Dance themed movies in Bollywood

From Disco Dancer to Street Dancer 3D, the different moves of Bollywood


April 17, 2019

/ By / Kolkata

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Dance themed movies in Bollywood

With the approaching International Dance Day on April 29, here is a look at how the Bollywood dance-based movies are faring.

Dance has always been an integral part of Bollywood movies and Bollywood style of dance, a freestyle form, has gained recognition globally since India became the largest producer of films in the world around 1970s. Though recent dance-based movies like ABCD: Any Body Can Dance are paving the way for Indian movies to compete with Hollywood movies like Step Up franchise, they are still lacking some elements to make them reach that coveted position.

Bollywood has always been in a relation with dance be it classical, folk or even western. The few of the earliest movies based on dance Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955) and Navrang (1959) showcased and celebrated the Indian classical dance. The dance based movies of 80’s Disco Dancer (1982) and Ilzaam (1986) brought in disco and street-dancing into Bollywood style. The dance themed movies from 90’s have mostly been about dancers, dance troupes and struggles of dance artists with more technically choreographed dance sequences.

Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)

This movie had dance sequences with innovative contemporary steps

This movie had dance sequences with innovative contemporary steps

This musical romance features the love lives of the dancers in a dance troupe. The movie was appreciated for the innovative choreography by then upcoming dance director Shiamak Davar and performances by Madhuri Dixit, Karishma Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan.

Naach (2004)

Naach (Dance) deals with the love story of two people struggling to make a mark in their fields of acting and choreography. It showcases the struggles of dancers in establishing themselves in their profession.


The movie highlighted the dance drama form prevalent in Indian theatres

The movie highlighted the dance drama form prevalent in Indian theatre

Aaja Nachle (2007)

Aaja Nachle (Come, let’s dance) is a movie with an US returned choreographer trying to save her dance theatre in her hometown. The dance drama in the end was its main attraction.

Chance Pe Dance (2010)

Directed by Ken Ghosh, the movie is about a struggling actor in the film industry who participates in a dance competition to realise his dream of being an actor. The young man even teaches dance at a school to make his living at one point in the movie.

ABCD: Any Body Can Dance (2013) and ABCD 2 (2015)


ABCD is India’s first 3D dance film

It was Remo D’Souza’s ABCD: Any Body Can Dance and ABCD 2 that brought along a new revolution in how Bollywood views dance-based movies. Both the movies tell the stories of small Mumbai-based dance troupes who struggle to create an identity for themselves. In the second movie the troupes even go to compete at an international level competition. The third part is expected to be out by the end of this year and will be titled as Street Dancer 3D. 

ABCD: Any Body Can Dance is the start of dance movies. It is a movie which shows hip-hop and street. I don’t see exactly a ‘Black Swan’ (in the future), but (we are) going into that space. We have dance troupes going on seven-month-long tours as a contemporary dance company because we don’t have that kind of audience here,” Ashley Lobo told an Indian news agency. “There will come a time when that kind of work will be in films,” he added.

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