Starring : Shah Rukh ‘Baadshah’ Khan, Deepika Padukone, Nikiten Dheer (the absurdly tall villian) and a whole bunch of Tamilian baddies.
Director : Rohit Shetty
Release Date : 8th Aug 2013
The one useful thing I learned from Chennai Express; No, it was not my verbal knowledge of Tamil, although Rohit Shetty tried his darnedest best by having a 98% cast of Tamilians and also having them speak shudh (pure) Tamil without a syllable of Hindi. All this is fine but Rohit, you could have put some subtitles at moments when full conversations were being conducted in Tamil. Deepika’s one-liner translations were just not enough at times. Coming back to that singular useful thing I learned from the movie, was the list of awesome features of Nokia Lumia 920 and its PRICE IN INDIAN RUPEES. Shah Rukh quoted again and again, Rs 32,950 (or was it Rs 32,250). With actors openly promoting and spewing features about products, very soon we will have no use for tv ads. BTW Shah Rukh, the price has dropped down to 26k now. Perhaps you can buy it again, since you lost your previous one in Chhhennai Xxpress. Another thing I learned, if you drop your phone from a bridge it won’t be damaged if it’s Nokia Lumia 920 (Nokia guys, I would have believed that if the phone in question was Nokia 3310!).
Starting off with the story, our hero Rahul (do I need to tell who is playing Rahul? We all know only one actor has taken the copyright for this name. The one and only Shah Rukh Khan) is a 40 something bachelor, handling his grandfather’s sweets shop in Mumbai. Grand dad decides that 100 years is more then enough time spent on Earth and decides to kick the bucket. Rahul at the same time was in plans for a vacation in Goa with friends. All that changes with the death in the family and Grandma telling Rahul that Granddad wanted his ashes to be scatterred in the waters of Rameshvaram, somewhere in Tamil Nadu (why??? the subplot was not deemed worthy enough to be told). Rahul grudgingly accepts, yet plans with his friends to fool his grandmother by taking a train supposedly traveling towards Rameshvaram. And thus our hero boards the Chennai Express. Before he is able to get off at the next station to meet his friends, he glances upon our heroine Meena (Deepika Padukone), who in a DDLJ-esque scene is running to catch the moving train and Rahul lends her a helping hand. The scene becomes downright hilarious, when to the music of DDLJ in the background, Rahul lends his hand to four guys running to board the same train as well.
Rahul doesn’t know yet but he has unwittingly got himself involved in some serious Tamilian s**t. As Meena annoyingly explains to him in a sing-a-long, that she was running away from a forced marriage set up by her ‘don’ father to a local ruffian Thangabali (Niketen Dheer) And that these four guys are her father’s goons come to take her back. When Rahul becomes witness to the attempted murder of the ticket collecter, he is forced to travel with all of them back to their local village. Meena makes a pact with Rahul to save his skin in return for his helping her to escape again.
Meena tells her father that she ran off to marry Rahul, whom she loves. This upsets the father but he grudgingly accepts her decision. Thangabali’s response is a totally different matter. He challenges Rahul to a duel. Rahul is a COMMON MAN, and common men usually cannot win against 7 foot tall, totally buffed up villians. He decides that flight is a more prudent decision rather then fight, kidnaps Meena and flees off.
What follows is quite obvious. The same old falling in love, yet not realising it situation between the hero and heroine while they are on the run. I don’t have to tell that the hero ultimately wins over the father, the 7 foot tall villian too, but not before some southie action, Rohit style. Cars flying in slow motion, some more blowing up. All in all, the usual stuff that we are seeing nowadays in Bollywood movies.
I’m going to be frank here and confess that I don’t really like Shah Rukh Khan. I don’t find his style of acting entertaining. I feel that maybe him or the directors, never really project him as a character in a movie, rather as SRK the brand. Therefore, he is hardly ever believable in his movies, no matter what character he portrays. The only exception for me personally, was Chak De India. He was outrightly wonderful as the anguished coach of a team of underdogs, suffering from a stigmata on his soul. If more and more directors casting him would forget that they are taking on The Baadshah and cast him as their character in the movie, this veteran can act beautifully.
Sad to say, but obviously this is not one of those movies. Rohit Shetty really entertained me with his first venture Golmaal. His Singham and Bol Bachchan were also passably entertaining, but all his other movies have been just the same. Forced comedy, cheesy jokes, expected unlaughable one liners. This movie also suffers from the same troubles. It started off well with the train scenes and SRK’s acts of phony bravado, but once they reached the village, the movie got slow, boring and too predictable. Deepika’s cliched accent was funny at times ( I really enjoyed the Thangabali nightmare scene ), but mostly it was annoying. I have had many Keralites and Tamilians as school friends and nobody talks like that. Deepika’s Tamilian accent was as cliched as a ‘funny English’ speaking Indian in a Hollywood movie. It doesn’t matter if a Indian is educated from Harvard and has better diction then the rest, he will always be conceived as Raj from The Big Bang Theory and his accent made fun of by his friend Howard. By the way, The Big Bang Theory is an absolutely hilarious comedy series and a definite must watch.
Songs of this movie are not exactly memorable. Except for Titli which is a sweet, melodious, romantic song, nothing is worth hummable. Unless, you’re having a party with friends and feeling rowdy, you can dance and sing-a-long to 1,2,3,4 Get On The Dance Floor, but it’s not as catchy as Chammak Challo. And what is the purpose of putting The Lungi Dance at the end of the movie, when even SRK is not wearing a lungi. I guess if you play DDLJ music, make numerous references to it through out the movie, put up Rajnikant’s picture at the end of the movie and dedicate a song to him, you expect some of the magic and good luck to rub off from both of them and ensure your chances of success for the movie. What thinking, I say. Ahhh, the contraptions running inside Rohit Shetty’s head.
Is it a Hit? Why am I even asking that for a SRK movie. And that too when it has crossed the Rs 100 crore mark in just a few days. For me it’s just passable. Nothing great or extraordinary. Just a one time watch and that too preferably at home with your money safe in your pockets.
Is it a Miss? Again, how could I ask that for a SRK movie. I didn’t mind watching it but if you’re thinking about watching it, I would say that if you decide against it then you haven’t really missed much.
But then its SRK and ek baar dekhna to banta hai, Thalaiva! (it’s worth a one time watch, Boss!). Ooops, looks like I managed to learn one Tamil word after all. LOL
So, who all liked/hated the movie? Let me know your views.
The pictures in this post have been taken from the following sources