Dehati Disco is a cute, old-fashioned movie with a point

Ganesh Acharya and Saksham Sharma at Dehati Disco. Photo: Universal Communications

The only aspect that is contemporary about this film, other than the production values, is its succinct length. otherwise, Dehati Disco (Rural Disco) is an old-fashioned (read 1960s to 1970s) movie that yet does not bore. In fact, overall, it is rather cute, even if quite over-the-top (as those movies used to be and today’s Bhojpuri and other movies are). It also has a point to make—we must junk regressive aspects like superstition and patriarchy and being slaves to alien mores and not have an inferiority complex about our Indian culture.

The Autocratic Village mahant or head priest (Manoj Joshi) has driven elder son Bhola (Ganesh Acharya as adult) out of his home because he loves to dance and the mahant wants to make him his successor. Bhola’s younger brother (Ravi Kishan as adult), who wanted to be something else, is forced to step into his father’s shoes even as their mother dies of heartbreak because Bhola has been separated from her.

A grown-up Bhola lives a humble life and later has an unhappy marriage where his wife leaves him. But he finds a purpose when his son (Saksham Sharma) emerges as a superb dancer like him. A corrupt politician (Rajesh Sharma) has his eyes on the village temple of Lord Shiva (the village too is named Shivpur) and also challenges the village to take on his foreign-returned ace dancer son Jack alias Jaikishan (Sahil M. Khan) in dance, which as an art has been ‘associated’ with a curse. This curse is the reason why the mahant abhors dance.

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When Bhola’s young son takes up Jack’s challenge, the village rallies round him. the mahant has realized the error of his ways. What happens next is as predictable as sunrise following night. But in the process, as in many old movies, there are additional ‘happy’ and goody-goody things that happen.

Unabashedly retro and rural, the film has also the loud tenor associated with such dramas and Ganesh Acharya, the ace choreographer, goes the whole hog in his loud performance. He also has composed the title-track (decent), and co-written the script. Saksham, who plays his kid, is a natural even at precocity and delivers the soppiest lines with conviction. He is also a pro at dance, including facial expressions. The other actors are competent for their roles and South-based percussionist Drums Shivamani, happily, gives music that does not sound ‘off’, though only the title-track lingers.

However, as we watch the final competition, we can only agree with the on-screen judge (choreographer Remo D’Souza playing himself) when he praises Jack and his team for ‘acrobatics’ that form a major chunk of their ‘dance’. Wish there was a bolder, more audacious verdict passed on what passes for dance today—in movies as well as real life. When will we go back to our traditional folk and classical art forms?

This is a film strictly for a rooted target audience. And for them, it works. So our rating is obviously based on whom the film is intended.

Rating: *** (Almost)

Qureshi Productions, One Entertainment Film Productions, Prachi Movies & V2S Productions present Dehati Disco Produced by: Vaseem Qureshi, Gitesh Chandrakar & Kamal Kishor Mishra Directed by: Manoj Sharma Written by Ganesh Acharya & Manoj Sharma Music: Drums Shivamani & Ganesh Acharya Starring: Ganesh Acharya, Saksham Sharma, Ravi Kishan, Manoj Joshi, Rajesh Sharma, Sahil M. Khan, Sunil Pal, Sp. App.: Remo D’Souza

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