Yeh Ballet is a Netflix original film based on the life of two boys, living in slums, but reaching for the stars. The film is produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur’s Roy Kapur Films.
Nishu (Manish Chauhan) and Asif (Achintya Bose) are nobodies but they seek to define themselves through their dance.
Nishu is a taxi-driver’s son who lives and breathes dance. Although his talent gets recognised on a reality show, his father is still not pleased. His father wants him to get a stable job and help the family financially, but Nishu goes behind his back to pursue his dreams.
Asif also comes from a financially weak family but, unlike Nishu, he is not so determined to be a dancer. He likes to dance with his friends and yet is reluctant to join the academy; his brother forces him to do so when he sees his capability.
Enter into the picture a crazy American ballet teacher, Saul (Julian Sands). He takes one look at Asif and sees the potential that Asif never did. Nishu, on the other hand, struggles to get his attention.
A tragic incident results in a reality check for Asif and changes his attitude towards ballet while Nishu falls in love with ballet at first sight, which makes him take extreme steps to master the dance form.
The boys have never heard of ballet. However, under the tutelage of Saul, they will try to become the best. All odds are against them and they will fall several times, but do they not say adversity is the best teacher?
Chauhan makes sweet Nishu an endearing figure in the beginning. However, he fails to portray other emotions with the same passion; his acting does not develop with his character. Bose convincingly plays the part of Asif and depicts his transformation from an uncaring boy to a determined dancer sincerely.
Sands succeeds in making his character displeasing to the audience and still manages to earn their sympathy and even tenderness at times. Supporting actors like Danish Hussain and Vijay Maurya have given commendable performances despite having small roles.
One of the finest aspects of the film is the cinematography by Kartik Vijay. His work along with Sooni Taraporevala’s direction conveys to the viewers plenty of unsaid words
Even when the film outlines the hurdles that the have-nots face in order to be successful, it does not get too heavy at any point; it is littered with playful dialogues.
Along with this, Yeh Ballet also tries to deal with issues like discrimination on the basis of class and religion. In its own way, it shows how these factors take a toll on individuals.
Through ballet, it depicts art as an entity that transcends class, when Nishu practices with his rich classmate; religion, when Nishu and Asif dance like brothers; and culture, when an American gives his everything to teach two Indian boys.
The characters have a change of heart a few times in the film, almost abruptly. The film does not work on developing or exploring these changes but rather suddenly announces them.
The women characters opposite the two male leads do not have any concrete individual roles in the film. They only serve the purpose of taking forward the story of the male characters.
Yeh Ballet is definitely worth your time. The dance performances of Bose and Chauhan are worth watching. Even though the plot is based on a common concept, it has its own unique elements that make the film stand out.