Though music and dance play integral roles in Hindi cinema, dance as a genre was not explored very well by filmmakers in the Hindi film industry. The success of ‘ABCD’ (2013) followed by a much bigger success in the form of ‘ABCD 2’ gave filmmakers the confidence to churn out more dance based films. Even now, the number of films being made in this genre has been few and far in between but at least, there has been a start now. ‘Bhangra Paa Le’, this week’s new release produced by Ronnie Screwvala and directed by debutante Sneha Taurani, is a film which revolves around Bhangra as a dance form and the characters’ emotions attached to it.
Jaggi (Sunny Kaushal), just like his grandfather, the legendary Kaptaan (Sunny Kaushal in a double role) and father (Parmeet Sethi) has been passionate about bhangra ever since he was a child. Far from his home in a village in Punjab, he studies in a city-based college and performs with a group of people from the college who are a part of his core team. His dream is to compete in an international dance based competition and present bhangra in front of a large audience. He feels his team lacks a good female dancer and is in search for the same. One day, at a wedding, he sees Simi (Rukshar Dhillon) dancing; he is enchanted to see the way she dances and decides to approach her to join her team. Simi and Jaggi get along well until they realise they are from two different colleges which are always at loggerheads.
The film moves back and forth between the past and the present and soon, we begin to see the parallels drawn between the two. The first moves along breezily without any major hiccups. The events unfolding in front of one’s eyes, both in the past and the present, keep one engaged and the interval comes around at a good point in the story too. In the second half, there are a couple of things which seem rushed up. The way Jaggi convinces the folks in the Nendo Club in his village to be a part of his team does not come across as very interesting. The competition rounds in London, which one expected to be one of the highlights of the film, have not been shown elaborately. As a result, the climax is not as impactful as it could be. The scene between Sameer Soni and Rukshar Dhillon does not look very organic and arrives suddenly out of nowhere. The climactic sequence in the past, though, has been handle very nicely and leaves the desired impact. Apart from dance, romance is supposed to be one of the driving factors in the film – that could have been brought to the fore effectively. The romance between Nimmo – Kaptaan and Simi – Jaggi has its moments but it has not been explored as well as it should have been.
Sneha Taurani makes a confident debut as a director. The film deals in two worlds and hence, it is not an easy subject for one to make his or her debut with. Sneha shows a lot of promise as a filmmaker, for sure. Dheeraj Rattan’s script is good but could have been a lot better. He had an interesting subject matter in hand and several elements to play around with. A more balanced screenplay is what was needed here. Music (Jam8, Rishi Rich and Yash Narvekar) is one of the major assets of the film. Director of photography Jitan Harmeet Singh does a good job at bringing out a distinctive visual texture between the past and the present portions of the film.
Sunny Kaushal plays the two roles with finesse. There were times when he had to shoot for the present and flashback portions on the same day and it is good to see him pull it off so well. Rukshar Dhillon has a great presence and is a confident performer. She looks spellbindingly beautiful and delivers a memorable performance. Shriya Pilgaonkar gets a few scenes to shine as Nimmo. Her role is brief but impactful. Parmeet Sethi, Sheeba Chaddha and Akarsh Khurana leave a mark in brief roles.
‘Bhangra Paa Le’ had an interesting premise which could have led to a more engaging screenplay. Though there are flaws, it is a film which has its heart in the right place.