Time to Dance Review (No Spoilers): Makes Student of the Year 2 Look Like Shakespeare

You think “it’s a dumb dance movie! I know it will be bad, no biggie, I have seen dumb dance movies before”. But, you have no idea! It’s so SO bad! The greatest value in it, is that it makes you appreciate the high comparative quality of other dance movies.

So far as I am concerned, the goal of popular media is happiness. That doesn’t mean it can’t make you think or feel, for some people thinking new thoughts or feeling a range of emotions from fear to sorrow does make them happy. But popular media should be something crafted to make the majority of people in the world enjoy experiencing it. There’s a separate category for art that is not crafted to be popular, that is crafted to speak to a group with an elite understanding. But popular art, it’s just there for people to be happier for having seen it.

Sooraj Pancholi's Time To Dance set for Netflix premiere on March 12, 2021  - EasternEye

Dumb dance movies make me very very happy. The plot is predictable, the dialogue is trite, the acting is stiff, and the dance numbers are ridiculous. But it brings me joy!!! And must bring a lot of people joy because there are a lot of dumb dance movies.

Here’s the thing though. Just because the end product is brainless, doesn’t mean the person who made it is brainless. It takes a lot of effort to successfully make something that is enjoyable, but dumb. You think “bad acting, predictable plot, trite dialogue, I could make this!” But, you can’t. There’s a surprising amount of skill involved in making something that is both bad and good at the same time.

This movie, NO SKILL!!!! First off, the dancing is really not great. I should say, the dancing and choreography and directing is not great. The whole concept for the dance numbers is not great. You don’t actually need a great dancer to be the lead of your Dance Film (although it helps). What you need is choreography that plays to their strength in a way that makes them LOOK good. And directing that edits it all around so you don’t notice the flaws. And a concept that is so fun and ridiculous, you don’t care about the details. And a fabulous group of actual real dancers backing up the stars. In this case, the two leads are not only shockingly bad dancers, like no joy or rhthym to them, it’s also really boring choroegraphy. Sooraj Pancholi can basically only do a sort of pointing/skipping move when he dances. Fine! Have him point and skip on top of a helicopter, or while all the back up folks are doing back flips around him, or in 3D, SOMETHING. Isabelle Kaif looks stiff and unhappy while dancing. Okay, fine, have her be stiff and unhappy in slow motion so it’s harder to notice. Or surround her with chorus girls who look the same so she is kind of lost in the crowd. I’m not saying I could actually make it better with my ideas, that’s kind of my point, I came away from this with a lot of respect for truly talented folks. But I at least know enough to know that there has to be SOMETHING more, someone involved in this needs to have a real vision for how to make the dance numbers pop.

This is what I mean by POP. One good dancer, a bunch of back up people, but it’s all in the concept and colors and FUN of it all.

A dance movie lives and dies on the dance numbers. It’s what makes the whole rest of the film worth watching for the audience, it’s also what says to the audience “yeah, we know this is a silly movie, but we are working hard to make it fun for you”. You don’t actually want a dance movie with a real “plot” or anything, because it distracts from the dancing. That’s why I like Step Up 1 the least of all the Step Ups. It has an actual plot and actual good acting and BOOO!!!! I don’t want that in my dance movie!!!! I want Step Up 5: All In where there’s some big competition that will save the school, but mostly a lot of really really inventive dance routines. In a film with good dance numbers, weak acting and predictable plot and so on is actually a strength. But in a film with bad dance numbers, all of a sudden all those things become problems.

In this film, it’s beyond the normal “bad acting” and “predictable plot” and so on. It’s just SO bad!!!!! I can happily watch any of the ABCD movies, or the Step Up movies or Student of the Year 2 or anything with Astaire-Rogers or Gene Kelly or Eleanor Powell all on my own and enjoy them. This movie is sooooooooooooo bad that the only possible way to watch it is through a communal hate watch. Partly because you need someone with you to confirm “wait, that just happened, right?”

19 thoughts on “Time to Dance Review (No Spoilers): Makes Student of the Year 2 Look Like Shakespeare

  1. Thanks! You just saved me a lot of time.

    Question: How was it ever released? Didn’t anybody behind it know what a disaster it was going to be? Katrina must have had some idea her sister was going to be roasted.

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    • Being released make sense, it took months to find a place to buy it and ended up going straight to Netflix, so clearly they didn’t have much faith in the film. Getting made at all is what surprises me. The only way it makes sense is if Salman paid for it under the table, and I am like 95% sure that is what happened. He has produced all of Isabelle and Sooraj’s previous films, and other people involved here (like, the rapper Guru Randwawa who wrote the one good song ont he soundtrack) are also Salman friends. I bet he found a production house, told them “keep my name out of it, but I will pay for everything”, and that’s how the movie happened.

      On Thu, May 13, 2021 at 10:01 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I have has NO time to comment this week. But I meant to tell you, my sister and I watched this last weekend and it was SO SO SO bad. And we both LOVE bas dance movies!!!

    What threw me off completely at first was the bad dubbing of multiple characters and the weird weird dialogue. If the friend (Hayat) said “yaara” while talking to Isabelle one more time I was going to lose it. Here’s the thing, this was getting released on Netflix. Netflix is not cheap in India. Therefore, this was clearly targeted toward an audience that speaks English. It was set in England. Just have the movie be Hinglish!!! Have Isa say her dialogues in English with a bit of Hindi sparced in there. I think maybe if that had happened the actors could have just focused on delivering the dialogue instead of trying to concentrate on their lips moving to Hindi dialogue.

    Isabelle Kaif has been formally trained to dance since she was a little girl. So you would think that she could dance without being so stuff. But it felt like she was concentrating so much on the steps that she forgot to have fun or feel the moves or show any emotion. Speaking of emotion, there was also NO chemistry between the characters. I blame the director on this one. These kids are new, its up to the director to help bring some feeling into this.

    I will say that my sister and I did have a blast making fun of the movie! My dad could not understand why we were yelling and giggling at the TV so much. However, it was so bad that it took us 3 sittings to finish an hour and a half movie.

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    • YES! I was watching this with a friend who suggested all the English dialogue was written by google translate. And then I pointed out that the Hindi dialogue also seems to be by google translate. So we decided maybe a Polish person or someone wrote it and google translated everything?

      I mean, they aren’t THAT new! Hero with Sooraj and Doctor Cabbie with Isabelle were both years and years ago. They’ve had a long time to work on their craft and get better. And yet, no. Dancing isn’t better, acting isn’t better, even appearance isn’t that different. What have they been doing for the past 5 years????

      On Thu, May 13, 2021 at 10:11 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. `
    Your description of good bad popular movies reminded me of all the Mickey Rooney / Judy Garland films. They were working HARD to make something for people to enjoy . . . but which would not ever be discussed in a cinema class.

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    • I love the old Garland/Rooney films, altho in hindsight knowing what they were put through makes watching them bittersweet. Still, you could tell in every frame thay were “present” to each other. In Time to Dance, there’s no chemistry between Kaif and Pancholi. They don’t even connect in the poster.

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      • YES! No relationship between the stars, no joy in it, just feels like they are slogging away and doing hard work.

        On Thu, May 13, 2021 at 11:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • So I guess there isn’t a sexy dance scene when the couple finally starts feeling something and begins dance better? What’s the point of doing this movie then?

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    • This is me being serious, but I think she is just a BAD ACTRESS!!!! Kat smiles and suddenly feels young and fresh and happy. Isabelle just always looks like as our middle-aged woman.

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