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What do you see in a high-budgeted romantic film? Exotic locales in Europe, candy-floss entertainment, cake-like mansions. They stood typical for an SRK romance. Now the tables turned. Don’t be surprised to see a star-studded film in rustic yet vibrant locales! Rohit Shetty’s Chennai Express is rejuvenation of his patented style and many of his previous movies cross path of this film’s narrative.
If you are an ardent fan of Telugu / Tamil cinema you realize the film doesn’t operate in alien land but tries to refine the existing one. It’s loaded with plenty of gags and stunts and shifts base from humor to romance to drama to action. At times the humor is quick-witted and at times it is forced. But the man who helmed it never gets tired of making us laugh. Hail SRK.
Shah Rukh Khan for the nth time plays Rahul. He exudes his charm and chutzpah in this funny role that borders on cheesy and emotional. He has the cojones to say he’s 40 and waiting for a twist in life. A mithaiwala who’s sick of his life wants to take a merry ride in life. He boards the train Chennai Express with a plan but that gets stalled with introduction of Deepika padukone who plays the role of a Tamizh girl Meena / Meenamma (as Rahul calls her). Some clever twists and turns force SRK into circumstances from which he can’t escape. How their love blossoms and how SRK pushes himself out of the trouble forms the rest of the story.
As every other Rohit Shetty film, this one too defies logic. He serves a commercial meal garnished with Tamil spices. At times you feel Tamil language overshadowed Hindi and you can’t stomach anymore. But that has been neutralized with awesome gigs pulled off by SRK. The latter half is replete with interspersing emotions and that surfaces the true performances of the lead pair.
In the climax, the film heavily slips into clichés. SRK speaks his heart out in a long-winded speech professing the language of LOVE. The callous stakeholders force the proceedings into a touching dishoom dishoom sequence, and finally all’s well that ends well.
It’s good to see SRK still reprising the DDLJ train scene and saying aisa mere saath bahut baar huva hai. And the crackling ones are rehashed versions of famous lines from his films – Mera naam hai Rahul. Naam tho nahi sunaa hoga. My favorite – My name is Rahul and I am not a terrorist. He is a show stealer with his mish-mash rendition of Hindi and Tamil lines. But I feel SRK is made for much bigger roles than absurd buffoonery to bring out chuckles.
Deepika is endearing in her role and hers is a hatke one compared to her previous outings. She never felt the pressure or showed restrain of working with a big co-star. In terms of her acting, this film adds another feather in her well-ornate cap. Both SRK and Deepika complement each other and fuel the comical journey. The magical moments are the ones in which they communicate through songs.
Music by Vishal-Shekar falls in the middle path of being average and above average. The songs stay for a short while and don’t bind the narrative. The title song and Titli are positioned well but others fell flat. The much touted Lungi Dance comes during the end credits. The background is good at places but as the film progresses it becomes repetitive and offers nothing new.
Expect for some amazing aerial shots of the train and canning the lush greenery of the rural side, the cinematography department didn't capitalize on the film's magnanimous template. Editing is commendable in the first half but in the second half it goes a bit out of place paving way for melodrama to seep in. These tonal shifts can be attributed to both the writing and editing. Had there been an air of balance in both the areas, the film would have been a stellar ensemble.
Chennai Express is an above average flick that rides high on the killer combo of SRK and Rohit Shetty. The production is sketchy and the plot holes earn the wrath of audience. What makes the film work is the electrifying chemistry of the lead pair and the Rohit Shetty gifted machismo to SRK. The comedy is silly yet sensible. It gets into an inventive zone staying away from being slapstick. Rather than debating on whether Chennai Express is a single-screen or a multiplex amusement, it’s better to give it a shot. It chalks out a superb entertainment trajectory.
I wanna sign-off saying, yeh picture mujhko acchi lagthi, tum log bhi dekhna, tum ko bhi acchi lagthi.