ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Aaja NachleAaja Nachle : Movie Review
01st Dec 2007  00.45 IST
By Naresh K. D.  

Aaja Nachle is a perfect example of how good actors can sometimes save a poor movie and make it watchable, at least once.

The fault partly lies with the story, which is too damn plain and predictable. The script doesn't even attempt to go into the finer points of the story. On top of it, the man with the megaphone, the director, Anil Mehta , fails to yoke together different elements of the story to create a unified, cohesive tale that not just entertains but also touches your heart. That, precisely, is the problem with 'Aaja Nachle'.

Above all, the movie dashes the expectations that were had of a comeback vehicle of Madhuri Dixit . Not that she is to be blamed. She does full justice to the role she was given and proves that her dancing and acting skills have not waned during all the period she stayed away from films.

It is Madhuri and other actors of the film that make you sit through this elaborate musical, and at times boring, saga called 'Aaja Nachle'.

Dia (Madhuri Dixit) returns from the US to be with her dying dance guru in his last moments. The man dies before she makes it to Shamli, the small town where she grew up, but he leaves for her a filmed message in which he urges her to revive the defunct dance academy Ajanta, the very school where Dia learned to dance, and to live.

A girl who eloped from Shamli with a foreigner and settled in the US, Dia doesn't enjoy good reputation among the denizens of this small town.

Her dance school Ajanta is about to be razed down by people in powerful positions - an MP called Raja saheb ( Akshaye Khanna ) and a businessman named Faroukh ( Irrfan Khan ) - who want to build a shopping mall in the place of Ajanta.

Dia intends to resurrect Ajanta and bring back the culture of dance and theatre in Shamli. But for this she would have to win over the people of the town, which by no means is an easy task.

'Aaja Nachle' begins with a song after which no more than a few dialogues are spoken that another song follows. It is like an early warning that helps you brace up for the film. The story thankfully rises above this musical mire as several other characters are introduced.

Imran ( Kunal Kapoor ), a local ruffian who vandalizes the sets of Dia's show, is literally handpicked by her to enact the lead part in her play. Anokhi ( Konkona Sen Sharma ), an uncouth girl with an ever-running nose and a crush on Imran, persists to get the part of the heroine. Mohan Sharma ( Ranvir Shorey ), a tea-stall owner nursing an old, unrequited love for Dia, decides to help her revive Ajanta. Mr. Chojar ( Vinay Pathak ), a respectable government servant, and Sanjeev Mehta ( Jugal Hansraj ), an insurance agent, also join Dia's troupe.

Honestly, it is these characters and their idiosyncrasies that make the film somewhat interesting. If only a sound script had been there in the first place, 'Aaja Nachle' would have turned much better. Some of the sequences are so unimaginatively conceived: for instance, the scene where Dia convinces a local MLA (Akhilendra Mishra) to endorse Ajanta as the vote issue for the coming elections. Or the scene where the wife of Mr. Chojar vents out her pent up frustration. There are more such sequences in the story that are deliberately contrived to put across a point.

To their further convenience, the writers ( Aditya Chopra and Jaideep Sahni) and the director never make even a feeble attempt to go into the finer points of the story. For example, it is never shown how Dia manages to finance the lavish theatre production that she stages at the end.

The only thing worth watching in 'Aaja Nachle' is performances by the star cast. Be it Darshan Jariwala as Ajanta's teacher, or Raghuvir Yadav as the academy's old caretaker, the actors bring to life their characters.

Notwithstanding a few hints of ageing in her face, Madhuri Dixit just about manages to carry most part of the film on her shoulders. She is still beautiful, a terrific dancer and a competent actress. There is also a slight shade of accent in her Hindi, but that unwittingly suits her character in the film.

Konkona Sen is a killer when it comes to acting. She is a complete natural. So is Kunal Kapoor. He convincingly plays the toughie who softens up after heeding the call of love.

Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey are dependable as usual. Akshaye Khanna is a delightful surprise of the film. Irrfan Khan and Divya Dutta, too, get their moments at the fag end.

And last but not the least, the driving force of the film, its music, is another saving grace for 'Aaja Nachle'. Songs like "Show Me Your Jalwa" and "Aaja Nachle" are the best of the lot. The medley of songs in the finale lifts the movie up and takes it to a crescendo.

Watch 'Aaja Nachle' for performances.

Rating: **1/2

Aaja Nachle
Anil Mehta
Madhuri Dixit
Akshaye Khanna
Irrfan Khan
Kunal Kapoor
Konkona Sen Sharma
Ranvir Shorey
Vinay Pathak
Jugal Hansraj
Aditya Chopra
Darshan Jariwala
Raghuvir Yadav

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