Bhangra Paa Le movie review: A passable dance drama

Shubhra Gupta
Bhangra Paa Le movie review

Bhangra Paa Le movie review: Bhangra Paa Le flashes back and forth in time neatly and frequently, in fact too neatly and frequently.

Bhangra Paa Le movie cast: Sunny Kaushal, Rukhsar Dhillon, Shriya Pilgaonkar
Bhangra Paa Le movie director: Sneha Taurani
Bhangra Paa Le movie rating: 2 stars

Pind-da-munda Jaggi (Kaushal) and shehar-di-kudi Simi (Dhillon) are ace bhangra dancers. But they represent different colleges, and varying value-systems, so we know that daggers will be drawn sooner vs later.

A flashback to pre-Independence India gives us a rustic, reluctant fauji (Kaushal again, in a double role) who loses his heart to a gaon-ki-gori (Pilgaonkar). Her family doesn’t approve, but he’s already danced his way into her heart, and we know how that will pan out too. It’s that kind of film.

Bhangra Paa Le flashes back and forth in time neatly and frequently, in fact too neatly and frequently. Here’s the present sulking pair burning up the dance floor; there’s the older one wooing his sweetheart with his spry moves. Here’s trouble; there’s trouble. Here’s a breakthrough; there.. And so on.

This is an ever-persisting problem with our movies, that you can tell how things are going to roll from the opening frames. Bhangra Paa Le keeps it all good-natured, and wonderfully authentic (only when you hear real Punjabis speak, or do the bhangra do you realize the extent of fakery in most films). Nice to see fresh faces in the lead: both Kaushal and Dhillon are likeable and move well; in a few places, she comes off more visible than he does.

But oh the tropes. The roothna-manaana, the paas-mein-aana, the side-long coy glances, the sarson ke khet, the glowering elders: the film wants to appeal to every single sector, so there are the bijis and baujis, long-suffering mothers, and NRI bhangra-clubs from Canada, US and UK, a climactic dance-off in London, and a cute little boy. All jaana-pehchaana.

Finally, a dance movie is defined by the quality of choreography. Both Kaushal and Dhillon are good, but the numbers never really leap off the screen. Passable, like the film.