It is serendipitous that this is my final review before embarking on my sixth excursion to India; intoxicating, enchanting, addictive India whose tentacles have enchained my heart, refusing to unleash me from the exotic lure of its compelling, mysterious, engaging ancient culture; I have relinquished the struggle, always returning; exiting altered, rejuvenated. India is a classroom, unearthing possibilities, long dormant, unknown sensibilities ignited by its prismatic aura. India is light, life.
“ABCD:Any Body Can Dance” is a joyous romp, gravity-defying, stunning, creative choreography; Bollywood, defined by its dance sequences, can categorize this film, in a realm of its own; three- dimension enhances the aerobic abilities of the gifted cast; contortionists, rubber, elastic-limbed, soaring on winged feet through streets, rain, smoke; nullifying any limitations to the art of dance.
A predictable, stale scenario: friends, dance impresarios, part ways, become competitors, training their groups to compete in the Ganpati Dance Battle. “Vishnu” (Prabhu Deva) fired by his partner “Jahangir Khan” ( Kay Kay Menon; a Hugh Grant lookalike) garnishes talented neophytes from the mean, gang- infested streets of Mumbai; the training and rehearsals of these feisty, skilled, undisciplined young people is riveting; Vishnu, named after the Hindu God,( preserver of the universe), is intransigent in exacting discipline from his students; he suffers no infractions of his dictates; he becomes a punitive “god” to his pupils, feared and revered.
A touch of Shakespearian comic relief is donated by the delightful Ganesh Acharyaas as “Gopi” a corpulent, Falstaff figure, rigid supporter of Vishnu; he is the foil actualizing the success, vanquishing the vicissitudes visited upon the aspiring, first- time competitors.
The film, for all of its iconic numbers, belongs to Prabhu Deva; his solo, chimerical, electric performance on a night club stage was more than magical, it was profound; a superlative blend of Baryshnikov and Billy Elliot; astonishingly astral, his brilliance: supreme, unequaled, amongst the divine, dance masters of the universe.
Maybe “any body can dance” but not like this, never like this.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!