Aaja Nachle was my first Bollywood movie, and I suppose I should have done some reading before watching it. Going into it blind, I'm going to assume that all the non-musical bits (AKA: the plot) exists only to move the movie from one dance number to another.
The story was about a woman (a dancer) who falls in love with an American, goes to America with him (fleeing India the night she was supposed to marry some other guy who she apparently also loved), and the very second they get off the plane, they decide they don't actually love each other and so divorce. The woman stays in America and opens some wildly successful dance studio.
A call comes in, the man who taught her dancing is dying, so off she goes to India, her daughter in tow (don't ask where the daughter came from). She arrives in India too late, her teacher died. But he left a movie for her to watch! Worst Acted Death Scene Ever.
So blah blah blah, the dying teacher tells her she has to save their theater (ancient ruins, no building, just rock and dead weeds). She goes to argue with the town leader, who gives her two months to put on the most amazing show ever to save it. The very next day she's putting on the most amazing show ever! In this dirt-poor village, somehow she's created an entire theater, decorated, lit, professional sound, big stage, staffed with only villagers. And did I mention every single person in this village hates her for running away? Even her sister would barely talk to her...
The dialogue is SO CORNY. When the dancing teacher died, his assistant told the main character woman: "He used to say doctor I'm fed up of this theater down here, I'm going up for that gig in the sky.." Seriously?
The subtitles are awful. Perhaps I'm spoiled by fan subtitled anime, but you'd think a professional movie would be at least as good as fansubs! Whoever did the subtitles for this had zero idea how grammar works (periods only travel in pairs, and even then are rarely seen). Worse than grammar and spelling issues, whole conversations went by without subtitles, or sometimes only one side of a conversation had subtitles.
All that being said, this was far from the worst movie I've ever watched. All the main characters were so good looking. The women were beautiful, sexy. The men were hot as anything. I loved the dancing to death. The music was beautiful. The settings/backgrounds were interesting. The language was really interesting to hear (and to try to figure out, when subtitles failed).
Like most movies I've been watching lately, this one was too long (two and a half hours), though it helped that the entire last 40 minutes was the big dance number.
I think it comes down to Bollywood being like porn: The plot has to be there for it to be called a movie, but you might as well fast forward to the "good parts". (But no, I'm not seriously judging the entire genre based on seeing one movie.)
And in closing, I'll leave you with this line. A woman wanted to join the show, but didn't know how to dance:
"Dancer? Even my lice have never danced before.."