Sunday, April 17, 2005

Classic Dance of Love 

When B. Subhash decided to update the Bhagwati Charan Verma classic Chitralekha, into a hokey Classic Dance of Love, he probably didn’t intend it to be a comedy! Unfortunately, the ponderous writing, inept handling of the dated theme, terrible acting (except some scenes with Mithun Chakraborty), turn the film into a laugh riot. In fact, guffawing through it, is the only way of sitting through this dud—worse than anything Bollywood can (and does) put out with alarming frequency.

Mithun Chakraborty, who had once boogied into B-film stardom with Subash’s Disco Dancer, actually plays an ascetic guru Dr Acharya with a straight face, fulminating against “paapi” women who lead innocent men astray.

Chief sinner is Doli (Meghna Naidu), whose slow nasal speech sounds as if the recording tape malfunctioned. Even with her heavy make-up and tacky dress sense, this modern-day courtesan, manages to get London
millionaire Suraj (Vikas Bharadwaj) besotted by her.

Suraj and Doli do some heavy breathing under sheets, on beaches and in swimming pools before Acharya is able to break up the romance at the behest of Suraj’s worried father.

But Doli, made of sterner stuff, land up in the Guru’s ashram, demanding refuge and salvation. Once ensconced there, she pulls out a wardrobe of even skimpier outfits than she had been wearing so far, and in no time has the guru reduced to jelly at her feet.

Rejection and sexual frenzy drives the guru mad, and he takes to entertaining tourists with a strange classic dance of love, whatever that means.

The story of a man falling off his moral high horse had some potential, but it would take more than B.Subhash’s dubious directorial skills to make a convincing film of it in 2005. (Compared to this Vinod Pande’s comparatively superior Sins about a priest’s fall from grace seems like a masterpiece). And certainly much more than Meghna Naidu’s doubtful charms to convince anyone that she is such an irresistible houri who can not just attract an NRI millionaire but also cause a guru to lose his mind. Think of the regal Meena Kumari singing Sansar se bhaage phirte ho to Ashok Kumar in Chitralekha and then watch a half-naked Naidu pirouetting to Aa aa mujhe dekh, and you can see just how far Subhash is from anything resembling sensible filmmaking.


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