Aaja Nachle is the kind of film that makes you shudder to think about a Hema Malini comeback. Imagine the Dream Girl in Iyengar-meets-International Airport twang, fat-ass figure-hugging denim, sleeveless blouses pouring out Mommy-cleavage… okie, let’s stop right there.
The kind of film that makes you thank God and Dr. Nene that Madhuri didn’t wait a couple of more years to wear her dancing shoes again.
It’s the kind of film where change-of-heart happens as often as change of underwear should. Or maybe musical as a genre gave Jaideep Sahni, an otherwise reliable screenwriter, the licence to keep changing tunes.
There are over half a dozen instances:
Time taken for politician to undergo change of heart after having his boys destroy the theatre: The time it takes to order lassi.
Time taken for jilted lover nursing a grudge to undergo change of heart after tearing her poster down: One night’s sleep.
Time taken for casting Miss Runny Nose as Laila who can’t dance to save her life or the worn-down structure’s: One sobbing piece of dialogue.
Time taken for half the town to turn receptive towards the idea of reviving theatre: A song.
Time taken for best friend to turn against Dia: Ummm! None
Time taken for her to repent: Ding! None.
Time taken for best friend’s evil scheming husband to undergo change of heart after watching the very show he didn’t want: Duh! None.
Let’s not even get started about time taken for change of art. Not even drop of a curtain, because there is none.
The ruins of a community centre turn to an amphitheatre that can host even Bombay Dreams, the kind that can conjure up an array of fountains, a revolving stage and suspended swings that make you believe you are watching David Copperfield and not a desi-Dixitised version of Honey.
What is it with Yash Raj Films really?
If you have so much money, why not subsidise ticket prices for improvisation shows like these.
After all, why should we pay when Aaja Nachle is the kind of fare we are used to in Nach Baliye and Jodi No.1, with an excuse of a plot, the plot being: What happens when Madhuri makes people dance?
What’s extremely tragic is that Aaja Nachle ended up being just about a dance show (which no doubt is spectacular, in fact too spectacular for our own discomfort) when it promised much more in terms of sub-plot and sub-text with its motley crew of characters and context of art in a world-run by commerce.
But that seems to be the price you have to pay for making a film centred around your superstar. Would the audience like it if the diva-like Goddess found true love in the form of a chai-wala who looks like Ranvir Shorey?
Madhuri just has to play herself and bank on her natural charm while Ranvir, Vinay, Konkana, Kunal, Irrfan and Akshaye Khanna come up with performances you will remember for a long time to come. The kind that will give make your heart glow.
Too bad it just remained The Vaibhavi Merchant Show.
Especially in the Hindi fillum context jahaan naach-gaana raita hota hai, puri biryani nahin.