Remember the 'Dancing Uncle' video involving a potbellied middle-aged man dancing to Govinda's 'Aap ke Aa Jane Se' from Khudgarz that went viral in 2018? The video features Sanjeev Shrivastava aka 'Dancing Uncle' breaking out into some cool moves during a function – unbothered by his lack of technique but completely fluid in the transitions between moves. Even when the song moves from the male to female part, he takes over without ever losing a beat. He is enjoying it so much that he takes centerstage, and his wife who is also on stage with him at the beginning of the song, only stands in one corner, clapping along. The video has 83 million views on Youtube as of writing this article.
Taking inspiration from this, writers Kashyap Kapoor and Raghav Raj Kakker along with director Shiladitya Bora spin a fictional short story around the moment, contextualising the event against the mundanity of life. Rammo Babu (Manu Rishi Chadha) is a middle class man who is first introduced to us doing his early morning prayers. His wife is busy in the kitchen and the kids, daughter Kuhu (Himani Soni) and mischievous son Mannu (Shloak Bharadwaj) are eating breakfast. Within a few moments, he is established as a regular man who reads the newspaper, works as salesman at a fashion store but seems to lack self-confidence and is not fully respected by his family.
Bora creates the character as that of a man who does not fully grasp the evolving technological trends (his co-worker Rajesh makes Tik-Toks at work), nor does he understand the blackhole of fake news and Whatsapp University that his mohalla friends treat as absolute fact. Even though he is not, his family is ashamed of their lack of affluence because he rides a scooter (a reminder of the lack of wealth). With DOP Stanley Mudda's help, Bora creates spaces that we all identify with; the brick and mortar fashion store, the small bylanes, the scooter or a small stage at a marriage function.
So when the actual core sequence arrives i.e. Rammo Babu dancing rapturously to the song, it feels earned and suitable to the overall theme of the film. It shows him having fun but also focusses on the peripherals; a slightly disgruntled wife, a facepalming daughter and a crowd that cheers him along. The following sequences feed into the virality of the event; customers who had previously walked out to buy online return to buy from the store (and click selfies) even though he is unaware of his fame. The wife suddenly compliments him for his physical appearance and the kids are no longer embarrassed to ride pillion on the scooter to school.
It is also here that you see for the first time a smile on Rammo Babu's face, enjoying the attention, adulation and above all respect coming along his way. Manu Rishi Chadha delivers a solid performance. He is in every frame of the film and the part requires him to switch gears between feeling worn down and one full of enthusiasm which he does with absolute ease. The early sequences are tough because a lot of them are close ups but he lets his eyes do the work, efficiently building the character. The other characters only have little to do but each one of them especially the two kids deliver a performance that helps compliment the central role.
Aap ke Aa Jane Se ends on a symbol of scepticism (keeping in line with the protagonist) but also genuine hope. When the son teaches him how to watch his own video, Rammo notes the slowing down view count saying,"yaar kal le muqaable, market neeche nahi chal rahi?" to which his son confidently replies, "koi baat nahi papa, kal market upar ho jayegi". This exchange gives Rammo Babu the confidence that an archetypal middle class man like him is also relevant and the film ends by showing us that every ordinary person is in fact extraordinary.