Starring: Onjolie Nair, Dino Morea and Kashmera Shah
Fremantle Media
RRP: 9.99
WDVD 7977
Certificate: 12
Available 31 July 2006

Things are not looking good for poor plain Muskan. If having to spend her life in the shadow of her more beautiful sister Samara wasn't bad enough, she discovers that she has failed her exams and feels that she is a failure in the eyes of her extraordinarily successful father, Dr Daksh Suri. With her mother Nandini completing the set, the family head off to Goa for a month long holiday. When Muskan meets Dino, a salsa dancer her life changes forever. In a twist of fate Muskan stands in for Dino's girlfriend when she has an abortion. It's a long hot summer and Muskan discovers that she is about to have the time of her life...

Bollywood has a long tradition of remaking other people's movies, a tradition that Hollywood has now taken to heart with their endless naff remakes of Asian films. However, what was going through the mind of Pooja Bhatt, in her second directorial attempt, when she decided that a remake of Dirty Dancing was just what we were all waiting for is beyond me. Not that the film isn't a competent piece of work, but neither is it going to set the screen alight. Which is strange, as Bhatt is no stranger to either acting or producing films; Holiday is the ninth film for which she has fulfilled the role of producer, and the thriller Paap (2003), her first outing as a director, was critically well received. Maybe she has the Sofia Coppola curse, great first film, and blandish second.

The film adds little to the original apart from moving the location; Muskan is still portrayed as an ugly duckling waiting for her chance to find something to make her shine. When she does, what she lacks in acting ability is more than made up for in her deft display of dancing skill.

The other actors do their bit, but like Dirty Dancing they are really only there to react to Muskan. The father patiently waits to give his approval, the mother yearns for her child to have the hope of a better life and the sister, who in good fairy-tale mode starts off as the attractive but nasty one before her sister saves her from a fate worse than death, at which point the whole family are reconciled and everybody's happy.

A nice deviation from the norm is Ranjit Barot's score for the songs, which accompany the dance routines. Breaking from the usual tradition of music in Indian cinema, Barot uses a much more contemporary Jazz Salsa fusion which complements the well staged choreography and cinematography, if anything makes this film worth watching it would be the dance numbers.

Ultimately, like its predecessor, Holiday's only real reason for existence is to watch well staged dance routines wrapped around a paper-thin plot, a coming of age film for those who like their romances candy coated.

The disc comes with English subtitles and the ability to go straight to the songs, as far as I could tell the disc only comes in stereo, where at least a 5.1 should be expected in a film of this age. There are no extras which once again lets the film down.

So, a credible film but most probably not one you'd watch more than once.

Charles Packer

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