“Get on the train baby”! For some high decibel entertainment!
A typical Rohit Shetty film….with flying SUVs, zany situations, some loud dialogue delivery, an abundance of colour, a barrel full of laughs and very little sense otherwise. His standardisation of this money spinning format is commendable…..for he too is obviously laughing his way to the bank. Also highly commendable is that the film does not make offensive fun of any community-be it Tamilians or Sardars.
Definitely worth one watch to celebrate Eid and generally laugh one’s self silly-in two languages as much of the film is in Tamil-and is translated by the actors as part of the film. Sub-titles would have helped though!
Now to the brass tacks.
The Story– Is thinner than rasam. An affluent, unmarried 40 year old man-Rahul (SRK) brought up by his grandparents sets out to immerse his grandfather’s ashes to Rameshwaram as per the formers last wish. The source of the affluence-a mithai shop. Thus he is a halwai.
As his grandfather was a controlling personality, albeit very loving, our man has not really lived his life on his own terms. So immersing the ashes is his last duty before setting out to do his own thing.
En-route he bumps into Meenamma who he helps board the train (in true DDLJ style)….along with 4 of her hefty cousins. She was being taken back to Coomban village, where her father is the local Don and from where she ran away to escape marriage to her father’s friends son.
Thereafter enfolds a mindless saga of song, dance and melodrama involving a village full of well built Tamilians who break into machete wielding war cries at the drop of a lungi, and the mad shenanigans of Rahul and Meenamma in the effort to escape the village and matrimony.
Oh and of course….they fall in love etc- helped to a woman by a neighbouring village who gives them by way of help-a garangutan house to live in ,food, silks to wear, gold to adorn with, crowd protection when needed AND a getaway vehicle. Hmmmm….. more villages like these and young couples will suddenly be getting on to Chennai Express– to escape the “khaps”. Towards the climax, the story suddenly takes a preachy turn and trust, honesty and women’s rights and the freedom to choose their husband etc get an honourable mention. (Social message check).
The Logic…..of the following are lost in the scripts of time and the mind of the writer……..
- a rich Rahul travelling in non-a/c compartments?
- Meenamma running away to Kalyan-why, why, why? No where closer?
- Rahul managing to pack clean, well ironed clothes for a month in a knapsack along with Granddaddy’s remains (maybe he knows Hermione who can bewitch bags to be larger inside than out)
- Rahul is missing with no contact with his friends and family-and no one reports him missing?
- The Don positively encourages his choice of groom and Rahul’s fight and agrees only when Rahul is so pulped, he would have to take the “pheras” in a jam bottle. Ahem….the daughter needs flesh and blood you know?
The Picturisation- is a mix .Breathtakingly beautiful natural scapes-waterfalls, train tracks by the mountain etc jostle with unnaturally perfect looking cardboard cut out villages in solid virulent colours. Mr. Shetty-please stick to real locations. The sets resemble Gingerbread Houses!
An exquisite scene though is the picture below. The combination of the flowers and colour make it stunning.
The Music-Is catchy and dancy and hummable. The “dappan kothu” song energetic and makes you want to join in. “Titli” is gentle and I personally did not care for “Thaliva”, maybe because I have a dislike for people named Yo Yo! Also, with all due respect to him, why did a tribute to Rajnikanth be featured here?
The Humour-Is almost entirely derived from SRK’s films, songs and dialogues-albeit cleverly put together. Whatever little is not adapted from there is funny too, in a slapstick way.
The Acting– is where SRK was just not in the skin of this character. He did not blend in effortlessly into the madness that is Rohit Shetty’s films. He seemed to be ill at ease and forced and even in the tender, romantic scenes, seemed strangely flat and wooden. All his trademark clichés were in place though-the open arms, the melting brown eyed look, and the dimpled smile. But the SRK who is wooing our hearts from the time he was a “Fauji” was missing. As opposed to his being accused of “over-acting”, he was under acting!
At his stage in life and career, I expected more from him as an actor. This experiment did not work for him at all.
Deepika as Meenamma- OUTSTANDING….just for maintaining her Tamil accent through the film and not slipping at all. She looks graceful and beautiful and has great comic timing too. A total pleasure watching her.
The rest of the cast were a great support too, specially Meenamma’s cousin brothers. No one outstanding though.
So if you are a die-hard SRK fan- watch it. And if a little less-then too watch it. If SRK is not a favourite, then avoid it. If banal and crazy do not appeal to you don’t watch it.
But if kooky comedy is your cup of tea (or filter coffee)…
- Arey ticket khareed ke baith ja seat pe
Nikal na jaaye kahin chennai express
Chennai ayi ayi ayi ayi ayi ayi
Ho Chennai ayi ayi ayi ayi ayi ayi