Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dance Dance (India, 1987)

Though I've been an avid consumer of Bollywood movies for the past several years, I have to admit to being a late bloomer when it comes to the films of 80s star Mithun Chakraborty. The praises of Disco Dancer and Commando have been ringing across the internet for quite some time now, but it's only been in the last few months that I've gotten around to watching them or anything else in Chakraborty's oeuvre. My most recent acquisition in my efforts to play catch-up was Dance Dance, which, like Disco Dancer and Commando, is a collaboration between Chakraborty and producer/director B. Subhash.

Though it doesn't quite provide the level of entertainment of Disco Dancer or Commando, Dance Dance is notable for how it pushes to the extreme all of those elements that set Mithun's films apart from the rest of the Bollywood pack. And if you know what I'm talking about, then you know that an appreciation of Dance Dance is one that has to be carefully cultivated, rather than come upon by way of the film possessing what any person of less, um, refined tastes would consider actual charms.

What's amazing about Dance Dance is how, like the product of some malevolent mirror Earth, it manages to take all of Bollywood's promises and turn them on their head: Where Bollywood promises dazzling spectacle, Dance Dance gives us community center rec room pageantry. Where Bollywood promises us toe-tapping, uplifting songs, Dance Dance gives us the musical atrocities of Bappi Lahiri. Where Bollywood promises lavish arrays of color, Dance Dance gives us scene after scene in which everything is red. Where Bollywood promises us resplendent costumes, Dance Dance gives us horrific assemblages of wife beaters, lycra and crepe paper.

Now, if I haven't already sold you on Dance Dance, consider that it also features one of Amrish Puri's most eccentric villain portrayals, exemplified by a scene in which he terrorizes Mithun's mom by chasing her around and blowing a trumpet at her.

So, in short: awesome movie. Seek it out and enjoy


Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

I've just discovered your blog here and at Lucha, and I love it! After reading this post, had to share mine on the same movie w/ u: http://apnieastindiacompany.blogspot.com/2008/02/dance-dance-nope-i-wont-sorry.html

Todd said...

Thanks, Shweta! Browsing your blog has only added to my ever-growing and, I fear, now completely insurmountable list of Bollywood movies that I need to see. Daku Mangalsingh in particular struck my fancy -- but, of course, if you mention Mard in connection with any film, you've pretty much got me right there.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

How can Mithun be responsible for something in malevolent mirror Earth? How unfair!

And of course I must see it.