Street Dancer 3D Review (No Spoilers): A Varun-Shraddha Love Story Wrapped Around a Dance Battle Wrapped Around a Prabhudeva Tribute

If you think this is the kind of movie for you, it is. If you don’t think this is the kind of movie for you, it isn’t. There are no surprises here, it is exactly as promised.

This movie is so good/bad!!!! It’s good, because the plot is tight and logical and moves forward at a straight pace, the dance numbers are epic, and it even has a nice message (the immigrant community should unite to help themselves instead of fighting between each other). It’s bad because Varun Dhawan does a shirtless Dance of Torment alone in his studio.

Image result for varun dhawan street dancer"
He is shirtless A LOT. this poster is accurate

So this is not a film to go to for emotional depth, realism, or even three dimensional characters. But it is a film to go to in order to see an underground dance battle held in a cathedral. I will absolutely go to a film for that!

This is also pretty much the perfect film for Shraddha and Varun as a couple. They are both very hard workers and decent dancers, so you can really believe them as leaders of rival dance crews. Well, “believe”. If we pretend we are in a world where rival dance crews is a thing, then I can easily make the further leap to believe Shraddha and Varun as rival leaders. They are also both playing rich kids, thank goodness, because I couldn’t believe Shraddha and Varun as poor struggling street kids. And their interactions tend more towards the teasing and pulling pigtrails side of things than deep romantic moments, which also works well for Shraddha and Varun, they’ve got a great teasing friendship sort of vibe.

Mostly it is perfect for their acting range. Varun has a nice broad range, he can go all the way down to broad comedy, or all the way up to Badlapur. Shraddha is pretty much a two note range, she can play a sweet nice girl, or she can play a sweet nice girl with a physical ability. Varun coming down to Shraddha’s level in this lets him relax and really find his sweet spot, and Shraddha just does her Shraddha thing next to him, and they are a perfect match. In a limited way. Watching this movie wouldn’t make me go “oh wow, they are the next big thing! I will cast them in my deep romantic comedy!”, but it does make me go “Hey, those two kids are kind of cute! I like them! I will caste them in my toothpaste ad!”

And then there’s Prabhudeva. Remo D’Souza really REALLY knows how to use him. This film is clearly pulling a Krrish, it changed the title but it is “3” because it is the third movie in the ABCD series. Since the first ABCD, where Kay Kay Menon did the job of acting for both of them, through the second ABCD where Prabhudeva played it grumpy and reserved so he never had to talk, and finally this one where he just kind of stands there and mostly acts with his face, Remo understands that Prabhudeva is a not a “dialogue” kind of guy. In this movie, he has no backstory really, no explanation, he just appears, gives gyan in a few words, does a spectacular dance number that blows everyone’s mind, and then steps back and let’s the lessor humans deal with stuff like “dialogue” and “plot”.

Image result for abcd kay kay menon"

This is such a fabulous film, I suppose it might bring in people less aware of Prabhu’s background. He comes from a classical dance family and a film family (his father was a choreographer), finished his classical training around 12 (as is traditional), and had his first featured dance in a film at 14. After 7 years of being a featured dancer, at 21 he was given his first lead roles and broke through with his songs “Mukkabla” and “Urvashi” which blew up in a way I can’t really describe. South Indian songs just don’t go national, ever, and those two song videos not only became a national crave, they broke through internationally into the diaspora. At 21, Prabhu was acknowledged as the greatest living dancer in India. After that, his films were consistently middling hits, as people would line up to buy tickets just for his dances even if his acting was never good and most of the films weren’t terribly well-written or directed. It was a big big deal when he came north to choreograph and dance with Madhuri Dixit in Pukar, and again to choreograph Hrithik in Lakshya. In the mid-2000s, he switched to directing and doing smaller roles. I suspect partly because of personal issues, his son died at age 12 and after that he had a scandalous affair with an actress that eventually fell apart (horrible for his grieving wife, but then Prabhu was also grieving so maybe we give him a pass?). And then finally moved to Bombay and started directing, a complete change of scene for himself and his family.

Also, Prabhu is deeply inspired by Gene Kelly which no one but me seems to have noticed. Someday I will meet him and we will geek out together about the newspaper dance in Summer Stock.

