Putting the best foot forward

Putting the best foot forward

TELLY REVIEW

Putting the best foot forward

The moment it’s curtains down on one dance show and it’s curtains up on yet another dance show on the same channel, it’s with much trepidation that one views the fate and format of the new show.

It’s like viewing two IPL matches back to back: barely has the outcome of the previous match sunk in when the stadium erupts with fresh action. Thus, the arrival of Dance Plus Season 3 right on the heels of Nach Baliye on Star Plus evokes the feeling of being breathless rather than breathtaking.

But as the new show comes riding on Remo D’Souza, the choreographer and dancer par excellence, one look at its inaugural episode sets misgivings at rest, as Remo makes it clear that not only does he mean business, but also the show stands apart from the crowd of clones parading on the talent template. The one thing that sets this show apart from its predecessor and similar programmes is that it showcases the aam aadmi’s talent while Nach Baliye & Co are celebrity-driven.

The real credit goes to Remo for striking the right chord from episode one and driving home the USP that this edition would not be an also-ran, but would be proactively presenting performances that validate the tagline ‘Ek Level Up’.

As able as Remo is to drive this show, equally experienced are the other mentors to drive the teams. Coming to the cast of captains and judges, there are Shakti Mohan, Punit Pathak and Dharmesh Yelande, who carry weight and are real value additions to the judging panel as they are all ace dancers, unlike some other shows that have non-dancers passing judgement on hugely talented performers.

The show got off to a rocking start with the squad christened ‘House of Sooraj’, mentored by Punit Pathak, putting its best foot forward. The contestants combined Bollywood with a style called ‘waacking’ to treat the viewers to novelty in the shape of this unique dance form. The performance not only left Remo awestruck but also saw Shakti stepping on the stage to showcase her skill in waacking.

The superb acts — be it Kumari Suraj, christened ‘Queen of Waacking Noveau’, Amandeep Singh Natt, Bir Radha Sherpa et al, or grooving groups whose style may not be waacking but whose names are as wacky as Tuttix Crew, Haze Crew, Forbidden Crew, Hypnotics OG India and many more — raise the bar and set the mood, tone for the acts to come.

The uniqueness of the format of Remo’s show lies in its global cast. The show will move to the next level when Remo unveils his international squad packed with ace dancers like Dytto of The Ellen De Generes Show fame, Fik-Shun of the So You Think You Can Dance repute, Birju Maharaj’s troupe, Paul - Brittany & Co. The adrenalin-pumping action will climax when Remo’s global squad stands pitted against the three captains’s squads.

As far as comic relief goes, which has now become the staple role of a host, Raghav does deliver with aplomb here. Most hosts of reality shows tend to trip easily from gags into humourless drags, but Raghav negotiates this tricky territory with panache. ‘Loo’ and behold, his bathroom act in the opening episode sounds rather, or lather, fresh for a ‘soap’ opera. Though he keeps tripping all over the stage, his gags thankfully don’t fall flat.

Now coming to the melodrama quotient (MQ) that drives most reality shows. Alas, this show, too, falls victim to the popular formula for enticing eyeballs — punctuating performances with sob stories of the struggles of participants. These lachrymose-activating sob stories have become so staple and predictable. For instance, that staple story of a participant’s single mother struggling to make ends meet back home sounds a bit cliched. With due respect to the obstacles that pave the path towards participants’ dreams, where is the need to pity-wrap the common man’s struggles and market them to notch higher TRPs?

Melodrama apart, what saves the show from slipping into a stereotype is the strength of Remo’s mentoring and of the repertoire of regular talent.

All in all, though it arrives back to back with a leading dance show, Dance Plus Season 3 stands apart with its signature style, thanks to Remo & Co, and is certainly not old wine in a new bottle.

 

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