Planet Bollywood
Chance Pe Dance
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Director: Ken Ghosh
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Genelia D’Souza
Music: Adnan Sami, Sandeep Shirodkar
Lyrics: Kumaar, Irfan Siddiqui, Amitabh Bhattacharya
Genre: Musical
Film Released on: 15 January 2009
Reviewed by: Ankit Ojha  - Rating: 4.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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Sometimes you get into the theatre with a jubilant prediction but go out of it with a virtual ‘slap’ on your face, realizing your prediction has been a wrong one and the word ‘wrong’ sometimes being such an understatement that you think of other more artful, colorful words to describe its pathetic nature!

In the case of Ken Ghosh’s third directorial effort Chance Pe Dance, one comes across a similar feeling. Going into the theatre one feels the euphoria of watching a Shahid Kapoor movie, but coming out of the theatre, you wonder, where is the storyline? And why is there so much predictability?

The disappointment arises because of two really important factors which arouses unprecedented expectations among the potential viewers. Firstly, Shahid Kapoor has acquired an almost-superstar status, with his movies Kaminey and Jab We Met earning accolades worldwide. Secondly, this is Ken Ghosh’s third directorial effort after his immensely successful first – Ishq Vishk – and a damp second – Fida. Also, Ken retuns to cinema to direct after a hiatus of more than five years.

What one expects is a thrilling tale of struggle and dance, but what one gets is a below average predictable affair that beats around the bush for so long you just don’t get it.

Sameer Behl (Shahid Kapoor) arrives in Mumbai to become an actor. This tale talks about his struggle to reach the top, his love life with choreographer Tina (Genelia D’Souza) and his ultimate destination.

I was awed with the promos. I was impressed by the synopsis. Admittedly, I was let down by the songs but that’s okay. I had some amount of faith in the director. But all that faith was gone when I watched the movie which sadly, stands on a wafer thin script, ironically written by Ghosh himself. Ghosh’s direction stands out, but the shoddy script just doesn’t give justice to anything else.

The story of strugglers is not new and it has recently been tried out successfully in Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance, and before that, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion where the lead character’s struggles don’t have anything clichéd in terms of dialogues and the unfolding of sequences. Unfortunately, this is something that becomes a hindrance in Chance Pe Dance. The dialogues especially are tacky, and the comedy aspect tries so hard to make you laugh it ends up failing! The second half picks up a bit but it’s too late by then as the first half is painstakingly slow and horribly boring. And by the time you have some faith in this movie, the abrupt and clichéd ending totally blows it, and makes you want to say 'sorry guys, game over'!

The music is plain average, and were it not for the colorful visuals and the mind-blowing visual effects associated with the awesome camerawork within it, it would have fallen flat like a pack of cards. Special mention goes to the production of “Just Do It”, “One More Dance”, “Rishta Hai Mera” and “Pump it Up” especially the awesome lighting, rock-solid editing and excellent choreography (save “Rishta hai Mera”). Ken Ghosh, unfortunately, is stuck up in music video mode, and needs to come out of it as soon as possible.

Technically, the movie is really good, with a nice background score, decent cinematography and smooth camerawork. What works in its technical aspects, at the risk of repeating myself, are the stunning visual effects, color correction and fantastic lighting, especially in songs. Motion graphics are strictly okay though. What doesn’t work in its otherwise sturdy technical aspects is the awful editing. Placement of some scenes is so awful you wonder why they’re in the movie anyway. Also, the start of the movie with a song before the opening title sequence doesn’t make any sense at all. What really annoyed me was the closing titles; well okay, you have a music video (“Yaba Daba Yahoo”), fine. But what happens if there are more titles and the music video finishes before the titles? The answer is, you put in a suitable instrumental, a song to ease off the atmosphere and bring in some class. But hell no! The titles roll silently in the haunting atmosphere of the almost empty cinema hall and I breathed a welcome sigh of relief as I saw the last of the credits roll by, and almost ran out to get some noise.

So what kept me glued to the seat till the end? It’s the excellent performances from the lead pair, and decent performances from the supporting cast. Shahid Kapoor is an excellent performer, and though his character is not so well-written, he pitches in an earnest performance, perfecting his body language and emotions and bringing in some realism into his clichéd role. Oh, and he’s an excellent dancer too! Everybody might know that, but here his dance moves are smooth and not forced at all! Genelia is a natural and pitches in a wonderful performance. Her subtlety and understatement in her role shows us why she’s one of the better actresses in Bollywood of late. The chemistry they create together on-screen is simply cute.

Supporting cast do nicely too. Pariksheet Sahani is getting typecast as the father, but he’s decent nevertheless. Mohnish Behl gets over-the-top and his understated performances of late in movies like Heroes and Vaada Raha are much better than this one. Satish Shah has nothing to do other than look funny and act embarrassed. The kids are cute, especially the one playing the silent Shania. It is so unfortunate though that style, technical finesse and performances cannot salvage a movie if it doesn’t have a script, and that’s exactly what happens here.

This was a kind of an acid test for both Ken Ghosh and Shahid Kapoor, something both of them have obviously failed to pass. After watching the movie. I’ve got some sound advice for both of them. Shahid should keep looking for better scripts to salvage his Kaminey-boosted repute, because he’s an excellent actor and shoddy scripts will do him no good, and Ken should write and direct a better script next time to save himself from being called a one-film wonder in Bollywood.

Overall, this is a golden ‘chance’ gone all flat and disappointing once the real ‘dance’ starts! A weak and disappointing fare, this one should be avoided unless you are a diehard Shahid fan or are just curious and your curiosity is eating you up so much you just cannot bear it.

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