In the 80s and the 90s, there were several Mithun Chakraborty and Govinda starrers that became famous for their dance numbers and the moves exhibited by the actors. These films were just masquerading as dance films and though they satiated the appetite of the viewers who were longing to watch movies of this genre, they could not match up to stylized danced based movies churned out by Hollywood. After making ‘F.A.L.T.U’, choreographer turned filmmaker Remo D’Souza gave India its first legit dance film in the form of ‘ABCD’. ‘ABCD’, a film starring professional dancers handpicked by Remo from reality shows, did well at the box office and gave the makers a chance to making a franchise out of it. Just after two years, the director is back with ‘ABCD 2’, its sequel which, apart from featuring dancers, stars Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor, two emerging stars.
Mumbai Stunners, a dance group, featuring Suresh (Varun Dhawan), Vinnie (Shraddha Kapoor) and some of their friends is accused of plagiarism. The group, which does not have a choreographer, borrows steps from an act performed by a Filipino dance group for a dance performance. It takes no time for the judges to figure it out and they disqualify them because of this unscrupulous act. The group gets disheartened but Suresh cheers them up by saying that they have another opportunity to prove themselves. He informs them about a prestigious hip-hop dance championship being held in Las Vegas and urges them to participate in it. But, there are a few issues they need to deal with first. Some of the group members have left, they do not have a choreographer and the amount of money they need to travel to Vegas and participate in the competition is very high. They get hold of Vishnu (Prabhu Dheva), a choreographer and manage to raise funds and find dancers for their group. After clearing the national auditions held in Bangalore, the group, now rechristened as ‘Indian Stunners’, head to Las Vegas with the hope of winning the ultimate competition.
‘ABCD 2’ has a runtime of almost two and a half hours. A film of this length needs to be corroborated by a water tight screenplay. In this case, the screenplay comes across as very convenient and over-simplistic. It resorts to all the clichés that you expect from a film of this genre. Plus, there are a few subplots that do not work. The twist involving Vishnu seems promising at first but comes across as half-baked. There could have been a few more scenes depicting Suresh’s relationship with his mother (Prachee Shah Pandya). Then, there is a lengthy track featuring actress Pooja Batra that serves no purpose other than promoting her restaurant.
Even though the plotline is fairly predictable, the film manages to maintain a smooth flow, courtesy the entertainment it provides. Though the screenplay is over-simplistic, it not bad either. There are several fun moments and emotional sequences that work. Even when you know what is coming, you cannot help but gasp in awestruck wonder as the group goes about their dance performances. You feel a sense of happiness as they pick themselves up from the ground and soar high. When you see one of the dancers coughing blood, you know what to expect in the climax. Having said that, the climax which features a breathtaking dance sequence, arouses emotions and has been handled with a lot of maturity. The film has a glossy look, the 3D effects are effective at several places and of course, the dance is spectacular. The acts one got to see in the first installment were good but the kind of dance one gets to see in this film is on another level altogether. The opening credits feature a dainty dance act with some nice 3D effects.
Varun Dhawan is clearly one of the better dancer-actors we have around. He has proved this with earlier films but after this film, nobody can point a finger on his dancing abilities. He gets the best part in the film and he pulls it off well. Shraddha Kapoor looks cute and is endearing as Vinnie. She shows her moves in the “Sun Saathiya” number. Although, not as skilled as the other dancers, she gives a good account of herself. It is a treat to watch Prabhu Dheva dancing in the “Happy Hour” song. He is good as the torchbearer of the group. Apart from impressing us with their dance, Dharmesh Yelende and Raghav Juyal offer some light moments. Despite being given a caricaturish character to play, Puneet Pathak is impressive. His solo dance performance is terrific. Lauren Gottlieb makes a late entry but gets enough moments to shine. She is almost like the second lead actress in the latter half. Prachee Shah Pandya is wasted in a cameo. Given the fact that she is a skilled dancer, one would have liked to see her dance. Tisca Chopra is effective in a brief role.
Remo D’Souza has come a long way since his last film as a director. Now, he seems to have got a better command over visuals and cinematic techniques. Despite being laden with an ordinary script, he makes a good film. He merges the script with some spellbinding dance acts. For most of the parts, he gets the emotions right too. He could have put some more thought while writing the screenplay with co-writer Tushar Hiranandani as it comes across as very simple and predictable. The dialogues (Mayur Puri) are very good and in sync with the youthful flavour of the film. Music is always an important of a dance based film. Sachin-Jigar deliver a bunch of foot tapping numbers that are visually appealing as well. The background score is good too. The film boasts of some stunningly choreographed (Remo D’Souza) dance numbers. The editor (Manan Sagar) should have used his scissor in certain sequences which seem stretched. Vijay Arora’s camerawork lends a lustrous look to the film.
‘ABCD 2’, based on the real life incidents of a Mumbai based dance group, was touted to be a dance based extravaganza. Apart from having several skillfully choreographed and performed dance numbers, the film offers some poignant moments as well. Yes, the script leaves a lot to be desired but it is a well mounted film that entertains and inspires as well.