PIX: Bollywood's Love Affair With Dancers
Dance is the heartbeat of Bollywood movies. Its distinct moves and vibrant colours lend our musicals an identity that's impossible to erase.
Sadly, very few filmmakers have attempted to make films about this relentless art form.
And even less have found success by doing so.
Choreographer turned director Remo D'Souza (previously helmed F.A.L.T.U) hopes to change this mindset with his ambitious dance film in 3D, ABCD: Any Body Can Dance starring veterans in this field -- Prabhudeva, Ganesh Acharya along with Kay Kay Menon.
While ABCD gears up to hit the screens on February 8, here's a look at this mixed bag of Bollywood's dance-oriented creations.
Image: Prabhu Deva in ABCD: Any Body Can Dance
In her much-anticipated comeback vehicle, Madhuri Dixit plays a New York-based choreographer who returns to her home in small town North India with her daughter in a bid to revive a rundown dance theatre by accepting a challenge to stage a successful concert using a bunch of reluctant locals and non-dancers.
Despite all the hype and potential, Anil Mehta's execution failed to tell a taut story whose highlight remains Dixit's electric dance moves.
Image: Madhuri Dixit in Aaja Nachle
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Aditya Chopra's romance about a newly married couple that has nothing in common employs a dance competition as a plot device to bring them closer.
And so Shah Rukh Khan transforms from boring office-goer Suri to swaggering Raj and teams up with Anushka Sharma's Taani Partner to learn frothy fundas like Dance Pe Chance.
Around the same time Yash Raj productions favoured quite a few elaborate dance contest set-ups for effect as witnessed in films like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (a snazzy dance-off between Bobby Deol-Preity Zinta and Abhishek Bachchan-Lara Dutta) and Lafangey Parindey (a skate dance-themed finale featuring Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh).
Image: Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Chance Pe Dance
Although the Shahid Kapoor-Genelia D'Souza starrer is essentially about a struggler trying to make it big in movies, dance plays a crucial role.
Right from Genelia's turn as choreographer to Shahid part-timing as a dance teacher in school and readying an unlikely bunch to nab an inter-school competition while trying his luck to grab a Star of India title by showing off his set of nifty moves.
Image: Shahid Kapoor in Chance Pe Dance
So Pooja Bhatt rips off Dirty Dancing to direct and produce Holiday starring a bland Onjolee Nair and blank Dino Morea.
While the original is an evergreen classic riding high on upbeat songs, terrific choreography and a hunky Patrick Swayze, the lousy imitation found no takers.
Image: Onjolee Nair in Holiday
In Ram Gopal Varma's romance drama about egos powered by ambition and artistry, Abhishek Bachchan and Antara Mali play an actor and choreographer respectively.
The duo demonstrates some provocative dance poses that hopes to underline their intense, headstrong chemistry and personality.
For all its stimulating aesthetics, Naach failed to romp at the box office.
Image: Antara Mali and Abhishek Bachchan in Naach
Dil Toh Pagal Hai
Dance forms a major backdrop in Yash Chopra's youthful musical boosted by the creative imagination of contemporary dance guru, Shiamak Davar.
A romance set within a dance troupe wherein Karisma Kapoor with his groovy modern steps and Madhuri Dixit with her command over classical set stage for an attractive conflict around Shah Rukh Khan as well as their skills.
The latter, of course, leads to one of the most enchanting face-offs between the two divas in the Dance of Envy sequence.
Image: Karisma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit in Dil Toh Pagal Hai
Not many remember this obscure Akshay Kumar flick, which came out just before he made a breakthrough with Khiladi.
In this shoddy rags to riches story of a singing/dancing sensation that models itself along the lines of 1980s Mithun Chakraborty starrers, the actors slips into shiny, skin-tight body suits and shows off his penchant for acrobatics in and as Dancer.
Image: Akshay Kumar in Dancer
Based on the true inspiring story of Sudha Chandran, who's also the leading lady of this enterprise, Nache Mayuri is about a Bharatnatyam dancer who loses her leg in a car accident but her spirit is unmoved.
With the aid of a prosthetic leg, she fights against all odds to pursue her love for dance.
Nache Mayuri celebrates her tremendous will power and grace in the face of dejection.
Image: Sudha Chandran in Nache Mayuri
Five years after Disco Dancer, director B Subhash roped in Mithun Chakraborty to cash in on his trademark boogie in a melodrama about a dancing brother and sister and the struggle they endure to make it big.
Questionable originality notwithstanding, Bappi Lahiri's soundtrack (Zoobi Zoobi, Dance Dance, Halwawala aa gaya, Super dancer), Mithun da's dynamism and Smita Patil's curious casting are the sole highlights of this typical 1980s drivel.
Image: Mithun Chakraborty in Dance Dance
Plausible storylines have never been B Subhash's forte.
Disco Dancer, irrespective of its cult status, is not an exercise in realism but spunky escapist fare revolving around a song and dance sensation and how he overcomes a personal tragedy to perform for an eager audience again.
What you truly take from this is the iconic imagery of Mithun Chakraborty in a gold costume and gold head band exclaiming to the viewer loud and clear, I am a Disco Dancer.
And a star is born.
Image: Mithun Chakraborty in Disco Dancer
K Vishwanath's Sargam marks Jaya Prada's Bollywood debut opposite Rishi Kapoor.
In this desi Cinderella story about a mute village belle and aspiring dancer tormented by her nasty step mother who finds support in her dafli-playing companion, Prada lets her nimble classical moves do all the talking.
Image: Jaya Prada in Sargam
Dance becomes a bone of contention between newlyweds in Subodh Mukherjee's Abhinetri.
Starring Shashi Kapoor and Hema Malini, trouble brews in paradise after the latter wants to resume her professional career as a stage dancer much to the dismay of her disapproving husband.
Being an accomplished classical dancer, the actress makes most of her ballet moments in the movie.
Image: Hema Malini in Abhinetri
Lekh Tandon's Amrapali may be a historical drama about two warring kingdoms and what happens when one's King falls in love with the royal court dancer of another but it features way too many stirring dances from Vyjyanthimala in the titular role to be forbidden from this list.
The ace Bharatnatyam dancer breathes fire through her intricate steps that appear deceptively effortless and radiant every time she comes forth to perform.
Image: Vyjyanthimala in Amrapali
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
As the title suggests, legendary filmmaker V Shantaram's magnum opus revolves around a grand dance tournament, which takes place once in ten years and the events and rigorous training preceding it forms the crux of the plot.
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje introduces a variety of Indian dance forms like Bharatnatyam.
Kathak, Tandav, Manipuri to create a visual extravaganza essayed through the flawless nritya of Gopi Kishen and Sandhya.
Image: Gopi Kishen and Sandhya in Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
The great Indian dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar got behind the camera in 1948 for his only feature film based on dance and co-starring wife, Amala.
Filmed as ballet, Kalpana is a fantasy about imagination coming alive after a writer starts to narrate his story to a producer for a proposed film.
Image: A scene from Kalpana