Munna Michael Review (SPOILERS): Made Me Think of the Whole History of Dance Films in India

Well, that was a movie that happened!  So glad I saw it with someone else, by the time we were 5 minutes in, my friend Dina and I were already getting the giggles just by exchanging glances.  But it was kind of neat how it made me think back and really appreciate other better versions. (no spoiler review here) (oh, and I just remembered, I did a post already on the history of dance on film in general, you should read that here)

I’m just gonna go right through this sucker!  We open in 1995.  Ronit Roy is an aging back-up dancer with a Michael Jackson gimmick.  Of course, in “real” 1995, he was in this movie.

 

On his way home, Ronit finds a tiny baby abandoned in a dumpster and decides to take it home and raise it.  Like Akshay in Jaanwar, and yet somehow more ridiculous and also more dull.

 

Baby Tiger grows up into real Tiger, dedicated to dance and Michael Jackson through an almost cool time changing montage.  But it’s still not as good as this, which was of course also not as good as the original that inspired it from Singin’ the Rain.

 

He grows up and builds a dance crew that goes around and suckers rich kids into club dance offs and then takes their money (is this a thing?  I never go out after dark, I don’t know what happens in clubs!).  It’s almost identical to Prabhu Deva in ABCD except without being good.

 

But then they are banned from all the Bombay clubs because of illegal dancing?  Or something?  Anyway, they are out, so Tiger goes to Delhi to pull the same scam, gets into a dance battle that turns into a real battle with a bratty club kid, the bratty club kid is the younger brother of Nawazuddin, a local don type guy, who then hires Tiger to teach him how to dance because he is in love with Nidhi Agarwal, a dancer.  It’s like Let’s Make Love, only with Nawazuddin and Tiger instead of Yves Montand and Gene Kelly.

Image result for let's make love gene kelly

(this is the strangest movie.  I’m not even sure if I should recommend it or not)

Nawazuddin takes Tiger to go see Nidhi at her dance hall place and she does a terrible and kind of dull dance.  Not nearly as good as this one, also from Jaanwar (that movie really does have everything!)

 

Tiger helps Nawazuddin to woo Nidhi by befriending her, but is torn because he finds himself falling for her and she for him.  It’s kind of like this, only worse because it’s Tiger and a model/actress instead of Prabhdeva and Kajol.

 

But then Nidhi runs away after Nawazuddin’s brother scares her and goes to Bombay to follow her dreams and win a dance contest.  Tiger is sent to track her down, finds her, but then is touched by the purity of her dreams and offers to help.  And this sounds stupid, but it is not in fact as stupid as Lafangay Parindey.

(He accidentally blinds her, so then decides to help her win the big roller dancing contest that is her lifelong ambition using the skills he developed by boxing blindfolded in an underground fight ring.  It’s not as good as it sounds)

They put together a crew and start practicing, Tiger the whole time pretending he can’t dance, but secretly helping to train the crew.  Nidhi figures it out and confronts him and insists he admit he is in love with her and become her boyfriend.  It’s very similar to this song, but much worse because no Madhuri (although Sanjay Kapoor=Tiger Shroff).

 

So, they admit they are in love, and suddenly are transported to Petra in Jordan (HOW WERE THEY ABLE TO FILM THERE????).  Which is a transparent imitation of the Grand Canyon dance in ABCD 2, which isn’t even that great of a dance, but is still better than this one.

 

Nawazuddin figures out what is happening right before the big final dance (oh no!) and forces Tiger to take Nidhi back to Delhi for him by kidnapping Tiger’s beloved father Ronit Roy.  But Nidhi rejects him, and Ronit Roy gives his blessing, so they hurry back to Bombay, interrupted on the way by a fight scene, but doesn’t matter, they show up just in time for the big dance and when Nidhi slips and messes up, Tiger leaps in to save her dance team (despite never being an official contestant, I don’t understand TV  dance shows), tying a handkerchief around his leg to stop the bleeding.  Like Shahrukh did for the end of Koyla except in that case HE REALLY WAS INJURED.

