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Dec 3, 2007

Disco Dancer

A decade of video players imported by NRIs from Arabian Gulf were tested using this movie, Indo-Russian bilateral relations reached a peak in the eighties, even in the absence of Raj Kapoor, thanks to this dance musical and with this movie Bengal added a Bollywood superstar(ofcourse his national award winning feature Mrigaya came long before that, but who watched award movies?) to its already bursting bag of talent, filled with Nobel laureates and freedom fighters. You know the movie I am talking about – it defined a decade, with its legendary stature it has etched its name in history as the icon of the eighties – Disco Dancer.

As a kid I was one of the under-privileged who never got to watch the said film but only heard exponentially glamorized versions from our lucky friends who had not only seen it, but also had the video cassette in possession, thanks to their Gulf-employed relative. The unpardonable crime of not watching the Disco Dancer struck back in my late twenties when I met the Russians. Being close to Bering Strait and Siberia our neighborhood is overrun my Russian émigrés, most of them close to my age who try to strike up friendship with us with the intro, "Mithun Charkraborty. Disco. Disco Dancer," with accompanied animation and dance moves. The immense gravitas of those opening words, they believe, is enough to forge a lasting bond between two great cultures. Who grew up in the eighties India without knowing the power of the Bollywood cultural ambassador, Mithunda?

The situation was rectified this weekend. We learnt to spell D-I-S-C-O and refreshed our memories with eighties costumes, hairdos and those hit songs which made Disco Dancer what it was. The one who was most entranced by the movie was our one and half year old, which brings me to the point that it is like a fairy-tale. You don’t need any language to understand it, that’s probably why the Russians and the Middle-Easterners took to it so easily. The story is rich vs poor singer, rich defeated by singing, poor guy gets the rich girl via disco and in between a terrible disease called ‘guitar-phobia’ makes a guest appearance so does Rajesh Khanna. Karan Razdan(ex-husband of Priya Tendulkar of ‘Rajni’ fame) plays the bad guy along with Om Shivpuri –the bad guy’s dad who is a really bad guy. Mithun is his lithe rockin’ younger self, a treat to watch. Other than that there is not much in the movie story-wise. I’d take Disco Dancer as a vehicle to deliver Disco to the masses and Mithunda to the Russians. Think it accomplished both those tasks successfully. End of review.