The Dancing Queen is back! Review of Aaja Nachley


In the opening scene we hear an upbeat pop tune and see a lissome and superbly graceful figure dancing to the beats, all alone is a studio! It is the incomparable Madhuri, the girl who broke our hearts when she married a doctor and moved to the US.  Somehow she was convinced by Yash Chopra to do a film – one scripted specifically for her by Jaideep Sahni.  Diya (Madhuri) is a choreographer in New York and has to rush back to India with her daughter when she hears that her Guru is dying and wants to see her.  We find out that Diya had to leave India, her dancing, and the Ajanta theater in a hurry 11 years ago when she chose to marry an American photographer against her parents wishes.  Now Ajanta is about to be demolished and Diya is the lone woman fighting to keep the theater intact and prevent a mall from coming in its place.  Diya is determined to fight the local MP – Raja Sahab (Akshaye Khanna), the goons of Chaudhary Om Singh, the prejudices of the entire town, to save Ajanta, but she has to play by the rules.  The NRI cannot throw money at the problem but must gather up indigenous talent and have a successful show in two months, to demonstrate that people really care about the theater and have a use for it!


When Diya fled she left behind a best friend Najma (Divya Dutta) who is now married to the mal developer Farookh (Irrfan Khan), Mohan (Ranvir Shorey), the man she jilted on the even of the wedding, his best friend who is now a cop (Yashpal Sharma), and “doctor” (Raghuvir Yadav), a friend of her Guru and a fellow artist.  She renters the small hamlet of Shyamali and tries to pick up the threads of a life abandoned 11 years ago only to be rudely awakened to the fact that her friend cannot care for her as she is shackled in a marriage that does not allow her to, and there is deep resentment over the abandonment of Mohan.  Undaunted, Diya first finds a home in her old residence now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Chojar (Vinay Pathak and Sushmita Mukherjee)  and then sets out, with the help of “Doctor”, to recruit actors from Shyamali for the staging of a musical “Laila Majnu”.


The town of Shyamali is pretty obviously a set, but the makers assemble enough authentic characters to make it somewhat real.  There is a carnival atmosphere throughout as Diya and “Doctor” race through town on a rickshaw to the upbeat tune of “Show me your Jalwa” trying to recruit actors!  The minor characters are well etched, their stories are interesting and maximum use is made of the considerable talents of Irrfan, Divya Dutta, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, and Vinay Pathak.  Ranvir is a standout as the jilted man who tears and crushes a poster with Diya’s photo and is later seen lovingly ironing it out!  Vinay Pathak has some great moments as the man who wants to show his wife he can break out of the “you are the most boring man” mould.  Irrfan is understated excellence as the Nouveau riche man who does not fit into the golf playing world of Raja Saab, can buy his way out with money, and is not averse to using his wife as a means to an end.  Konkona hams it up delightfully as the woman who loves a hunk but has no wiles to win him, and then is beautiful as the graceful siren Laila.


Tying this diverse assemblage together is Madhuri – with that same 1000 watt smile, and yes a few age lines, but not a move out of place, and all that acting talent intact!  If you have not seen Aaja Nachley then do it JUST FOR THE DANCING DIVA!  She lures the town to Ajanta in a blue ghaghra choli as she dances to Aaja Nachley Nachley Mere Yaar Tu Nachley!  And then scouts the town for talent and finally is the sutradhar in a spectacular retelling of the Laila Majnu tale – a long but soulful drama that is stunningly put together.  Yes, there is some schmaltz, but the tale is also real with characters that come alive on screen, and in the end the NRI goes back to her life on distant shores after having touched numerous lives in Shyamali!  If there is a weak link in Aaja Nachley it is Akshaye Khanna – the man has no charm or charisma, but fortunately there is no overt romantic track and the movie happily chugs along even with this deficiency.  The music by Saleem Suleiman is fun and upbeat and the film is a treat for all Madhuri fans.  Can someone please tell her we are waiting for more?


23 Responses

  1. Madhuri is my all time favorite Bollywood actress.

  2. Thanks Bond ji – Amitabh of course, he remains my favorite star of the 60s and 70s and mid 80s! And Madhuri is incomparable.

  3. […] Read the rest from here: PakhiPakhi […]

  4. Thanks Pakhi. Glad to see Amitabh’s picture on the side (below the calendar.

  5. Superb write up pakhi. Yes Madhuri is truly incomparable.

  6. great review . didnt like this movie much the dance part was quite boring in the end . also Jaydeep shahni scripts started going into same route – a group of people uniting to win against some force . this was same thing in KKG , CDI and now Aja nachley .

    but still its definately a one time watch just because of the lead actress . when she comes on screen it just lights up . sad we no longer have a actress like her or have roles suitable to such a actress.

  7. and did u see DevD fully ? if possible do review it 😀

  8. Madhuri – the poise, the grace, the naughty expressions, the dances, the……….. no more words left to describe this pari on earth. What a lady. The first time I saw her in the ek do teen song, i fell in love. Yes Pakhi, even Bond can fall in love LOL

  9. Hardik – Jaideep also wrote BnB – bery different script. It is sad indeed that we have no suitable roles for actresses like Madhuri. Just for making a film that was focused entirely on her as the main person, I salute Yash Raj.

  10. i dont doubt Jaideeps skills considering he also has company, jungle to his credit just saying he wrote scripts on similar structure in his last 3 films .

    YRF deserves lot of credit in 2007 . they had 3 films on women that year ( CDI , LCMd and AN ) and also JBJ was very risky .

  11. Indeed – I forgot that they did 3 women centric films that year! I am willing to overlook Jaideep’s sameness in story as this was really Adi’s story that he scripted.

  12. Hey I missed this review somehow. Did you post this in NG?

    Nice review BTW…It would be nicer if you give your ratings

    Did you change the blog theme or is it just my imagination?

  13. Thanks! It is posted on NG. The theme did change quite a bit – and I would rate AN as a solid 7/10.

  14. Hardik – tell me how to add sitemeter. Thanks for the suggestion.

  15. You can also add poll widgets & other usual widgets which will go with the concept of your blog

    This should help you

    also note that wordpress doesn’t allow some widgets unlike blogspot where you can add any number of widgets

    You can also add google adsense & other advt widgets where you can earn few bucks (depends on hits on your blogs)

    I also added some widgets to my blog (created 2 years back & not operative now) though the blog looks gaudy with all those flasy widgets, some of them may interest you like live traffic widget & rate meter widget

    here is the link

  16. oops I logged from pakaopakao site 😛

    Now you know who created that blog 🙂 sorry for that. It was just for fun.

    “SPS 😀 aapki website bahut achchi hai ”

    Lol Hardik. Its my codeword. Whenever I use ‘hardy my pal’ in SB, Samjho its me 🙂 Kisiko mat batana

  17. Please delete my above comment.

    Thanks & bye

  18. SPS 😀 aapki website bahut achchi hai .

    pakhi mam if u want u can add sitemeter to ur blog . to know kitne log visit karte hai aapke blog par . just have to add html code to do that .

  19. Pakhi,

    go to

    Add test widget.

    And copy the site meter html code in the box

    for site meter html code, go to

    register yourself and get the code (basic version is free)

  20. Create a free account on SiteMeter. You get an email with password. Login, goto manager there is link for instruction. It has wordpress instruction also. It basically is making a new link with sitemeter link of yours.

  21. As if I had any doubt who had created the pakao site! Thanks for the links Shetty and Rks.

  22. LOL..Pakaopakao..SPS..HardyMypal..

  23. Only the creator of Pakaopakao would have the chutzpah to post under that name at Pakhipakhi! 🙂

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