Thursday, 25 August 2016
Everyone loves the underdog story. How a nondescript personality comes to the forefront and
It's touted as a coming-of-age tale of a young girl who is vacationing with her affluent family at Kellerman's resort. She is attracted to a lowly dance instructor and eventually has a clandestine affair with him. But Dirty Dancing isn't as simple as it seems. It is loaded with a social commentary on discrimination, class divide and self-expression. The dance that is called dirty in the film is almost symptomatic of the passion that one aught to live his or her life with, it's a mode of self-expression that is often repressed by class divisions and hierarchy of the society. Every single person wants an avenue to unleash her inner desires. Perhaps the film probes that sentiment as well...
Baby is projected as the polished, prim and protected younger daughter who is supposed to tow a certain line. There is a code of decorum that she's supposed to follow along with her elder sister, Lisa. But her heart wants to fly free. So, when she catches the first glimpse of Johny Castle slaying the dance floor with Penny Johnson (Cynthia Rhodes) she's obviously envying the woman in Johny's arm. Because, Johny is a looker and he's obviously enjoying the dance with Penny. She wants to be in Penny's place but has two left feet. She's bored of the stiff upper lip gentility practised by Dr Houseman (Jerry Orbach), her father, and the other rich vacationers at Kellerman's. She's not enjoying Neil's hovering company because he's too full of himself and of course Johny is the more tantalising man in front of her. He's mysterious, gorgeous and intrigues her. And of course, he dances like a dream...
The entertainment staff, headed by Johny, are treated with utter disdain by the resort proprietor. They
But that's exactly what happens. When Dr Houseman comes to the rescue of Penny after her botched up abortion, he just assumes that Johny is responsible for her condition and prohibits Baby to meet these people. Never does he give Johny a chance to explain. The rich do not care to give a patient ear to the poor. But Baby is a changed woman. She's not one of them. Soon she's waltzing in Johny's arms and goes to the extent of standing up for him when things get sticky. That's what encourages Johny to see life through a different prism. Because, "No one has done this for him before."
I purposely did not provide the gist of the film because I presume everyone has seen this cult classic. It's almost like those Hindi romances that smoothly sails with its easy story line, lovely songs and crackling chemistry between the leads. It's the same for Dirty Dancing, only better. Because the dance here is simply smacking good. Patrick is gorgeous, Jennifer is innocent and earnest. They make a royally lovely pair.
In the dance sequence at Sheldrake, Grey is totally wonderful as the jittery yet sporting dancer who is most willing to let the man take the lead. She's got makeup on her for the first time so it's a tad crude but then subsequently she just flowers.
Every time the two dance they set the floor on fire with their raw passion and physical attraction.
And there's dance. Every time you see Johny move, you will find yourself jelly-kneed. He's that good. Right from his first frame till the last.