Friday, September 5, 2014

Dance! Dance! Dance!

So, I was feeling under the weather yesterday and unable to concentrate on anything with a plot which can mean only one thing… CONCERT DVDs! Have I mentioned how much I love concert DVDs? Most of the fun of a concert with none of the inconveniences (i.e. back starting to hurt from standing; coked up assholes causing trouble; dude-bros hitting on you while you're trying to dance; etc.) And you get close-ups!

Rock concert DVDs are good but idol DVDs are the best because of the dancing and stagecraft on display. ESPECIALLY if they care enough to hire a killer backing band.

Justin Timberlake "Live from London" (2003) is an old favorite of mine for those reasons. He still had a taste for that *NSYNC razzle-dazzle back in 2003. (The *NSYNC concert DVDs are also excellent.)


What I think people who look down on idol music and "dancing" in general refuse to acknowledge is that dancing can be really pleasurable to watch and good choreography can ping on just as deep a level as a good melody but the two combined are magic. It's all about kinesthetic empathy, your body feels as if it's also participating, feeling the emotions of the dancer.

Which is why those jump up-and-down club picturizations and/or those montage picturizations and/or "items" with stiff, unmoving "item girls" are so unsatisfying. What's being conveyed there? What exactly am I supposed to be feeling kinesthetic empathy with?

Which is also why most of my favorite actors are also dancers (Shahid! Arshad!) or (AKSHAY! VIDYUT!) martial artists. They use their whole bodies to act, kinesthetic empathy even when not in motion. One of my favorite film scenes of all time is Shahid Kapoor grooming himself in Chance Pe Dance just because every movement was beautiful.

Which is also why I find the idea of casting five bad dancers as five bad dancers in Happy New Year just really uninteresting. Now if it was five "bad" dancers that were actually good dancers who were comedians, that's different. Javed Jaffrey is phenomenal and could have easily done something delightful and "bad" as he did in Singh is Kinng:

But if genuinely bad is the direction, I'm glad Vidyut turned the film down. His skill set would have been utterly wasted.

AND can I just take one more second to say that Shake Your Bootiya is also misguided for all the reasons above? Those fake heads on the dancers bodies really negate any pleasure in watching the dance and just make everything really creepy and kind of gross. Like everything else about this film: it's not funny and feels vaguely insulting for some reason.

ANYWAYS! HRITHIK! SHAHID! COME SAVE US! There hasn't been much for dance this year in B-town, unless I'm not remembering right…

Jackie's version of "Yaar Na Miley" made a big impression on me, though. I love Jackie!

4 comments:

odadune said...

That's a really intelligent breakdown of something I've never been able to articulate. Thank you. :)

An interesting flipside to this, I think, is that those very physical performers are often more compelling in stillness than more sedentary screen personalities would be: the more brooding parts of Agneepath/ZNMD, Jab We Met/Haider promos, Holiday/Special 26, Heropanti/Commando, are all about the main guy watching and waiting, and the audience watching and waiting for that moment, whatever the trigger, when the main guy will take action. (The bit in the Bang Bang song, where Hrithik just kind of launches into a glomp hug of Katrina, in the middle of an otherwise rather sedate picturization is a good example.)

But yeah, the first 8 months of 2014, although pretty good for movies overall, have not been that great for dance. Madhuri and Varun have been reliable, and Akki and Salman+their heroines have been much better than I expected, but to me it feels like it's been a long time since we really had a first class combination of song, dancer, choreography, and visual styles.

Filmi Girl said...

the audience watching and waiting for that moment, whatever the trigger, when the main guy will take action

^^ Akshay did this well in the first picturization in Entertainment!! He and Tamaanah both, actually. There was no "dancing" per se but they moved so beautifully and in sync that the meaning was conveyed… far better and more empathetically than any montage. It's like… the difference between seeing and feeling the relationship between two characters.

but to me it feels like it's been a long time since we really had a first class combination of song, dancer, choreography, and visual styles.

^^ Exactly! Other than Prabhudeva, I can't think of anybody really going all out to fit dance into films… which is too bad. I was actually thinking about this in context of being able to mimic or convey a song in just a few movements. There aren't many you can do this with any more...

One other thing is that I think simple choreography done well is one of the things missing these days. It's an entirely different type of pleasure to see something and comprehend and many repeat it at a wedding to watching some of Prahbudeva's tricky moves. Both are good, though, but you need both.

odadune said...

Yeah, Tamannaah's also a pretty physical performer, especially in songs, and my own hunch about Entertainment, even before the filming started, was that she and Akshay would play well off each other. :)

I think Remo D'Souza's choreography for Johnny Johnny and Veerey di Wedding (both from Entertainment) was intended to have simple "party steps" that anyone could mimic, but I don't know that the songs were strong enough to really create a craze.

And yeah, I am also missing Prabhudheva's touch. I hope they don't delay Action Jackson to next year, because watching Sona and Yami dance under the Dheva brothers' guidance is going to be fun. (Also a quite bit more enthusiastic about Singh is Bling than I used to be, because a). Vishnu and Prabhudheva overseeing ballroom/salsa numbers sounds awesome and b). Kriti turned out to be semi-promising in Heropanti.)

Apex said...

"It's all about kinesthetic empathy, your body feels as if it's also participating, feeling the emotions of the dancer." +1 : brilliant line there fg

Yup prabhu devas stuff is fun-liked rowdy rathore. Somehow I find tamanna inane and listless. Haven't seen heropanti but the bits I've seen kriti Sanon has potential. Lookin forward to her films.

Something random n unrelated -David guetta & avicii join hands with Sam martin thrown in as a 'tribute' to the spaghetti western (oops this 'tribute' bit is gettin too much) but the tune is not bad...enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPiW0tkWfeg&sns=em

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