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Time to Dance movie review: Sooraj Pancholi, Isabelle Kaif film is pulled down by unexceptional story, prosaic dialogues

·3 min read

Language: Hindi

The explosion and popularity of dance shows on Indian television has encouraged choreographers to turn directors and present films that present different dance forms. We have had ABCD and Street Dancer, and now Time To Dance. Directed by Stanley Menino D'Costa, it blends melodrama with Ballroom and Latin dance and overused London locations with romance.

Rishabh works as a waiter and moonlights performing flash mobs around London. He shares a neat and spacious top floor apartment with his colleague Sadanand (Rajpal Yadav), who doesn't spare a moment to proudly reminisce about his home state of Uttar Pradesh.

Rishabh and Sadanand wait tables at a restaurant and dance venue selected to host the qualifying round of the Great Bradford Ballroom and Latin Championship. Bradford, in the North of England, is about 270 km from London where the film is located, but if one is expecting logic, continuity or finesse, then look elsewhere.

Time to Dance is a platform for Isabelle Kaif to show us her limited expressions and Sooraj Pancholi to show off his ripped torso. Fortunately, when the pair is asked to dance together, they do present graceful and impressive form.

Kaif plays Isha, a dance instructor who, along with her sister Meher (Waluscha D'Souza), is struggling to keep her mother's dance academy open. A kindly bank representative Navdeep Singh (Saqib Saleem) warns them of the foreclosure while also helping guide them out of their dilemma.

Isha has her hopes pegged on winning the Championships with her dance partner, and reigning champion William (Martin Rycroft). But an injury upsets her plans. Politics in the dance world also plays spoilsport.

Rishabh, who loves to dance and has a soft spot for Isha, glides in like her knight in sequined high-waisted pants and steps into his dance shoes. They battle all odds to gain entry into the competition. The Indian duo is an instant sensation. As the commentator says, "William and Jessica are leading and the first time Indian rookie couple have had a remarkable fight back". The Indians don't have names, the rest of the dancers' nationalities are also irrelevant.

The Dance Council, headed by William's ambitious and unscrupulous mother, Lady Cottenham (Natasha Powell) is not going to give in without an unfair fight. This gives Waluscha D'Souza another opportunity to be highly strung and agitated.

Throughout all of this drama over one dance competition, Isha is a despondent victim and Rishabh, who is carrying his own past issue along, makes all the sacrifices.

The professional dancers and some expertly handled dance sequences offer respite from the unexceptional story, prosaic dialogues and colourless performances by the leads who come alive only when waltzing or doing the rumba. Ballroom and Latin dance may not be mainstream in India so, if anything, Time to Dance is a sincere attempt at showcasing these elegant and energetic dance forms.

Time to Dance streams on Netflix India.

Rating: **

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