Since his directing switch, Prabhu hasn’t totally stopped acting, but the ABCD series is something special. It is directed by Remo D’Souza who is a Hindi film choreographer that Prabhu would have know from the industry. The first film along with Prabu starred Ganesh Acharya, another choreographer, along with Prabhu. The rest of the cast was clearly filled in by dancers from Remo’s troupe, the kind who are super talented but usually get stuck standing behind the star instead of shining on their own. Prabhu did the lead role, it included a big featured dance for him to his first massive hit “Urvashi”, the whole film we a tribute to Prabhu. The second film in the series, ABCD2, brought in Varun and Shraddha to star with Prabhu and gave them move of a plot and more featured dancing to do, although the troupe dancers were still there and still featured more than usual. And now we are here, Varun and Shraddha have oodles of plot, Nora Fatehi is there to do way more dancing than she usually gets to do, plus the usual “not great actors but great dancers” cast, and Prabhu still gets his big moment in the sun because ultimately, that is what we are here for.

Original dance, which is INSANE. Especially when you realize Prabhu choreographed it at age 21

See this movie because it is a fun silly dance film, see this movie because it is a good Varun role, see this movie for all those reasons. But remember the real purpose and meaning of the film is a tribute to Prabhudeva. His dance is about an hour and twenty minutes in, post-interval, and in my theater as soon as the music started the cheers got so loud you couldn’t hear. But the biggest tribute was that as soon as Prabhu’s dance was over, three guys sitting in my row got up and walked out. They bought their tickets, drove to the theater, sat through the whole first half, just to see Prabhu dance. And now they were ready to go home, because what else was there to see?

11 thoughts on “Street Dancer 3D Review (No Spoilers): A Varun-Shraddha Love Story Wrapped Around a Dance Battle Wrapped Around a Prabhudeva Tribute

  1. Man this sounds like ABCD 2 with a better plot which is what I was mainly hoping for. I’m so mad that it’s not playing down here in College Station! I don’t think I can handle waiting an entire week until I get to see it. Oh yeah, one thing I wanted to ask is how many songs are in the movie that they didn’t release beforehand?

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    • I think there are a lot of songs? None of the Dance Battle songs are out, and Varun has a ridiculous solo that isn’t out. There’s also a kind of montage-y Ganesh song. Now that I think about it, I think they released all the songs that were regular songs with start and end and lyrics and stuff. But the dance battle songs are that kind of edited up feeling that wouldn’t fit in a standard song video. So maybe one “song” you haven’t seen, but lots and lots of dance numbers to mixed up music.

      On Sat, Jan 25, 2020 at 11:31 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • He has a whatever it is called. “Happy trial”? Something like that.

      On Sat, Jan 25, 2020 at 11:47 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. WHAT LOVE STORY? That was my one big complaint about this movie, that aside from a couple scenes, there was really no love story between Varun and Shraddha, or at least way less than in ABCD2, which also felt like nothing. I just saw the title and had to say that, but I’m gonna read the rest of your review in a bit.

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    • Well, you could read it as a slow build love story with all the fight flirting and stuff. But on the other hand, they only had one actual conversation.

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      • I’m coming back to this post super late, but I had a lot of conversations with people, and I think my biggest problem with that aspect of the movie is that it was so heavily marketed as a love story, from Varun and Shraddha too, and I didn’t feel like we got it. From the interviews and posts, and Lagdi Lahore as a whole video, which was completely altered and spliced up in the movie, I felt insanely let down. I’d be fine with slow burn, but it does have to catch fire at some point, and I feel like it didn’t. One conversation (and I think I know which one you’re talking about) does not a love story make.

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        • That’s a problem with all the ABCD movies. Somehow Remo just can’t handle the romance storyline.

          In other related news, did you read my Silly Sunday suggestion of a rom-com for Varun and Shraddha?

          On Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 10:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I did, and it was super sweet and lovely! There are definitely improvements that could be made, but I couldn’t think of anything specific. I write real fanfiction occasionally, and my friend wants me to “fix” their love story and we came up with a great idea, it’s just going to take so much planning.
            And I finally read your new HSKD review and wrote the longest comment on it because it was so beautiful and my brain fell down a rabbit hole.

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          • Yaaaay! Comments!!!! You inspired the new HSKD review, since you mentioned the sex scene and made me go back to it.

            On Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 4:59 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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