Tuesday, 18 December 2018

chapter 13 : SHALL WE DANCE?


Armaan Malik, Vice captain of the Indian cricket team, an arrogant, self-absorbed Casanova is stumped one day when Rhea, an eight year old adorable girl lands at his doorstep with her sharp tongued dance teacher, Riddhima Gupta. Riddhima Gupta, an independent minded woman, who loathes men like Armaan takes him by surprise.

Riddhima Gupta is a self proclaimed man hater. Very few men have impressed her in her life.  Armaan's reputation and the fact that Armaan dumped Nikita when she was pregnant with his child made her dislike men even more.

Riddhima accuses Armaan of being Rhea's dad from his once upon a time girlfriend, Nikita, who had helped him advance in his cricketing career nine years ago. Nikita, now a cancer victim is in Mumbai for treatment and needs someone to take care of her daughter while she is away. Riddhima's personal problems prevent her from taking care of Rhea, and so Armaan is thrust with Rhea's responsibility for the next two weeks. Riddhima threatens to expose Armaan's lie and deception in front of the world if he declined to take Rhea's responsibility. Muskaan, his agent cum personal assistant is thrust the impossible job of proving his paternity and finding Riddhima and Nikita's real motive behind Rhea's sudden appearance.

To everyone's surprise, Armaan undergoes a drastic change after Rhea and Riddhima's enter his life. His first victim is his current girlfriend, Rosie, who he unceremoniously dumps like many women he had in the past. Soon, Armaan finds himself a victim to Riddhima's feminine charm and Rhea's innocence.

Riddhima, Rhea's dance teacher mesmerizes Armaan to such an extent that soon he finds himself not only dancing to Rhea's but Riddhima's tunes too. A charming and adorable Rhea dances her way into his heart, and a once reluctant man, accepts Rhea as his daughter. They even strike a mutual bond because of their underlying dyslexia. Soon, reading classes for Rhea are bartered with dance classes for Armaan.

Completely smitten by Riddhima's fiery temper, her sensuous dance moves and her electrifying personality, Armaan falls head over heels in love with her. He even joins Riddhima's dance class when her dance partner, Sid is injured in a motorcycle accident. The reputation of the dance studio and Riddhima's teaching skills depend on an impending dance competition. Armaan and Riddhima, although loggerheads at most times, when on the dance floor, realize a magnetic attraction between themselves. Armaan soon becomes Riddhima's dance partner for the competition. Their chemistry on the dance floor is unmistakable and despite all her resistance, Riddhima starts to fall for his earnestness and charm. One day in the heat of passion, they even confess their feelings for each other. The change in Armaan is so dramatic that he forgets his drinking, partying, womanizing ways and realizes that she is the woman he would want to marry one day.

Rhea manages to strike a warm relationship with Armaan's cricket teammates, especially his arch rival, Atul Gavarkar, the Captain of the team. Armaan's image in the team changes from that of an arrogant, egoistic batting star to a more humble and friendly team mate thanks to Rhea.

Riddhima, even though has confessed her love for Armaan, continues stay torn between her feelings and her duty towards Nikita. Her dysfunctional family where she is the sole bread winner makes it harder for her to accept Armaan whole heartedly. Her responsibilities include taking care of her older brother, a good for nothing PhD student, her younger twin brother and sister still in high school, her disabled dad and stay at home mom.  Her uncle- chacha- is willing to shoulder her financial burden but at a cost. His intentions towards his nieces have always been dishonorable and Riddhima could do anything to throw him out of their lives. To add to her misery, Anjali, the owner of the dance studio treats her shabbily and is using Armaan's name and status for the benefit of her own business. One of the student's, Naina even blackmails Armaan and Riddhima in exchange for their passionate photographs from the studio. To save Riddhima's honor, Armaan gets rid of Naina by paying her Rs 1 Crore in exchange for the photographs. Riddhima is once again torn between her feelings and her duty. Armaan perceives Riddhima's dilemma and her domestic burdens but a self respecting Riddhima declines any form of financial help from him.

In the meantime, even though Armaan has accepted Rhea as his daughter, declining any need for DNA testing to prove his paternity, Rhea sorely misses her mom, who is now in Singapore for a last ditch attempt at saving her life from the cancer. Her mom promises Rhea that she would be present at the dance competition to cheer her daughter.

