Director Rohit Shetty’s Chennai Express, an action comedy, featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles is out today. So what happens when the king of action comedy meets the king of romance? Well, what are you waiting for… let’s find out.
The movie starts off with Rahul (Shah Rukh) going into flashback mode starting from the time of his birth, going on to narrate how his parents died and how he has been brought up by his grandparents, especially an eccentric grandfather who doesn’t let him get into a relationship. However, said granddad dies on his 100th birthday leaving Rahul free to go on his much anticipated all boys trip to Goa and live his life as he desires all at the grand age of 40.
But unfortunately for our hero, there is once again a roadblock – his granny (Kamini Kaushal) wants him to immerse grandpa’s ashes in Rameswaram, which is nowhere close to Goa. So Rahul lies to granny saying he will do the needful but all the while he plans to scatter the ashes in the tourist infested waters of Goa so that the ashes float down to Rameswaram. But does life ever go the way we plan it? Nope. Granny comes to leave him at the station and Rahul hops onto the first train he gets a ticket for and yup, you guessed it, it is the infamous Chennai Express! Enter the heroine, Meenamma running in slo-mo towards the train as it starts with our hero standing at the doors… and of course, a la Dilwaale Dulaniya Le Jaayenge, he grabs her hand and pulls her in just like he does the four goons who are after her. And from here on folks, unfolds the kahaani of Chennai Express…
Chennai Express is essentially a rom-com, a masala entertainer and when Rohit Shetty is at the helm of affairs, what can be expected? Yes, it is replete with comedy, drama, romance and action but all of these are so over-exaggerated, so over the top that they tend to grate on the nerves. Chennai Express has all the brightness, colours, grandeur, gloss and scale associated with a Rohit Shetty film but the comedy is totally nonsensical and the jokes which are of the SMS variety fall flat because you have heard them before. At most places you find yourself laughing not because the sequence is funny but because you can’t believe you are watching this inane tripe.
There are lashings of inane silly humor and yes it is a Rohit Shetty film but there is some substance to be expected. There is no content, no story to speak of! One essential thing that kills Chennai Express for the Hindi speaking audience is that it seems to have more Tamil than Hindi dialogues and for a Hindi film that does not bode well… at the end of the day, the audience are going to watch a Hindi film not a Tamil film. Its self-deprecating humor also gets a bit too much. As you sit through the first half disbelieving of the fact of the nonsense you are watching, you just hope the film redeems itself in the second half. Having said that, there are a couple of scenes like the one where Meenamma is talking in her sleep or in the second half when Rahul and Meena are conversing by singing Hindi songs that make you laugh.
Shah Rukh Khan adds his own sensibility to Shetty’s style but looks a little out of place especially as he ends up looking like he is reprising the role of the 20-year-old Raj from DDLJ and not a 40-year-old from Chennai Express. However, he does retain his charming persona and charisma. He seems to have enjoyed his role and is totally in his element. Deepika Padukone enjoys her ‘Tam-Bram’ character to the hilt, looks pretty and one must say is very good. Tamil actor Sathyaraj as Deepika’s father also proves himself with his unmistakable aura of authority. Niketan Dheer does well. It is a delight to see veteran actress Kamini Kaushal on screen.
The background music is dramatic and complements the film. Chennai Express is shot very prettily by Dudley and action by Jai Singh Nijjar and Rohit Shetty is all that you expect from the director.
Shah Rukh and Rohit should not underestimate the power or the sensibilities of the common man. If you are making an Eid offering at least make it palatable! Seems like SRK is trying every trick in the book and is now scraping the bottom of the barrel in trying to get a hit.
No, one did not go in expecting to see cinematic brilliance or a piece of art but it is amazing that stupidity could be portrayed so well on the big screen. If not compelling, Chennai Express certainly has a fun and silly quotient to it and for that we give it a 1.5 stars.
While there’s little doubt that Chennai Express will open well at the box office, cashing in on the Eid weekend, what remains to be seen is whether it will go the Himmatwala or the Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani way from there.