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Disco Dancer: A Comedy In Five Acts - By Anuvab Pal (Book Review By Bobby Sing) (Did You Know - 61)

31 Mar, 2014 | NOSTALGIA, BOOK REVIEWS, VINTAGE MAGAZINES & MORE / Did You Know! / Articles on Cinema

Disco Dancer Book Review

If a person deliberately wishes to write something funny with a sarcastic, forced-in humour about Hindi films from the past, then he can easily make fun of any randomly picked movie, particularly from the decade of 1980s, since that was the time when our industry was going through a major transforming phase wherein very few creators had the right vision to follow. But before picking any supposedly average or poor film made in that era to write a spoof on, a writer/journalist has to keep in mind the time period it was made in and more importantly the reason why it still went on to become a major hit in the year of its release such as DISCO DANCER (1982).
However, US-based author Anuvab Pal simply ignores this major fact and goes on to write his small book, projecting DISCO DANCER as a comedy film following his own set thinking patterns and questionable sarcasm. In order to prove his chosen point he translates all the (Hindi) dialogues of the film into English (forming the major part of the book) and tries to crack a sick joke in this weird manner wasting more than 100 pages. Further he quite over-confidently even goes out to interview the film’s director B. Subhash, music director Bappi Lahiri and the lead actor Mithun Chakraborty too, without telling them the truth that he is actually interviewing them in order to write a book which daringly calls their ‘hit DISCO DANCER’ a comedy. And in my opinion this was really something pathetic and disrespectful, especially for Bappi Lahiri who was mostly responsible for the huge success of the film having a splendidly composed soundtrack by the veteran. Moreover making a spirited move to establish his own vision about the subject, Anuvab continues making fun of a few known facts and again gives us a sarcastic title to his last chapter devoted to the famous trivia about the film calling it, “Random Unconfirmed Facts” in the end.
In short, the book is nothing to be read about if you really are a true Hindi movies freak, since here the writer himself seems to be pretty confused about the concept, as at one end he says, “Deep down I am a disco dancer” and on the other, he goes on to ridicule the film to the extent of insulting its reputed team members too interviewing them without revealing his real intentions.
Hence honestly as I see it, the attempt cannot even be included in the category of ‘Just for Good Fun’ because in this way any English Classic can also be easily converted into a long joke by translating its entire dialogues into Hindi resulting in many hilarious lines generating a good laughter. Moreover this also clearly shows that the writer in question, probably hasn’t lived those passionate years of film viewing in 70s-80s personally and has just heard or read about the euphoria around Hindi Films in those crazy decades of advance bookings and black marketing.
Anyway, for all the interested young readers here, though on quality terms one can easily find many flaws and illogical situations in DISCO DANCER, watching it from the viewpoint of this new millennium. But the film indeed came with a fresh, welcome phenomenon in the year 1982 and unarguably remains a cult entertainer of Indian Cinema till date mainly due to its hit music, all the trademark dance movements by Mithun Chakraborty performed quite innovatively and a unique kind of climax (never tried before or after) having 3 full length songs played back to back in its finale show. Plus as a known fact which might surprise many, it was also declared one of top grosser of 1982 scoring much more than many famous hits such as NAMAK HALAAL, KHUD-DAAR, NIKAAH, PREM ROG, ARTH, SANAM TERI KASAM, DESH PREMEE, SATTE PE SATTA and Richard Attenborough’s GANDHI.
Leave Disco Dancer Alone - Book ReviewBut more astonishingly DISCO DANCER remains one of the highest earners and among the five most famous films ever in Russia (Soviet Union) too, standing tall along gems such as AWARA, SEETA AUR GEETA & BOBBY. Besides there are several amazing anecdotes related with Mithun Chakraborty’s unbelievable craze in Soviet citizens as ‘The Dancer’ which even forced their press to invent a title for all Mithun fans as ‘Mithunists’. Interestingly the film did receive few poor reviews in the Russian press too like in India. But such was the backlash to those reviews in the public letters that it resulted in quite a heated debate in the film-magazines at that time in Russia. And later in 2008 when writer Sudha Rajagoplan came up with her book on ‘Indian Cinema and Soviet Movie-Going After Stalin’, then she decided to name it as “LEAVE DISCO DANCER ALONE” giving a clear indication of the film’s undisputed cult status in that other part of the world.
Summing up, in one way this book by Anuvab Pal teaches us a valuable lesson that any creative expression like films needs to be studied and written upon in context of its actual time of creation or release only, otherwise every new generation will keep on making fun of the previous one as always………..which is not the way to study the past or in this case our own CINEMA.
Disco Dancer: A Comedy In Five Acts – By Anuvab Pal
Published by Harper Collins (2011) – Pages 180 (Paperback – Small Size)
Leave Disco Dancer Alone! : Indian Cinema And Soviet Movie-Going After Stalin – By Sudha Rajagopalan
Published by Yoda Press (2008) – Pages 240 (Paperback)

Tags : Disco Dancer A Comedy In Five Acts By Anuvab Pal, Book Review By Bobby Sing, Did You Know Facts on Hind Films by Bobby Sing, Leave Disco Dancer Alone, Books On Hindi Cinema Reviews by Bobby Sing
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