Director Ken Ghosh’s Chance Pe Dance begins with an imaginative title sequence, which tells us all that we need to know about the life of the Bollywood struggler.
Sameer, played by Shahid Kapoor, lives in a one room apartment that is way too large to fit into any struggler’s budget but the rest of it rings true – he practices his expressions, does his pull-ups, has bread toasted under an iron with the last scraps of butter and then heads out to conquer the world with his unfailing optimism and charm.
This is the best part of the film. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here.
Chance Pe Dance tries to combine a dance movie with a Bollywood-cinderella story and comes up empty-handed.
Samir is supposed to embody the hundreds of wide-eyed newcomers who land in Mumbai everyday with stardust in their eyes. He auditions relentlessly even while holding down a day-job as a courier boy. His meals most consist of vada pao and he ends up living out of his car because he can’t pay the rent.
But these scenes of struggle don’t touch you because Shahid is in star mode from the first frame. His hair is nicely messy; his biceps have just the right definition and his T-Shirts are Ed Hardy, even though a character in the film explains that they are all knock-offs.
Despite the daily rejections, Samir shows no vulnerability or rawness.
A hotshot director promises him the lead role and then backs out. Shahid’s eyes fully register the hurt and pain of having your hopes dashed. But even this scene doesn’t tug at your heart strings.
As soon as the director, played by Monish Behl, shakes Samir’s hand and says: yeh handshake koi contract se kam nahi hai, you know that the handshake means nothing.
Of course, Samir’s eventual stardom is a given. He will walk on the red carpet blinded by flash bulbs. And since Chance Pe Dance isn’t trying for Luck by Chance-style grittiness, no Faustian bargains are made for fame.
But Ghosh doesn’t even make Samir’s stardom feel hard-earned. You are not emotionally invested in either his struggle or his success.
The dance sequences in the film are lively but they are undermined by Adnan Sami’s absolutely uninspired music. This is a dance film without one memorable dance track.
But the biggest let-down is the script. It meanders and stumbles along bewilderingly.
At one point, Samir becomes a dance teacher in a school and over a few scenes, leads the kids to victory in a dance competition.
Just when he’s about hit big-time, his father’s shop is razed and he has to leave town. This crisis is also resolved in two scenes. What’s the point of all of this? I couldn’t tell you.
Through all these troubles, Tina, a choreographer played by Genelia D’Souza, holds Samir’s hand. She is perky to the point of being painful.
In fact, it seems like both Genelia and Shahid are squeezing in as many expressions as they can into each scene to compensate for the lack of a coherent script.
But all their energy cannot fire up this inherently dull film. Chance Pe Dance isn’t the hot weekend ticket you were waiting for. (NDTV)