There’s a very strong divide between ‘class’ and ‘crass’. Shah Rukh Khan bridges the gap with total ease
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Sathyaraj, Nikitin Dheer
Director: Rohit Shetty
I was not too sure that I wanted to see the film after looking at the promos. But Venkat is an ardent fan of Shah Rukh Khan and wanted to go. I tagged along out of curiosity for the paid premiere on Thursday, August 8, 2013. That’s right! Curiosity did kill the cat. And as you can see, it has taken me four days to post the review.
Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) has been orphaned since he was eight and brought up by his grandparents. The family owns and runs a sweetmeat shop. Rahul is tied down to his grandparents till he is 40 years old and his life revolves around them and the shop. His grandfather dies on his 100th birthday. Rahul is set the task of taking the old man’s ‘asthi’ to Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. He plans to have fun with his friends in Goa instead. As his grandmother insists on taking him to the railway station to catch a train to South India, Rahul pretends to travel on Chennai Express. His life goes totally out of control from then on.
I used to adore Shah Rukh Khan – please note the past tense. He’s an excellent and versatile actor. DDLJ is my most favourite film till date. Of course, there have been some debacles – especially under the helm of Red Chillies Entertainment – such as Ram Jaane, Guddu, English Babu Desi Mein, Paheli, and Ra.One, to name a few. I personally liked Paheli, but the film was not a success.
I so wish the actor will take up interesting roles as he gets older. Chak De was an excellent film and SRK’s performance was just brilliant. If I remember right, the budget for this film was not too big and there was not too much marketing involved either.
I see a kind of desperation in the marketing tactics for Chennai Express. Is it because the content is so ‘khokla’ that it is so? Every TV channel you tune into is talking about Chennai Express, while they are trying to get Kashmir and Kanyakumari together by selling it all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole.
Yes, I also heard the news that they have crossed the 100 crore mark. Why not? Ticket rates are soaring, especially so for the Eid weekend. Everyone wants to see the film – including me – because SRK is starring in it. But does that mean I made an intelligent decision when I spent Rs. 250 for seeing this crap? Most definitely not!
I do like masala flicks – the Rohit Shetty kind – Golmaal: Fun Unlimited (only the first one in the series, mind you); Singham and Bol Bachchan were quite good. But there is a limit to which one can tolerate beefed up thugs, smashed jeeps and prolonged fight sequences. They get more ridiculous with each film.
Chennai Express takes the cake! The thugs are taller and wider with Nikitin Dheer topping the list. I wonder what kind of steroids they must be consuming to be like this. They stand around like baboons with vacant expressions, not adding an iota of value to the film.
Shah Rukh Khan insists that Rahul is all of forty years old. Why the hell does he not behave his age? Rahul’s antics suggest someone who is in Junior College. Need I say more?
The ‘kashin bradhars’ don’t understand Hindi anyway. Rahul and Meenamma (Deepika Padukone) could have comfortably conversed in the language. Why sing antaksharis and torture the audience? If they thought it was comical, they surely have another think coming. Many of the dialogues were in Tamil and then translated into Hindi. To someone like me who speaks both languages, it was prolonged agony. I am sure they could have handled it differently - maybe with captions.
I originate from Chennai and have travelled by Chennai Express at least a hundred times. I have not once noticed the scenes that unfold in the film. Yes, they are scenic, but absolutely inauthentic. Kathakali is the regional dance of Kerala; a Tamil woman wears her nose-ring on her right nostril; a guy carrying his wife up the staircase of a temple is probably borrowed from Karnataka. While Meenamma wears a nose-ring on the left, the other sequences don’t have anything to do with Chennai or Tamil Nadu. Well, these are the goof ups that I noticed. There could have been many more. Shoddy research indeed!
The final fight sequence was the extreme limit. Rahul is a ‘halwaai’ and quite small in stature. He is just a ‘common man’ as he screams to us at least 30 times during the film. He is forty. How could he fight thugs who are thrice his size just to prove his love? Bizarre!
Among all this mess, I was truly impressed with Deepika Padukone’s performance. The actress has obviously been working hard and improving her skills. She’s excellent as Meenalochani despite the stupid accent. In fact, it quite adds to her charms. And she looks gorgeous too! Kudos Deepika! You are truly a Bollywood Queen today!
I would like to believe that Shah Rukh Khan is quite bright. Did he not see the final cut of the film? Anyone with half the intelligence would have seen it for the crack-pot film that it is. The film will probably appeal the people in the slums, thanks to its slapstick humour and sickle-wielding thugs.
While SRK has grown in years, it does not appear that he has matured as an actor. If you want to do romance, do one as a fifty-year-old or have a script written for you in the lines of Amitabh Bachchan’s Cheeni Kum. Do not torture us with this kind of a stupid film.
VERDICT: Watch it at your own risk
RATING: ** Shaky (one star belongs to Deepika Padukone and none to SRK)