Sunday, December 9, 2007

Aaja Nachle: Madhuri could not have asked for a better comeback vehicle

Aaja Nachle got a shock on the day of release when an allegedly casteist remark caused various state Governments in North India to ban it. However, when the Director apologized and got the remark (in a song) removed, then things were fine and the bans were lifted. At the same time, this movie got a lot of criticism over many different points:
1. Madhuri got so much to do in the script that one hardly got to see much of the dancing that one would expect in a movie such as this
2. Acting by some talented people such as Konkona Sen was not upto the mark; her role was to a large extent that of a empty headed small town girl. Of course, there was some balance in the sense that she played the role to a beauty, but then when she has given such good performances in the part, she could have been given a role with more depth
3. The fact that the story hardly had much of song and dance, with the script giving a wide exposure to Madhuri as she threaded her way through the small town, there was not enough time to have more song and dance
4. Then there is some criticism of the way that the town has been setup, with a lot of critics panning it for the lack of realism

Aaja Nachle

I just watched the movie today, and I do not have the same amount of negativism. I liked the movie. The movie is an excellent comeback vehicle for Madhuri in the sense that it gives her a woman centered role, that does not make her pretend to be a 25 year old, and yet brings back the 2 elements that most people remember - her dance and her smile. And there is a hint of the sensuality, while not being so obvious and in your face as used to be when she was in her prime.
The story is fairly simple; a small town girl wants to learn dancing, and while doing that, she falls for a foreigner. Against opposition, she runs away to America, and soon gets divorced (she is already estranged from her parents). She has made a life for herself over there with her daughter, when she gets a phone call telling her that the dance school guru is gravely ill. She rushes back, and soon discovers that the dance school is in danger of being leveled to make way for a shopping mall. It has not been attracting students and is in a derelict and abandoned condition, so it is a logical conclusion to tear it down (with the move being spearheaded by the local royalist MP (Akshaye Khanna) and the builder (Irfan Khan)).
Now the quest for Madhuri is to negotiate the saving of the dance floor, and she makes a deal; if in 2 months, she can get a successful full dance involving local people, then the deal will not go through and the dance floor is saved. What follows is an absolute effort where Madhuri uses whatever means she can to get her way; whether that involves getting local political opposition squelched through the promise of an issue in the elections, or by negotiating getting her hero (who is actually a small time goonda), and so on. She used a local colored rickshaw to get more locals involved.
One of the weaknesses of the movie is the fact that given this is Madhuri's comeback vehicle, it seems excessively so; Madhuri is almost there in seemingly every scene. As a result, you see other characters without their getting much of a chance to develop. After all, you are going to see a movie, and when there are characters such as Ranvir Shorey and Vinay Pathak, you expect to see more of them. Similarly, Akshaye Khanna is there in a few scenes, but his character seems very flat, with a smile almost permanently plastered on his face. I hope that Akshaya Khanna had a guest role, because if this was a full role, then it just was not long enough.
The movie is directed by Anil Mehta, and music by Salim - Sulaimaan Merchant. Lyrics are by Jaideep Sahni, Piyush Mishra and Asif Ali Beg.

Videos of songs:

Ishq Hua

Show me your Jalwa

Dance with Me

The various songs of the movie are:

1. Aaja Nachle (sung by Sunidhi Chauhan)
2. Ishq Hua (Shreya Ghosal & Sonu Nigam)
3. Show Me Your Jalwa (Richa Sharma, Kailash Kher & Salim Merchant)
4. Ore Pia (Rahat Fateh Ali Khan)
5. Soniye Mil Ja (Sukhwinder Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan & Madhuri Dixit)
6. Is Pal (Sonu Nigam & Shreya Ghoshal)
7. Koi Patthar Se Na Maare (Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal & Sonu Nigam)
8. Dance With Me (Sonia Saigal)


LuckyKabutar said...

i'm inspired to watch the movie now. All the earlier reports on this movie had me disappointed. But now I'm going to check it out.

s.j.simon said...

Didn't realize how many songs Sonu has sung in his career. I am a big fan. I found this great site that has tons of songs sung by him. Enjoy!