ABCD, an acronym for Any Body Can Dance, should have been more fun than it is, given that it’s a true-blue 3D dance movie packed with energetic musical set-pieces. But the film suffers from the same malady that plagues this genre everywhere. Like the Step Up movies from which it’s evidently inspired, ABCD has a threadbare, predictable plot, and a cast of professional dancers who can break into gravity-defying moves but can’t deliver a line of dialogue convincingly.

Prabhu Deva stars as Vishnu, the chief instructor at a big-league dance company, who finds himself out in the cold when his shallow business partner (Kay Kay Menon) gives his job to a fancy American choreographer. Encouraged by a friend, Vishnu decides to start his own studio in a rundown garage, offering to train young dance enthusiasts from a lower middle class neighborhood for free.The wafer-thin screenplay reads like a laundry list of clichés, as the narrative moves clunkily from one tired plot-point to another. There’s a love triangle going on in the troupe, a follow-your-heart message delivered through another subplot, and there’s no escape from such overarching themes as the merits of hard work and honest competition.

To be fair, you don’t go into a dance movie expecting a layered script and character depth, but it’s unfortunate that even the dance numbers in ABCD seem interchangeable. There’s one set-piece filmed skillfully in the rain that stands out, as does the climatic performance at a dance competition. Yet, if none of it is particularly memorable, blame it equally on the disappointing soundtrack by Sachin-Jigar that doesn’t offer one unforgettable track. The ensemble cast of dancers has an infectious enthusiasm when it comes to their moves, but they’re woefully inept in the acting department. It doesn’t help that director Remo D’Souza (a well known Bollywood choreographer himself) demands full-on melodrama from his amateur actors in the film’s final act, and stays too long on their awkward close-ups in the emotional bits.

Prabhu Deva plays it straight as their committed instructor, occasionally giving you reason to smile as he breaks into a dance himself. Kay Kay Menon, meanwhile, sportingly sinks his teeth into the caricature that is the character of the cut-throat businessman who gets to deliver such bumper-sticker lines as: “Medicority is king” and “Packaging is everything”.

At 2 hours and 20 minutes, ABCD is too long. There’s some genuinely original choreography up there, but it’s lost in a plodding film with characters you couldn’t care less about.I’m going with a generous two out of five for ABCD. Even if it’s true what this film claims – that any body can dance – it also provides evidence that the same is not true of acting!

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  1. Deepak kumar

    February 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    i strongly disagree with the above my opinion(if it matters as i am not a film critic..nor i want to be!!)this is a wonderful movie complete in all respects..the cast crew was not professional rather newbies whose forte was dance and dance only..not the acting..thats why director laid more emphasis on dance than acting to make up for the acting.Obviously in a dance oriented movie you cant expect a paresh rawal dominating the movie withhis dialogue was pure dancing spectacle.a real feast for eyes for all the dance lovers of the nation..and i wonder how Mr masand has given 4 stars to a pathetic disaster like Matru ki bijlee that lacked in everthing and had so many waywardly awkward sub-plots without any theme,worsened by actings of imran and anushka..pankaj kapoor and shabana tried to uplift the movie but faltered…for me ABCD gets 4 out of 5 that too, and matru a one star..that too being liberal

  2. Deepak kumar

    February 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    after this review by Mr masand.i am not going to go by his reviews anymore..rather by my own hunches and reviews of people who get that “feel good” feeling after watching movie rather than analysing it from a critic’s POV who does an unwarranted critical analysis that sounds so whimsical in the end..good i watched ABCD rather than going by reviews

  3. Rohan Golwalkar

    March 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    You have to understand – he never said the dances were bad – but movie was really cliched,watch scenes from Step-up 1,2,3,4 and check if you don’t see striking similarities- acting was bad – there were no surprises either – at time one felt that scenes existed because the song and dance were already in place.
    Rajeev Masand always talks about quality of film-making and not about how much money it can make.
    it is also not to say the movie was not entertaining – it was fun to watch amazing dances – but we can do that by watching talent shows too – so if ABCD 2 is happening – it better have a good story and better direction.

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