When in middle school, I spent an entire summer in Mysore staying at my uncle’s place devouring chakkali, Tintin-Asterix comics and Chandamama-Balamitra magazines. One of the images stuck in my mind from that idyllic vacation is a Dirty Dancing T-shirt that my uncle frequently wore. I only found out that this was the name of a movie a lifetime later when the Internet entered my life. A memory is a fickle creature and on a whim I decided to watch Dirty Dancing to satiate this childhood curiosity.
Dirty Dancing turns out to be a dance-romance which is (sadly?) much like a Bollywood rich-girl-loves-poor-guy movie. The rich girl is Frances (Jennifer Grey), who along with her white-collar parents and sister are vacationing at a lake resort. Johnny (Patrick Swayze) is an instructor at the resort who teaches ballroom dancing to the visitors. He and his blue-collar brethren live in separate quarters (“visitors are not allowed”) where they sweat and groove to mambo (hence the title Dirty Dancing 😉). Even an Indian infant can guess the plot from here: Frances is smitten by Johnny, her father objects, throw in a white-over-blue-collar atrocity, a final climactic dance when everything is settled and the errant dad sees the light.
Jennifer Grey is pretty and Patrick Swayze is stone-faced, but they have good chemistry and manage with their good dancing skills. The dances and dance-training scenes are well choreographed and great to watch. The final track (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life is quite memorable. Dirty Dancing is yet another movie that is over-hyped (remember Saturday Night Fever?) and can be strictly watched once.