Street Dancer 3D movie review: Varun Dhawan-Shraddha Kapoor film has thinner plot than a dance reality show

Street Dancer 3D
Director – Rema D’Souza
Cast – Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Prabhudeva

A hardcore dance film, which has rubber-limbed dancers putting up an excellent show? We say, bring it on. The trouble begins when you try to make this light-on-its-feet film multi-task by giving it a ham-fisted story and a heavy moral angle to boot. Street Dancer 3D suffers when put through the wringer in order to make it more than what it is – an out-and-out dance film.

Starring Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor as passionate dancers, this is the third iteration in Remo D’Souza’s series after ABCD and its sequel. And you do wonder why it was not simply called ABCD 3 because Street Dancer has little to do with the film or its story.

Watch the Street Dancer 3D trailer here 

Sehej (Varun) and Inayat (Shraddha) are arch rivals and captains of their respective dance troupes — Street Dancers and Rule Breakers; and how they passionately support cricket teams of their respective countries — India and Pakistan. Even though they share an innate passion for dance, there’s a constant desire to outdo each other in the world’s biggest dance battle, Ground Zero. How their rivalry takes a backseat and they find a bigger reason to dance their hearts out to ‘express, not to impress’ forms the crux of the story, whatever little is there.

There’s an underlying patriotic feel — pitting India and Pakistan against each other — and also the Tricolor play in the climactic dance battle is enough to give you an adrenaline rush. Clearly it was a clever move on the makers’ part to make it fit for a Republic Day release.

The film is a visual spectacle, no doubt. Be it lighting, sound design, ace dance performances or the VFX that is served to you in 3D — it all makes for an exhilarating watch. There are some jaw-dropping moves and flips, and world class dance performances and it’s commendable to see the variety of dance forms, the director has explored in one film. For lead actors Varun and Shraddha, it would have taken some crazy hours of practice to get those moves right. And if not stand out, they do match up to the professional dancers standing next to them.

Talking of performances, Varun’s emotional and balanced Sehej connects with you as the dancer in him wins over the actor in him. Unlike the comedies he has done in the past, he doesn’t go overboard with his character or acting in Street Dancer. Shraddha, on the other hand, looks beautiful and has cracked some of the toughest dance moves and flips. Though there’s not much for her do in terms of acting, she gets your attention when she’s there on screen.

What I particularly loved is how Remo puts the spotlight on professional dancers from all the dance reality shows he has judged so far. There’s Punit Pathak, Dharmesh Yelande, Sushant Pujari, Salman Yusuff Khan, Raghav Juyal and some of the best dancers from world over; each one of them is intrinsic to the story. And the one who truly shines is Nora Fatehi — such a clever casting call. The sass and ease she has in her dancing allows Remo to up his game. And the Garmi track is indeed one of the best from her so far.

The surprise package here is Prabhudheva as Anna (God knows why), a former performer-turned-restaurateur who becomes the force behind the rivals burying the hatchet for a good cause. It’s endearing to watch him act, perform and bring his Midas touch with some impeccable dance moves. And Muqabala 2.0 has perhaps been one of the finest recreations in the recent times.

While the spectacular dance performances keep you invested, your attention wanders the moment the predictable plot kicks in. The film’s plot takes so many twists and turns that you are not sure if you are watching the same dance-off you paid good money for two hours ago. There are so many threads and sub-plots in the story that it all ends as a tangled mess at the end of it.

Even the length of the film doesn’t go in its favour. At 2 hours 30 minutes, it doesn’t take much for the film to turn into a snooze fest. The second half with its multiple emotional outbursts feels especially dragged.

Unfortunately, Street Dancer is not a genre that everyone will enjoy watching. Take for instance those who have no interest in sitting through dance reality shows on TV, the film doesn’t cater to them, hence, it limits its reach to some extent in that sense. And then, there’s only a limit to which one can watch dance battles. Now, if you insert one song and dance sequence every five to ten minutes, there’s too little one can expect in terms of something different. The film as a whole has nothing special to say, no strong message to give. And each time you get bored, a dance sequence pops up as a wake-up call.

Music is not necessarily the highlight but definitely it complements the narrative. Illegal Weapon and Lagdi Lahore Di make you move and groove, while Dua Karo showing Varun’s agony and guilt cuts through your heart.

To sum up, it’s only better if we don’t look for meaning here, because there’s none. The script lacks substance and it merely looks like a forced run up to an ultimate dance battle. Watch it only if you’re a diehard fan of dancing and love watching dance shows.

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