The night of the dance competition arrives where an ensemble of all our main characters is present. Armaan is introduced to a movie producer by Anjali. His name is Abhimanyu Modi and is always on the scout for new talent. Armaan's teammates, the press and well wishers have all gathered at the Taj banquet hall for the grand competition.  To improve Armaan's sagging public opinion, it is decided that the benefits from this show would be donated to build a dance studio for the underprivileged.

Armaan's mom, Smita has flown in from Punjab for this big occasion where he promised to introduce her to her future daughter-in-law. Armaan presents a gift wrapped to Riddhima in the changing room and asks her to open it after the competition. Riddhima is unaware that the package has a wedding 'shagun' for her. Armaan and Riddhima exchange a warm and passionate encounter in the changing room before they are interrupted by a voice outside the room. Vaguely familiar with the voice, Armaan leaves Riddhima alone and promises to perform his best at the dance.

……..Let's see what happens at this juncture….


"Hmm….wo awaaz kiski thi?" Armaan scratched his head, "How I wish I had fewer women in my life….ab tho sabki awaaz bhi nahin pehchaan paata."

"Hey Armaan……where were you?" Muskaan greeted him back to the main hall, "some of the press wants to hear from you."

Armaan sighed and faked a smile, "Muskaan….do I really need to meet them?"

"Armaan! Remember all the proceeds from tonight's show will be donated to build a studio for the underprivileged? This would be the best thing you could accomplish from this show."

"Naa!" Armaan grinned, "there is something bigger I'll gain from this show."

"Bigger?" Muskaan asked, narrowing her eyes quizzically.

"Let it be a surprise," he walked towards the press with a slanting smile. Muskaan had been his confidant on most issues, but his little secret- his marriage proposal to Riddhima- would soon be revealed to the rest of the world in a grandiose way. He decided to tip the press about 'a big news to be announced after the competition' while he gave his interview.


Riddhima touched her lipstick where it had smudged after she had kissed Armaan. Armaan's gift stared at her in the mirror. Something about the gift wrapped box screamed at her to OPEN IT NOW. Armaan's words rang in her ears, "open the package after the competition….there is a surprise inside for you."

"Aakhir is packet mein kya ho sakta hai?" She walked over and caressed the box. Her heart raced as she traced the shimmering wrapping paper. Something inside urged her to untie the ribbon and look inside.

"Why does it feel that my destiny is wrapped in this box?" As she wondered and almost tugged at the ribbon, the door flung open and in walked a slim, long haired glamorous woman, dressed in white slacks and a glittery black sleeveless top. With an air of confidence, fingers and neck loaded with exquisite diamonds, one could tell she was extremely rich and successful.

"Hi Riddhima! You look gorgeous." The woman smiled, lit a cigarette and delicately balanced it between her thin lips.

"Ni….Nikita?" Riddhima fumbled with the ribbon on the gift box, "thanks…..I have to look my best……after all this is an important evening for all of us."

"I am glad you remember that," Nikita blew smoke rings in the air callously.

"I keep my promises…..remember I told you that?" Riddhima walked away from the gift towards the counter to pick her bag.

"I was just making sure…..kahin tumhara iraada badal na gaya ho."

"Kyun? Mera iraada kyun badlega?" Riddhima averted her gaze, her voice a bit shaky.

"Well…..it's no secret that Armaan is crazy about you……but what about you? Have you fallen for his charm too?" Nikita traced her finger on Riddhima's cheek.

"Nikita…..if you think I have…..then I've already proven myself as a capable actress…..Abhimanyu should just go ahead and sign me up for his next movie," Riddhima stared at Nikita's reflection in the mirror, again avoiding direct eye contact with her.

"Clever Riddhima! Are you trying to chicken out of the main act?" Nikita inhaled a big puff of her cigarette.

"NO…..I am not a coward……but…but," Riddhima hesitated, "is it necessary to humiliate Armaan in public? I mean….he has changed Nikita…..he has accepted his mistakes…..he realizes that he used you for his selfish gains….so can we leave it at that?"

