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The Halwa Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum - The Dance Dance Movie Review

Sunday, September 07, 2008
Ever had that expectant buzz before watching a movie, just as the starting credits begin to roll, trying to guess whether you will have a good time or not? And then, when you are shown this, you just KNOW that you will, your whole body relaxes, and a smile just refuses to leave your lips once it creeps there, almost like a rictus? And so, persistent reader, begins yet another journey into Mithun land... (hanging on tight isn't just recommended, it's mandatory. Ah well, almost...)

Out of the blocks, we are treated to an ailing childhood version of
Prabhuji (Ramu), who clamours for a little 'Halwa' to cure his sickness. Medicines be damned. Gratuitous elder sis dotes on him, as his singer/performer parents walk in (with 'Halwa' of course). Now, they all stay in a hovel, and are harassed for rent by the mandatory miserly landlord with a topi, who just can't get enough of the fact that they have enough dosh to stuff themselves senseless with Halwa, but not pay their bleeding rent!(There is no justice in the world... seriously.) He gives them a final-ish warning, and spitefully confiscates the Halwa, leaving poor li'l Ramu pawing at thin air, and his sister pawing at him in an attempt at sweet (pun intended) mollification.

The 'rents then take off to a function organized by a Satyr like Maharaja-of-all-he-sees Thakur (played incredibly, incredibly well by the sublime Amrish Puri). Now, the mother puts on a super show, not actually in line with her humble bharatiya (singing) naari roots, which is enough to drive the Thakur into a series of Beavis and Butthead-ian mental escapades (song in question being 'Zoo Zoo Zoobie Zoobie Zoobie' - which Ramu specifically asks his mother to sing, cos it's his fav song. You start to get a little uncomfortable with the idea, when she launches into sensual overdrive midway, making 'happy woman noises' along with the usual singing). So much so, that he tries to invite them over for a private show, (which is very cleverly rebuffed by Ramu's pater) and then when all reason and lusting fails, has him popped off, and captures the mater, who escapes into the endless jungles of his terrain.

Leaving Ramu and Sis, at the mercy of the streets, and later, good old Juhu beach where he promptly passes out due to his Halwa cravings. Sis cadges a buck, and stuffs his face with it. And then dishes out that grandfather of all mission statement metaphors for life,

"Tujhe agar halwa khaana hai, to tujhe naachna hoga. Dance. (Pause for emphasis). Dance. (With real gusto)."

Brilliant. And that's why you know why the movie is called what it is. Happy now?

Immediately, Li'l P breaks out into some mean scissoring legs routines in the azure Juhu beach waters (with a super porcine halwa vendor with a mound of really vile looking halwa and the immortal - "Aa geyahh aa geyahh, halba baala aa geyahh" in the foreground) and voila, cut to Big P, generally living it up.

Now, Ramu, Sis (Smita Patil) and his bunch of merry men (and women), are basically eking out a living from (dance)show to (dance dance)show (that pun felt good), searching for that one big break. For this, they gatecrash Parsi gatherings ("Everybody dance with pa-pa-pa, Everybody dance with ma-ma/1-2-3-4, Hum saare masti ke chor" - featuring some killer blastbeats and Morello-ish guitar work with Bulls On Parade scratch effects from Thathee Thapooll... in probably the role of his lifetime), meet music managers called David Brown (Hmmm...), and bowl over music moguls disguised as bellhops (and just in case you are wondering how, by feeding him... you guessed it, intrepid reader. Halwa). Till they land at an audition for the hottest new talent - braving a nasty Binjo Babu's stonewalling (played with effortful elan by Dalip Tahil). Here, the heroine makes an appearance. Binjo is head over heels for our lady (Hmmmm), and all but ensures that she wins with some bitchy poll rigging, till P and his gang pip her to the post. Armed with a classic like "Sooooperrrr Dancerrrrrrrr - Aaye hainnn aaye hainnn", does anybody have a chance in (rigged, manipulated) heaven? Pah! Prabhuji and team walk home with the trophy and darn near the trophy factory as well...

Overnight, Ramu becomes Romeo, and becomes the (buttered) toast of the nation. Fame greets him warm, and he just can't say good bye (Yeah...Good byeeaaaahhhhhhh!!!!). Faced with the pressures and pleasures of sudden fame, Romeo pithily marks "Yeh Zindagi bhi badi ajeeb cheez hai, kabhi paani maango, to manaa kar deti hai. Aur kabhi paani maango, to whiskey pila deti hai", while he is scarfing down a free shot at a pub. Just as you are wiping your eyes, the heroine makes another entry, with a super classy cabaret number. Romeo gets plastered, and just as he's started off his brand new Maruti Omni, the heroine's-dignity-to-be-saved situation arises. Loverboy brushes off the clearly uimpressive danger, and escorts her home. Love blossoms, and it's the first flush of spring and all that(cos she's an innocent college girl, who does cabaret shows just cos she likes to dance. And of course, because she lost that competition). Romeo invites her home for a platonic live-in.


Things start to fall apart, thanx to an evil nexus formed between Binjo (smarting after he lost the heroine to P) and our Thakur (smarting... well... just because you know... he CAN). These guys decide to hit Prabhuji where it would hurt him the most, by convincing Thathee to torture Romeo's sister (almost forgot, they're married). In much the same manner as Sonny would lose it in the Godfather, Prabhuji is tempted. But his sis keeps playing the defender-of-the-suhaag-order, thus leading to a lot of suppressed emotions, which start to fry Prabhuji's circuits. He starts hallucinating to the point where he beats the stuffing out of his poor drummer at a show, imagining him to be Thathee instead. David Brown waits for Romeo to stop smoking whatever he's smoking, and then when the going gets too tough, drops him like a hot batata wada, asking the heroine to take over instead. And take over she does... wowing audiences wherever she goes.

Till one fine day, (preggers) sis croaks, after a violent spat gone wrong with Thathee (intriguingly called Resham). But not before absolving him of all criminal troubles, which opens his Binjo-and-Thakur blinkered eyes.

Soon, it takes a little bit of living like a commoner for P to realize that maybe he was missing too much of a good thing (read the free booze shots, adulation, and the woman he loved - he throws her out of the house, asking her to shut the lights out on her way out), and that he has to generally try to be the best damn dancer there is, to give his dear sis something to smile about from the wispy white fog above.

Till it all boils down to a super concentrated climax (not totally unlike that hide
ous Maggi tomato soup you get from those coffee machines at work). The heroine has a show at that aspirational venue for all pop stars, Jalpaiguri, the road to which happens to pass thru the Thakur's magic kingdom. His men ambush the cavalcade, and out of the woodwork pops Romeo's mom, who has been running from the Thakur in the jungles for the last quarter of a century. In a spotless white saree, no doubt. She saves the evening, and from there on, it's one man's quest to get his life back.

After an extremely short reunion with Mom, it's time for him to dance. Why? Just... Dance. Dance Dance Dance. Dance is Life... Life is Dance! Prabhuji dances for his sis, his mom, his chick, and his fans. He dances for the years, dances for the laughter, dances for the tears. He dances for today, because maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take it away. In short... he dances for his life. Within an inch of it too, when his liver starts acting up. Till the Thakur draws a bead on Romeo, Resham strings it and dies with an apology on his once venomous lips. Prabhuji polishes off the evil Thakur like so much Halwa, and then walks regally off stage with family.

And of course, leaving you, who has read thus far, wondering where in tarnation the Halwa exactly went...

The End.

posted by Tapan at 7:18 PM