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Mar 27th 2023
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Home Reviews Cinema & Theatre Chennai Express: Better miss this train

Chennai Express: Better miss this train

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Poster Chennai ExpressThe combination of SRK and Rohit Shetty promises a lot but fails to deliver.


King of Hindi cinema, Shahrukh khan, seems to have gotten bored of his Bollywood journey now. He himself mentioned in a recent interview that he does not do movies for a living now. For that he has many other avenues. He claims it's the love of the audience that keeps him going. Shahrukh's latest offering 'Chennai Express' proves his loss of interest in Hindi cinema. It's the Rs one billion club that seems to have bitten him too.

The film opens with Rahul's (SRK) Dadaji’s 100th birthday celebrations. As the ceremony is about to start, Dadaji is shown watching his favourite cricket player, Tendulkar, batting at 99. Sachin gets out at 99 resulting in Dadji's heart attack. The number one in the '100' candles is shown falling off, and this 100 becomes a double zero. The film too promises a lot but falters in its delivery. Though by the time you are reading this, the movie would have added many zeroes in its gross earnings.

Story: Rahul lives with his grandparents ever since his parents expired when he was just eight years old. He does not like working on his family business (chain of sweet shops). A bachelor at forty, Rahul blames his grandparent's phone calls (only Rohit can come up with this) for not letting him settle down with any of his lady love for long. His grandpa expires, and as per his last wish he has to take half of his ashes to Rameshwaram for last rituals. Due to many unpredictable (read unconvincing and intolerable) circumstances, he boards Chennai Express with Meena (Deepika Padukone), only to halt in Komban which is also Deepika's don father’s village. And from there starts his crazy run with Meena.

Direction: Rohit Shetty's style of moviemaking is quite familiar now. His films are colourful, mostly shot in Goa and partly offshore, flying cars resemble UFOs, and story is a combination of PJs. Rohit has also introduced South-Indian style of action with big, black, fat goons. In Chennai Express he follows his usual style, making mockery of many things in a couple of hours. The start of the film is routine, and you tend to at least smile, if not laugh at the PJs.

Out of the train, Chennai Express actually derails as a movie. It does have have an experimental opening sequence where most characters, barring the male and female lead, speak in Tamil. This might have been done to create a better comic situation, audience will feel as surprised and confused (of not understanding the language) as the hero in the film. But after some time it all gets irritating and totally messed up. What is left on screen is a fumbling SRK, Deepika doing her worst in trying a Chennai accent, and a lot many Tamil speaking actors.

By having almost 40 per cent of the movie in Tamil, Shetty has tried to prove that he neither needs story nor dialogues, to make a film hit. Tusshar mute act in Golmaal seems to have been revisited here.Over all, this film is in Shetty's comfort zone and he has tried nothing new except the Tamil part.

Performances: The hero of the film, SRK, has done an average job. He reminds you of his performance in Duplicate. It is very hard to digest that this actor has been a veteran in acting now. After 22 years in industry, if you need to do this type of acting, it shows the confidence level. He has shown all of his trademark skills, be it the dialogue delivery or the dance steps with arms wide stretched or his tilting face with dimples on cheek. It looks like a refresher course of SRK’s acting style.

Deepika looks sweet. Perhaps this is the first time she is seen in full clothes in every scene. She is better than SRK, though her Tamil accent is a bit overdone. In a scene where she kicks Shahrukh while sleeping, she looks funny and clearly indicates the limitations she has for comic performances.

Satyaraj as Meena’s don father is a wrong choice for the role. Nikitin, as Meena’s Fiance, catches attention. His personality suits his role and makes SRK look funny when he takes over him in final combat.

Music: Vishal and Shekhar have done a satisfactory job. The balanced score carries essence of Tamil music too. The 'lungi' song which comes in end credits is a good foot thumping no. Titli is another song you can listen. But the title song sung by veteran S P Balasubramaniam, which is the best offering from the film’s music, is surprisingly missing in the movie. At times, the background score is also taken or inspired from SRK’s old hit movies, which add no novelty to the film.

Story and Screenplay: Story has no place in Shetty’s movies. He has copied Singham though, his best effort till date. Here too, story by K Subhaash and screenplay by Yunus Sajawal has borrowed from other Bollywood flicks. The movies starts with shades of DDLJ , goes through an irritating antakshari sort sequence, has a ‘common man power’ reminder as in A Wednesday, a small kid in dhoti comes in between the villain as in Ghatak, SRK's (beaten by goons) falling on the ground and sniffs to blow some dust from the ground gives Khuda Gawah look and SRK goes pleading to the villain and gets hold of him as in Sholay and Dhamaal. The end itself reminds you of many Hindi flicks especially DDLJ.

Photography: Cinematography by Dudley and editing by Steven H Bernard are two complimentary aspects of the film. Dudley has been able to capture the natural beauty of Dudhsagar Dam (Railway station of Kamban), Ooty, Munnar, Panchgani, etc. The colorful presentation is at least pleasant to look at for more than two hours. Too many VFX effects make the presentation a bit artificial. The scenes of the train moving in the jungle, SRK and Deepika on bike and car but without moving a single hair lock, the sun setting and rising scenes in golden lights, are all clearly visible of computer effects.

Editing is good and the film runs at a good pace. It has been smartly kept with a length of two hours and 21 minutes.

Overall, the combination of SRK and Rohit Shetty fails. They have not put any extra efforts. Maybe this is the new 100 crore formula. The film has tied up with some 14 brands, and is dubbed in nine international languages. It has been screened in 3500 domestic and 700 international screens, with the paid previews.

If the recent wave of mindless comedies don't excite you, Chennai Express is not for you.This express ride is actually worse than any Mumbai local ride. Take a risk only if it is mandatory.


(Rating: **1/2)


---Sharad Vatss is a movie buff who works for Pepsi. The Views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the opinion of The Other News.


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