Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum!
Bollywood Beats torture porn in my book every day. (I’ve never met a pun I didn’t like.) Unless that torture porn is really well made with no flaws in script, execution, acting, or anything else. Then it’s a tie.
Raj (Sachin Bhatt, Private Practice) is an aspiring choreographer who has spent the last two years trying to make it in music. His parents give him another six months to prove he can make dancing a viable career option before they kick him out of the house and make him accept a job with his dad. That’s when he meets Jyoti (Lillete Dubey, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), a middle-aged woman who convinces him to start an Indian hip-hop class. Although small, the class is filled with characters. There’s Vina (Sarita Joshi, Dasvidaniya), a grandmother who drags brainy teenage granddaughter, Puja (Mansi Patel, Diwali), to class with her. There’s gay teen Vincent (Mehul Shah, who also wrote and directed the film), who’s determined to dance despite his father’s protestations. And finally Laxmi (Pooja Kumar, Man on a Ledge), a timid wife whose husband has become distant.
I wanted to love Bollywood Beats. I really did. It’s quite simple why I didn’t.
All those characters I listed above? We follow all of them throughout the movie. And at a runtime of less than two hours that means the plot development is unfortunately spread thin. The film does not earn any of the emotionally climactic scenes. Every character goes through a should-be-emotional-and-uplifting change, but because we only spend a few scenes with each of them, there’s simply too much disconnect, leading to an artifice I couldn’t get past.
The standard definition 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer accentuates the film’s obvious low budget, but that didn’t bother me. What bothered me was the editing. There are simply too many camera shots that drew more attention to themselves than the story. The dialogue on this Dolby 5.1 Surround mix is too-obviously looped, which is one of my pet peeves. To make matters worse, the music often obscured the dialogue.
For bonus features, we get a behind-the-scenes featurette, which contains some interesting tidbits about how the movie’s cast came together. There are also deleted scenes (one of which would have fleshed out Vincent’s character in a necessary way), and an AFI puff piece interview with members of the cast.
If you enjoy dancing, you’ll find the choreography worthwhile. Even grandma can shake her booty with the rest of them. Also the closing credits showcase some of the film’s bloopers, as well as white people trying to dance Indian style, both of which were fairly amusing.
A lack of focus on the main character coupled with a shorter runtime than necessary means I can only recommend a rental.