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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Street Dancer 3D Movie Review: The Spectacular, Soul-Stirring Dance For Humanity

Directed by choreographer Remo D’Souza, Street Dancer 3D has been making a lot of buzzes owing to the success of his previous dance-dramas ABCD and ABCD 2.

Plus, it also marks the on-screen reunion of Varun Dhawan (as Sahej) and Shraddha Kapoor (as Inaayat) as well as dance virtuoso Prabhu Deva.

Promising to be a dance extravaganza based on the multifarious colours of dance and the unity that occurs between two different groups coming together for a single cause.

Set in London, the film is about 2 rival dance groups from India and Pakistan, who’ve been competing against each other every time they meet, be it at a cafe or at an underground street battle. 

Eventually, realise that they stem from the same roots and have a common purpose to stand for their people from the Asian subcontinent.

Followed by the backdrop of a global dance competition, the film showcases how these underdogs stand strong against all odds.

When we see movies like Step Up, the main highlights of the movie are the impressive dance sequences and this is the same with Street Dancer 3D.

As promised by the promos and trailers, the movie is jam-packed with exuberant and energetic dance sequences.

Seeing some of the feverous numbers will compel the viewer to jump off their seats and shake a leg. 

Credits go to Kruti Mahesh and Rahul Shetty as their choreographies are magnificent, in which they make dance seem like poetry on celluloid.

A special mention also goes to Vijay Kumar Arora for his cinematography during the musical numbers… This truly enhances the visual appeal which is also enriched by the special effects.

Another special mention goes to casting directors Naila Mughal and Sahil Khan (‘Naila Mughal Bollywood Castings’) for their brilliant UK actors and dancers.

Moreover, whilst a few songs are recreations (‘remixes’), they suit the narrative well. It’s such a nostalgic to hear tracks like ‘Bezubaan’ and ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ customised to modern beats.

We often associate escapism with ‘commercial’ or ‘Masala’ Hindi cinema and this film is exactly that. There is a great mixture of emotions, humour and glamour, which caters for the masses.

This film manages to create this sense of reverie through dance… Which is like an instrumental character and the format feels like a theatrical musical. 

The compelling concept of two neighbouring uniting on a middle ground – that being London – is endearing and risky… This is because such a theme can easily become preachy, but thankfully this isn’t the case. 

In fact, SD3 endeavours to be a subtle perspective on the post-colonial lives of Indians and Pakistanis, especially in the UK. 

Particularly, there is a focus on South-Asian illegal immigrants who left their countries to seek a better livelihood in London. 

The effort deserves credit, given that this is amongst the few mainstream Hindi movies to focus on such a subject… Though it would’ve been more interesting had it been covered in more depth.

As such, we should’ve seen how the dancers help the migrants in returning back to their homes. Not only would this be more insightful, but it would’ve also made the narrative wholesome.

When it comes to direction, especially continuity, there are a few flaws… Especially in the climax portion. I wish there was more caution on this aspect.  

Furthermore, the second half is quite lengthy, had this been crisper and edited well, it would’ve made for a better viewing experience.

The performances are up to scratch and collectively, all the actors work as an entourage. 

Varun Dhawan, to begin with, does well as Sahej – an ambitious and skilled street dancer. Of course, his dance skills are on point, but he also essays the character well.

Next time we see him essay a British character hopefully his accent will also be polished, in order to come across authentically.

Shraddha Kapoor is pure dynamite as Inayat. Her expressions, body language and dialogue delivery exude swag and chutzpah.

For me, this is amongst her career’s best performances. Again, her dancing ability is also par excellence. 

Nora Fatehi is another actor to look out for. She is smooth when it comes to grooving but her dialogue delivery and acting ability is also impressive. 

Aparshakti Khurana yet again delivers an earnest performance. Whilst his role is not as long, his presence screen is just as strong.

Sustaining his role as the mentor from previous ABCD films, Prabhu Deva does is his usual best. Seeing him dance to Muqabla is such a delight!

It is well known that dance enthusiasts Dharmesh Yelande, Raghav Juyal, Sushant Pujari, Salman Yusuff Khan and Punit J Pathak are experts in their craft.

But their performances in this film also prove their abilities to act and carry their roles well.  

On the whole, Street Dancer 3D does exactly what it promises and offers grandiose dance numbers, which sweep the viewers off their feet. 

Whilst the movie critically may not be perfect and it is larger-than-life and melodramatic in places, but if we can appreciate gravity-defying action scenes, why not this?

When movies like this bring the art of dance to the forefront with a poignant and humane storyline, then to me, this is a winner!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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