First things first! With a title like NAACH, you expect this RGV film to be a musical, with songs aplenty. But NAACH is more of an intense love story.
So, is NAACH at par with the immensely likeable RANGEELA? Or MAST? Or MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON? Note: All three RGV films had the backdrop of the film industry.
NAACH is not one of those bubbly, romantic, popcorn flicks. It's not hardcore escapist cinema either. The master film-maker tries to make the characters appear very life-like, very real and in the process makes a film that may not be absorbed by an avid moviegoer.
Unlike RGV's previous flicks, NAACH is abstract, offbeat, unusual. And that's why it fails to arrest the audience's interest.
NAACH tells the story of two characters - Rewa [Antra Mali], a wannabe choreographer and Abhi [Abhishek Bachchan], a struggling actor.
Rewa and Abhi are both trying to get a foothold in the industry. Abhi is lucky to get a break, while Rewa is shown the door since the lead actress wants her fav choreographer in the film. Things reach a stage where Abhi and Rewa go separate ways due to ideological differences.
Abhi becomes a big star, while Rewa continues with her struggle. She finally manages the big break when a music company boss, Diwakar [Ritesh Deshmukh], offers her a video, as an actress. There's no looking back, Rewa becomes famous overnight.
Abhi and Rewa meet again, this time in a restaurant. There's uneasiness. The same night, Abhi confesses to Rewa that he still loves her. But Rewa turns down the offer.
Diwakar now wants to start a musical film and he approaches Rewa and Abhi for the main roles. What happens next?
NAACH is about Abhi and Rewa's principles and their outlook towards life. How those principles throw a spanner in their lives forms the crux of the story.
Let's get things right at the very outset: NAACH is not inspired by Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai's Chinese film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE , as being widely speculated.
With a thin plot on hand, RGV tries to experiment with NAACH. If RANGEELA was a heady mix of romance and music, while MAST and MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON were part-realistic, NAACH fits into the realistic zone completely.
Nothing wrong with being realistic, but NAACH moves at a sluggish/lethargic pace throughout and even the screenplay [writers: Pooja Ladha Surti, Musharaff Ali Khan, Sulekha Bajpai] isn't half as captivating as RANGEELA.
In the first place, one fails to understand why Antra is shown to be so strong-headed even though what Abhishek says and means makes sense and is in the interests of both. After the tiff at the intermission point, when the two decide to go separate ways, you expect some movement in the story in the post-interval portions. But nothing happens!
The story has a third character coming in - Ritesh Deshmukh - in the second half and although the actor does manage to lend credence to his character, there's nothing dramatic happening in this half as well. More than anything else, your heart doesn't pine for the lovers to unite, which is so vital in a love story.
RGV seems to have chosen the right story, but has gone wrong in the screenplay department. The narrative doesn't have those moments to excite you. It's quite dull at times and the slow pace dilutes the impact further. Yes, there's no denying that the film has been shot extremely well and technically speaking, it's a notch above most Hindi films.
Music is quite appealing and the picturization of at least three tracks is fantastic - 'Naach Naach Ke' [music: Shailendra Swapnil], 'Bandhne Lagi' [music: Amar Mohile] and 'Sara Sara' [music: Amar Mohile]. Cinematography [Kiran Reddy] is fabulous. The locations in the 'Bandhne Lagi' track are simply breath-taking. Choreography [Raoul & Maitria, Shabina Khan, Terrence Lewis, Harshall-Vitthal] is excellent.
NAACH is embellished with great performances. Abhishek Bachchan proves yet again that he's amongst the most dependable actors of Indian cinema today. This is another performance that will be written about and discussed in days to come.
Antra Mali is first-rate, conveying so much through her eyes. What makes this performance special is the way Antra approaches it - without actually replicating anyone. Besides, her dances/acrobatics are a treat. She also exposes her anatomy without inhibitions. Ritesh Deshmukh has a small but significant role and he does complete justice to it.
On the whole, NAACH lacks in that vital department that's the lifeline of every film - script. At the box-office, given the tough competition this week [VEER-ZAARA, AITRAAZ, MUGHAL-E-AZAM] and the fact that it's not the type that would instantly catch the moviegoers' attention, NAACH won't dance its way into the audience's heart.