"RIDDHIMA!" Nikita gave her a stern look, "that man deserves no sympathy! Looks like you're really developing feelings for him?"

"No Nikita," Riddhima lied, "I just feel all this tamasha is unnecessary…..I have an idea…..let me perform poorly in the competition…..so we would lose …..you know how much he hates to lose…..that would be a blow to his ego…..tumhara kaam bhi ho jaayega Nikita."

"RIDDHIMA YOU WEAKLING! I did not expect this from you! That b*****d has cast his charm on you too…..so you are like all those gullible women…..if you think he has really changed and is going to marry you one day, then you are sadly mistaken…..he can go to any extent to lure any woman!"

"Nikita…..I am not weak! I am just human…..and believe in forgiveness……believe me he has really changed."

"OK Riddhima! Is that your final decision? Abhimanyu can always cast Anjali in the main role for his new movie….after all Anjali has played her part really well…..Naina too…..she can be the supporting actress, the role written for Anjali……and you……you can go back to being a primary school dance teacher once again…..and stay all your life in the dump with your lecherous chacha and good for nothing family!"

Nikita's words came as a jolt of reality and horror for Riddhima. She recalled how a few weeks ago, she had answered Nikita's advertisement in the newspaper, to be a part of a 'real life reality show' and if selected, would be cast in the next movie produced by her husband, Abhimanyu Modi! Riddhima had always been an ambitious girl since childhood. Yes, she had always aspired to be a movie star one day. She had practiced her lines and dance moves in front of the mirror ever since she was a five year old girl. Her chacha was the only one who had spotted her one day in front of a mirror echoing- I WANT TO BE A STAR. Her histrionic and dance skills in front of the mirror had attracted him immensely and since that day, he had tried to molest her on several occasions.

As she grew older, her passion for acting and dancing grew stronger along with her abhorrence for her uncle. Her determination to succeed grew with each passing day and now that she was at the threshold of her childhood dreams, she was willing to give it all up for Armaan's sake? Riddhima knew she had lied to Nikita. She was not such a good actress as she claimed to be. Yes, she had fallen for Armaan just like he had for her, but was she being foolish in love? What if Nikita was right? Could Armaan be playing games with her just like they had all played with him?

With a sardonic smile, Nikita turned around after throwing her cigarette butt in the trash, "Ok Riddhima…..your job is done…..Anjali will take over from here on…..no need to participate in the dance either…..you can leave!"

"NIKITA!" Riddhima ran after her, "I'm ready…..we will perform the main act as we had planned…..I can't jeopardize my life and career for a man like Armaan."

"GOOD GIRL!" Nikita rolled her tongue, "remember…..you have to win the dance competition first…..let him feel good …..let him feel he is on top of the mountain….just like I felt when he trapped me in his love…..seduced me….and then dump him like he dumped me! I'll make sure Abhimanyu, Anjali, Naina, Sid, Rosie and Rhea play their parts as we have planned."

"Yes Nikita…..I'll perform like I have never performed before." Riddhima took a deep breath, shut her eyes and gave a parting glance at the gift box in the corner before exiting the room behind Nikita.


chaandani chhu gayi, koi titali shola bani
kaun jite haare kaun, andhera ya roshani
hai jeher ya hai dawa, hai keher ya hai duwa
jaane kiske saath hoga dhoka
(ola ola ola ola kaisi gehri baat hai
ola ola ola ola raaj thaame raat hai) - 2

hey johny lets go ??, its me or you or you or me - 2
sab chhupe chehre yahaan, yeh nakaabon ka sheher
aana hai toh aayiye koi chehra odhkar
in ?? mein yahaan kisase hoga saamana
hai chhupe khanjar yahaan yaaron kehna hai mana
jaane kiske saath hoga dhoka
(ola ola ola ola kaisi gehri baat hai
ola ola ola ola raaj thaame raat hai) - 2

saath hum yeh jo chal pade, raah bhule kaafile?
kyun akela hai safar, humsafar hai faasale
kaun apana hai yahaan, kaun karata vaar hai
yaaron ka jo yaar hai, kya wahi gaddar hai
jaane kisake saath hoga dhoka
(ola ola ola ola kaisi gehri baat hai

…….to be contd….


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