Film Review: 'Chennai Express'
Opened: 9 August 2013
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Sathyaraj, Nikitin Dheer, Kamini Kaushal, Lekh Tandon and Priyamani
Producers: Red Chillies/UTV
Director: Rohit Shetty
Our guest columnist, Sahil Jon, reviews one of the year's biggest releases, but before you jump straight into his thoughts on the madcap comedy, don't forget to check out his feature on what he initially expected from this Rohit Shetty joyride. Do you agree with him? Do let us know know what you thought of the film below.
As predicted, the story of a Mumbai man taking an unexpectedly long journey on a train was never going to be the focal point. It acted as a stimulus for the manic chemistry between SRK-Deepika, the absurd portrayal of Southern India and the stimulating action scenes. Some scenes effortlessly bought the house down and these took part mostly in the first half of the film. The entire sequence on the Chennai Express train was joyous; SRK putting his hand out DDLJ-style to welcome on crazy looking gangsters; the singing-in-speech between SRK-Deepika and the shoe-feigning are just a few examples. The madness continued strongly during the scenes at Deepika’s village, run by her intimidating father. I’d like to mention how beautifully the locations have been shot. I'm not sure how I’d feel if it was my village, my people and my language that was being so heavily mocked. However, I’d be happy at how beautiful my village has been made to look. I especially enjoyed the character of the Singh police officer, who bought some conventional relief alongside SRK. The movie lost its consistency in the second half as the focus shifted on understandably developing the love story between the central characters. That being said, some of this development seemed unnecessary. Shetty’s placement of two contrasting songs back-to-back is an example. Furthermore, SRK shouldn't be mocking iconic lines from his own movies and I understand that this is going to be an unpopular opinion but other than the aforementioned DDLJ sequence, none of the other dialogues were necessary. I can’t help but think of it as a desperate measure.
I thought SRK would struggle, I honestly did. To collaborate with a director who conventionally works with natural comedians such as Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan and the Golmaal team, I thought SRK would be found either trying too hard or simply not funny enough. I was wrong. SRK delivers one of his funniest ever performances as Rahul the ‘Halwaii’ and at times, brings the house down single-handedly. He excels in the action scenes and is a natural during the romantic ones. As some random fan tweeted, Chennai Express proves that we are all still suckers for the tearful, cheesy and loving SRK. We feel hurt when he’s getting beaten up and feel satisfied when he’s achieved. However, the star of the show was surprisingly not the King Khan for me. It was the up and coming superstar that is, Deepika Padukone. The fact that a fairly new actress - sharing screen with one of the most iconic figures in Bollywood - can steal a show the way she has is testament to her undoubted growth and abilities as an actress. Deepika nails her language proficiencies, her scenes alongside SRK and delivers a great level of emotion when required. These two look brilliant together and I can’t wait to see them work again. Sathyaraj doesn't get enough scope but both him and Nikitin Dheer look intimidating and right for the part.
The music of the movie could have been better placed, but 'One Two Three Four' and 'Titli' did well in keeping us in our seats. Chennai Express is truly a great entertainer and is the funniest movie of the year so far. The cast have done brilliantly, the locations look beautiful and the director’s work is visible throughout. Don’t take the movie seriously and once you've found you can do that, then go and enjoy this fun-filled train ride for what it is, not for what it’s not.