The opening shot is of an on-going World War II, where among the soldiers picking up guns, one soldier, picks up a dhol. He starts beating out a tune and suddenly his fellow soldiers feel the sense of togetherness and go out all guns blazing. That soldier, is Sunny Kaushal. We cut to a present-day scene in a college campus, where girls are lining up to audition for the lead dancer spot in a Bhangra crew, and trying to match tempo with Jaggi, the lead dancer. This man, is also Sunny Kaushal.
Jaggi, a part time DJ on the lookout for a female counterpart to match up to his ace bhangra moves sees Simmi (Rukshar Dillion), and he is convinced that he has found someone perfect for that missing spot. However, in an excruciating long time, he finds out that she is from the rival team. Jaggi and Simmi not just represent rival teams, but also different value-systems which, predictably prove to be subplots in the film.
While meeting Simmi for the first time, Jaggi tells her a story about his grandfather Captaan, a soldier from the pre-independence era, for whom bhangra was a part of his legacy. With this and through largely laborious exposition, we are transported to Punjab of the 40s, and the story of Captaan, who has danced his way into the heart of Nimmo (Shriya Pilgaonkar), while the family doesn’t approve, we know how this will pan out to be.
The film moves parallelly, by intercutting between the stories of these two characters, which however seems easy, and weak. The back and forth seems too frequent, and even then, the pace of the film is quite slow. At one moment in the present, Jaggi and Simmi are burning the dance floor, while on the other hand, Captaan is wooing Nimmo. If there is trouble here, there has been trouble there, and so on and so forth. The interval point also comes with both the characters falling to the ground in sync.
Writer Dheeraj Rattan conventional “three act structure” framework seems so weak and lazy that one can predict how the film will pan out within the first few minutes of the film. The story has been set, the characters have been setup and the conflict, waiting to be solved. The story still takes 130 minutes of screen time, and 10 songs to reach the ending we already know about, and all this just goes back to weak storytelling.
The film, in terms of performances also feels utterly average. Sunny Kaushal channels his character of Himmat from Gold (2018), to play a rather convincing Captaan, than his character of Jaggi. The chemistry between Jaggi and Simmi seems quite flat. Rukshar Dillion does a decent job in playing Simmi, who is sweet, independent and full of attitude however, calling herself the best dancer would be a stretch.
With nothing new to offer through its story, and still running for 2 hours and 10 minutes, Bhangra Paa Le feels like a mashup of all the previous dance films we have already seen. Other than that, for a dance movie promoting Bhangra, the filmmaker opts for quantitative choreography over qualitative, resulting in average, and repetitive moves on old Hindi remakes.