Five Six Seven Eight Review: A Predictable Dance Drama That Works Only As A Troupe’s Dance Reel

Despite its flaws, the eight-part Zee5 series has just about the right moves and cliffhangers to keep you hooked
Five Six Seven Eight Review: A Predictable Dance Drama That Works Only As A Troupe’s Dance Reel

Directors : AL Vijay, Prasanna JK, Mrudhula Sridharan

Cast: Ditya Sagar Bhande, Nagendra Prasad, Chinni prakash, Vivek Jogdande

The night before the finale of an international dance event, Vicky (Vivek Jogdande) and a few of his friends who are representing India are arrested in a drug case. Stranded alone on the streets of Mumbai, his team members have to prove his innocence within the next 24 hours to take part in the event. With a bunch of aspiring teens coming together from different backgrounds, some fighting a legal battle to clear their names, the premise of Five Six Seven Eight offers the right mix of dance and drama. 

Semba (Ditya Bhande of Lakshmi (2018) fame) lives in a slum and practices dancing with her friends, while Vicky, who hails from a sophisticated background, is a professional dancer and a YouTube star. Apart from dance, both of them share yet another pivotal connection — Semba’s brother and Vicky’s sister are in love.

This leads to a rivalry between the two gangs headed by Semba and Vicky. Thanks to their tussle, you get to enjoy their rage through some electrifying dance moves that play out to Sam CS’s score. But when these sparring gangs become one while representing India on the international stage, the real drama unfolds. Evoking tension, the series depicts the flashback sequences of their rivalry and their journey in the competition, intercutting the sequences with a track about how the rest of the gang tries to prove Vicky’s innocence. 

Something that makes Five Six Seven Eight unique in the dance drama genre is the lack of a coach who backs them. This gives us a story of teens trying to make it big on their own, without exploring the dance master as a saviour trope. However, when a mentor is appointed midway through their journey, you find it difficult to accept the sudden bond they share. 

If you are someone who loves dancing, this show is definitely for you. With eight episodes, the unique setting of the Tamil dance series overflows with love for the art form. Especially with all the politics out of the picture in the last episode, it offers a full-on dance feast. The biggest strength of the series is the gripping 24-hour timeline in which the dancers race to prove Vicky’s innocence. The ticking clock and cliffhanger at the end of each episode give the series some much-needed tension. 

When Semba’s gang calls themselves “Tamil Pasanga”, you cannot miss the obvious hat tips to Vijay’s dance troupe in Thalaivaa (the 2013 film was helmed by director AL Vijay, who is also the co-director of this series). The nostalgia peaks when the entire gang dances on the road, attracting a huge crowd after being disqualified from a competition. The series also has a funny bone, which emerges best when Semba’s brother gets caught up in the rivalry and tries his luck in befriending Vicky, his future brother-in-law.

But as it is with dance dramas, the conflicts in five six seven eight come across as simple and convenient. It is riddled with stereotypes and predictable plot twists, yet that’s not the biggest downfall of the series. While some dancers are present throughout the series, a few team members are blatantly left out. And they reappear out of nowhere right before the finale (did they fall asleep?). In addition, the series has sympathetic antagonists, who do evil acts but are also somewhere branded as “good” individuals. So even when we come across drug dealers, jealous dancers, and people trying to take revenge, their motives are downplayed to the extent that it does not justify their acts. 

While the main plot of the dancers and their passion keeps the series going, several side characters and their backstories stick out like sore thumbs. On multiple occasions, the dancers are told that they have the potential, but that something was missing. Ironically, the same could be said of the series, too. 

Five Six Seven Eight is streaming on Zee5.

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