Image result for koyla shahrukh khan ending

(See the face of “my knee cap is falling off but we can’t break the filming schedule so I just tied it back on with Madhuri’s Dupatta”?)

Oh, and then they win the big competition thing, what a SHOCK.  But only after the hero’s father leads the audience in chanting his name.  Like Strictly Ballroom, only not incredibly inventive and beautiful and making me cry every time.  And with chanting instead of clapping.

 

And finally, there is a confrontation between Nawazuddin and Tiger over Tiger “stealing” Nidhi.  And Tiger says it doesn’t matter who loves her more, it matters who SHE loves.  Which I don’t have a reference for because I can’t think of a movie where this was actually said out loud before!  It’s always about the two guys deciding who the girl gets to end up with!  So, good on Sabbir Khan!  One moment of originality in the whole thing.

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19 thoughts on “Munna Michael Review (SPOILERS): Made Me Think of the Whole History of Dance Films in India

  1. I was curious about the marketing of this film. How many of the dance sequences did they release prior to the movie coming out? I remember for ABCD 2 they ended up releasing 6 video songs and one of those songs wasn’t even in the final cut of the movie. And then they still had 4 or 5 songs that weren’t let out ahead of the release. How many songs are there in Munna Michael that you can’t see on YouTube at the moment?

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    • The only song not already out is a couple of the heroine’s. There really are not that many dance set pieces. Tiger gets one big one at the beginning and closing, and the rest of it is just the usual stuff, nothing that really blew my mind.

      Again, unliked ABCD2, where we only went a few minutes between dances and they were all complex things, nothing was “just” a love song or whatever. As I said in the podcast, you could really feel the lack of a brilliant choreographer. With Remo directing the ABCDs himself, he could throw in as many dances as he wanted whenever he wanted.

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        • Huh. Well, it wasn’t great! That one dance, the big set piece, had a lot of fancy moves, but wasn’t very interesting as a dance. The other dances didn’t even have that. I would guess that they brought in the outsiders to come up with new fancy movies India hadn’t seen before, but the overall concept of the song never really gelled.

          Also, these stories are giving me flashbacks to when Aamir learned tap dance for Dhoom 3 from a world class tap dance group, and then it just wasn’t that interesting. “Different” doesn’t always mean good.

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          • Lol, I remember everyone in the group that I went to see Dhoom 3 with decided that they made Aamir Khan do a tap dance which was technically different because he couldn’t match up to Hrithik in Dhoomm 2.

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          • Definitely the only explanation. The best description of that dance is one a friend of mine gave me, “Aamir spent 6 weeks learning to tap dance and he dances like someone who spent 6 weeks learning to tap dance.”

            On Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 10:28 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

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      • Is Remo D’Souza the only choreographer turned director that made a full on dance film? I think it would be interesting to see Farah Khan make one. Is she even going to direct again?

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        • Farah seems to take looooooong breaks between films. I am sure she has something that is being slowly developed, but it isn’t even at the rumor stage. And yes, I would love to Farah do a dance film! Even more than Happy New Year, which technically revolved around a dance competition.

          I wish Prabhu Deva would make a more dancing film, but at least in Hindi he seems most comfortable with action films in which there is one really interesting dance.

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          • I remember reading a rumor sometime last year that she was going to do a film with Varun but I don’t think that’s true since nothing more came about it.

            Prabhu Deva once said that he’s never going to make a dance film because he doesn’t think he can match up to Remo’s films or something like that.

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          • Prabhu does seem to have a way of choreographing for others (who aren’t Hrithik or Madhuri) which is more about a simple fun move and over all concept for the song rather than a massive mind blowing dance team kind of thing.

            Anyway, Remo’s movies are perfect for what they are, and so long as Prabhu keeps showing up in them to sort of play “the spirit of dance”, I am happy.

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          • Telugu/Tamil choreographer Lawrence made such full-length dance competition based movie in Telugu named Style (2006) – Prabhu Deva played an important role in that.
            Prabhu Deva himself directed a dance based movie Pournami in 2006.

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  2. I was misled by the title – I think you meant dance films from Bollywood. There are very good dance based movies in other languages like Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.

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