Made on a shoe-string budget, this film is a roller-coaster ride about the life of two individuals who have come to Mumbai, the city of dreams and luxury. The title, “Pappu Can’t Dance Saala” is misleading.
The ‘Pappu’ is not the proverbial idiot. Nor is the movie about his dancing capabilities. Instead, “Pappu Can’t Dance Saala” is a simple film that captures the essence of Mumbai and the struggle of outsiders who come here “to make it big in the city”.
In a government residential complex in Mumbai, Vidyadhar Acharya (Vinay Pathak), a simpleton from Benaras with humanitarian and middle class values is working as a medical rep. His neighbour Mehak (Neha Dhupia) is an overtly ambitious, brazen streetsmart dancer.
He is a conscientious and morally bound citizen. She is fun-loving, bohemian and an opportunist. They can’t see eye-to-eye simply because of their conflicting lifestyles.
Vidyadhar, forever cribbing, has a problem with any and everything in Mumbai, whereas Mehak is the proverbial Mumbaikar with a ‘chalta hai’ attitude. She forcefully shifts into his pad when thrown out of her rented apartment. The film is filled with simple sweet messages to be taken in the right spirit.
Neha Dhupia’s portrayal of Mehak is convincing and the highlight of the film. Her taut body and reflexive steps to match is a frontbencher’s delight. Vinay Shukla is typecast and offers nothing extraordinary. She flaunts, he hums.
Rajat Kapoor as the choreographer-cum-music video director with mysterious charm and subtlety keeps the audiences hooked.
Naseerudin Shah in a two-scene role as Vidyadhar’s father mesmerises. He literally steals the thunder from the hero in the river bank scene where he reveals to his son in a powerful dialogue: “It is destined that the banks of the river can never meet but when man decides they should meet, he builds a bridge,” only to make his son realise that if man has the will, he can find the way.
The first half of the film is snappy and moves with ease. The second half, slow yet lively with a predictable goal, gets a bit boring.
Given the production values, Longinus Fernandes’ choreography is worth a mention.
The dialogues are good, witty and above average. The storyline, simple and straight from the heart, is a bit of a setback coming from the brilliant writer director Saurabh Shukla. His third project as a director and his graph seems to stagnate.
Overall, the film is of mediocre production value with several cinematic liberties and is made with a sincere effort. It is worth a watch if you are looking to learn life’s lessons, simply.