Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor Street Dancer 3D Movie Review


A dance film is not just about dance. It is about the human condition that dance brings joy to. It is about the issues, whether small or large, that the acrobatics of loose limbs can solve.

In Street Dancer 3D, the issue is literally on the streets. The image of the successful South Asian diaspora lures all and sundry to the West, many of whom find themselves lost, unemployed, and worst of all, without hope, homeless and hungry. The men on the streets (all are men, the first flight of migrants) in this movie need saving.

This story sets up its heroes, all street dancers, (but rich- the irony of the moneyed class using a dance form that bloomed from among the poor, to help the poor, isn’t lost. Some people call it appropriation, some call it heroism) to win a dance competition, ‘The Ground Zero Competition’, where there is “no jury, only fury”, the award for which is enough money to send all of the homeless back home, where they came from.

The philosophical issue of this is thus: Send the struggling immigrants back home, where there aren’t prospects for growth, instead of creating mechanisms for them to find a job, community, and income security in foreign lands. The heroes here could have done that, the writing would have changed only minutely, but the emotional heft of ‘going back home’ is privileged in this movie, over ‘finding a home’.

This is the central conflict. (Their main competitor for this competition is a mostly white street dance crew and Nora Fatehi who expertly humps the floor) But this only takes full force much later in the second half. Until then there is the jarringly silly and unconvincing India-Pakistan conflict. Inayat (a wily Shraddha Kapoor) is from Pakistan. Sahej (an earnest Varun Dhawan) is from India. Their entourage of dancers too belong to their nationality. This plays out through food-fights as they watch the cricket matches that India and Pakistan play.

The reason for the underwhelming, almost boring run-through of the first two thirds of the film is that none of these scenes ‘finish’. For example, you have two competing dance teams confronting each other and one happens to win but you never feel like they won. You don’t vicariously experience the satisfaction of victory, or the dejection of loss. Sometimes you don’t even know who won. It just plays out listlessly, an excuse to flex those dance muscles.


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