FILM REVIEW: CHENNAI EXPRESS
CAST: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Satyaraj, Priya Mani and Kamini Kaushal
Producer: Gauri Khan, Ronnie Screwwala and Siddharth Roy Kapur
Director: Rohit Shetty
Three and half stars
What you get when you have Rohit Shetty’s flair for mindless, brainless but, nonetheless, pure entertainment, Deepika Padukone’s beauty, sex appeal and Shah Rukh Khan’s magnetic charisma on the train for Eid Special? Of course, Chennai Express. Get on the train, Baby!
Chennai Express starts with Shah Rukh Khan repeated portrayal of Rahul, a hit character and name he has been repeatedly portrayed for ages. It is cliché the way King Khan re-visits his much love and adorned character in one of the best love stories ever portrayed on the silver screen, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
Chennai Express is the story of Meena (Deepika) and Rahul (Oh! Yes! No prize for guessing, Rahul ya and not Raj this time) who meet on the iconic train and our hero ends up saving the girl and the rest you know, well theythey fall in love. I am not playing spoiler this time and if you wanna know the rest, drop in and buy the ticket (Ticket Kharidlo and jump on Chennai Express).
Has Shah Rukh Khan done justice to the role? See! There is no secret that SRK has a magnetic appeal and charisma whether on the big screen, as an awards host or on TV reality shows. It’s a delight watching Shah Rukh, the star and, ‘sadly’, he does just that in Chennai Express. SRK has been all over the place to promote the film whose co-producer is his wife, Gauri Khan. SRK’s role as Rahul is an extension of his ‘self’, the star.
Critics and objective fans will be disappointed with King Khan since amidst the hooplah and his teaming up with Rohit Shetty, more was expected from the ‘Badshah.’ Shah Rukh Khan shone in some scenes of the movie, in particular the climax and it will not be wrong to say that Deepika Padukone stole the thunder under King Khan’s nose.
Deepika Padukone is a delight to watch as Meena and she is natural in the South Indian accent. Certainly, she is the best thing about Chennai Express and proves that she has pushed the envelope further in terms of acting histrionics. It’s a pleasure to watch Deepika perform and she is at her charming best and natural playing Meena (ma). She is endearing and gave new meaning to the hotness and sexy quotient. She has re-defined the oomph factor in wearing a saree, something which only Madhuri Dixit could do perfectly. She is at her natural best in romantic, emotional and comedy scenes. Kudos to Deepika Padukone!
The film has several light moments, starting with Deepika Padukone dialogues that will be remembered for long, Kahan se kharidi aisi bakwas dictionary (rubbish dictionary), her South Indian accent and both Shah Rukh Khan and his leading lady breaking into Hindi film songs. Rohit Shetty intelligently revise the DDLJ climax with SRK standing near the door of the train and tendering his hand to his leading lady and the goons as Tujhe Dekha to yeh Jana Sanam music is played out. The film has been beautifully shot and camera angles portraying ‘Chennai Express’, the picturesque views in the South and Kanyakumari as well as the beautiful temples are a sheer delight.
What works against Chennai Express? It carries a strong South Indian flavor and at some point, one feels the movie is being dubbed in Hindi. It’s a pitfall Rohit Shetty could have easily avoided. The film also gets slow at some point especially in the first interval and since it is an all-out comedy film and the fact that Rohit Shetty teamed up with SRK for the first time, the comedy scenes could have been better and more hilarious. There is a lack of dhamaka (fireworks) considering that Chennai Express was heavily promoted all over the place, be it TV channels, reality shows and the internet. Last but not least, the heart-pounding and well-executed climax is not flawless since SRK white shirt smeared in blood bear an uncanny resemblance to the character of Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in Agneepath.
Despite the flaw, Chennai Express is worth watching for a good attempt by Rohit Shetty who welds the directional baton successfully and in a competent manner. The 100 crore director must be credited for extracting the best in Deepika Padukone as an actor. It’s Deepika’s show all the way. The way the director has executed the action scenes are commendable, especially the close-up shots. The songs are beautiful, aesthetically shot despite one or two songs are misplaced. Credit should also be given to Rohit Shetty and Shah Rukh Khan for giving the heroine’s name credit on top of the screen before the hero’s name. Full marks to SRK and hope other stars will follow suit. The movie ends with the foot tapping lungi dance where SRK and Deepika pays a fitting tribute to the most popular actor in India, Rajnikant. Had the song been played before or after interval, it would have upped the cinematic and entertaining value of Chennai Express.
Go for it! Chennai Express is worth a watch and a beautiful Eid Gift to the masses.