to expressionless Big Apple basket cases. Hup, you gotta move, you gotta groove, that sort of a thing. Oh brother, oh sister, whom are you kidding director bhai?

Although there are echoes of the gritty Brazilian dance-movie Xux Requebra – so what if Aditya Chopra assigns himself the credit for the story? – nothing is plausible. Our Dancing Dia (Dixit), a single mom rushes to the small town, accompanied by her rather dazed daughter, to rescue that Akademi from the mall mafia. Yippee.

Her Guru (Street Madari) has left her a 16 mm film. A video would have been cheaper but you’re not supposed to ask such silly things. In this film, Guru coughs-coughs-coughs like Leela Chitnis, in between emphasising the need to preserve Bharatiyakala and sanskriti. Disco jhatkas? And sanskriti? Shhh, no silly questions again, please.

Just sit back and get eye-boggled as Diyaji turns the masala hamlet into a hippy-hippy shakedom. In the bargain, she impresses a Raja saab (Akshaye Khanna) who at the outset offers her home-made pizzas and then watches her stage show, smiling, smirking, smiling, as if he were a neon light gone out of order. By the way, the Rajah who asserts that he’s very democratic, sits on the tallest chair at the event while others squat near his feet. Wah!

Throughout, your Diyaji has quite a cool time. There’s no mega-conflict, no dramatic frisson. She falls in and out of love with a peach-complexioend photographer from some magazine called National Geographiya (!), dispenses Agony Aunt advice to an unkempt tomboy (Konkona Sen-Sharma, overacting) and winks away at the hunky tapori (Kunal Kapoor, flustered).

On being stressed occasionally, Diyaji sheds half a tear for her old flame (Ranvir Shorey, too excited) and delivers the longest sermons about how, “Dence is life” and “Life is dence.” But nothing can beat the nugget delivered by Konkona: “Even the lice in my hair don’t know how to dance.” Dialogue giri, courtesy Jaideep Saini.

On the techfront, the set designs (very Film City), costumes and camerawork are mediocre. So is the music score by Salim-Sulaiman. As for the finale’s elaborate, college-play-like presentation of Laila-Majnu-e-Azam, it has to be seen to be disbelieved. Vaibhavi Merchant’s choreography, like it or not, is nowhere in the league of Saroj Khan’s vintage hits with La Dixit.

Frankly, it’s only Madhuri Dixit who lures you to the multiplex. But surely she deserved a far richer and above-average comeback. At best, she’s passable like the rest of this siesta-inducing Aaja Snore kar le.

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