Chennai Express: Rantings of an Indian Cine-goer

Chennai ExpressIt all started in 2009 with Salman Khan’s Wanted and from then EID has never been the same. Eid in India means the audience needs to keep their brain and whole nervous system at home to enjoy such films. This year Bhai seems to have mercy on us, but then his bête noire ShahRukh Khan seems keen to replace him.

Rohit Shetty’s debut film was Zameen which was a fictionalized account on Kandahar Hijacking in which Indian Army bashes up Pakistani terrorists and Army. The film did average Business, and still does very well whenever it is on TV. Rohit Shetty again teamed up with Ajay Devgan for an out and out comedy film Golmaal which for me still remains the best Rohit Shetty movie. Golmaal hit the bull’s eye at Box Office and Rohit shifted from action drama to comedy. Golmaal was inspired by Malayalam slapstick comedy Kakkakuyil directed by Priyadarshan. He followed this with Sunday, this time an official remake of Telugu film Anukokunda Oka Roju and this time the film did not do well at Box Office. But for Diwali in the same year he released Golmaal Returns, sequel to Golmaal which did extremely well at Box Office. If you are thinking if Golmaal Returns was inspired, you are right and the inspiration came in the form of an old Hindi film Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar. Rohit followed this up with All the Best which was again inspired from an American play, Right Bed Wrong Husband . He followed this with his next Diwali Release Golmaal 3 which again did very well and was inspired by Hindi Film Katha Meetha. Rohit Shetty then made Singham, the official Remake of Tamil Hit Singam, which become a monstrous hit. He once again returned to his comic roots with Bol Bachchan last year which was an official remake of the original Golmaal.

To cut a long story short, Rohit takes a story from previously released movies and depending on his mood he buys the right to movie. He then proceeds to add his own masala, which includes car chases, over the top gags which involves making fun of Bollywood films, especially Sanjay Leela Bhansali films like Black in Golmaal 1, Saawariya in Golmaal Returns. The fun does not stop at films, it include making fun of homosexuals, disabled people and much more, given that such gags can go wrong Shetty always has managed to walk the tight rope and somehow got it right so far. Remember the scene in Golmaal 1, where he mocked the rape scene of Bollywood. Or the insider jokes like when Shreyas Talpade says in Golmaal Returns they are not wastrels like Farhad and Sajid who were the writers of the same film and constant partner of Rohit Shetty’s films. In Chennai Express Rohit Shetty inserts a joke about 4 G and 5 G, I guess this must be in reference to co-producer Karim Morani, an accused in 2g Scam. Another important feature in his films was Bromance between his lead characters in Golmaal Series and All the Best. He always had ensemble supporting cast members with some really memorable characters; remember Johnny Lever in All the Best, Paresh Rawal in Golmaal or Sanjay Mishra in All the Best.

Rohit’s latest film Chennai Express starts with a screaming SRK in soiled and bloodied white shirt.Now who would have thought the person who symbolized romance for a generation of Indians would feature in action mode sequence in opening scene for his film. As they say desperate time calls for desperate measure, a friend of mine (and a MAM author) messaged me saying SRK tries to be Salman and Aamir all at one go. Sadly this mixed Bhelpuri is not good for our cinema stomach. The basic thread of plotline is inspired from Malayalam Super hit film Thenmavin Kombath.

Rohit Shetty's Chennai Express give my money backRahul (Shah Rukh Khan) is 40 year old something for a change, last year he was 25 Year old in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, nothing new for Bollywood if you see Aamir Khan had played an 18 year old few years ago. Most Indian stars do not like to play roles which are suited to their age. Even Shah Rukh was rumored to play a college boy in the film Adaptation of 2 States, thank God better sense prevailed. Rahul has been raised by his Grandparents since age of 8, when his parents died in a car accident. The introductory scenes accompanied by SRK’S monologue are fresh and the scenes between him and his paternal grandfather (Lekh Tandon) are good. When did you see Shah Rukh Khan last time on screen where he did not like his grandparents, he has always been the obedient son or grandson on screen. After the death of his grandfather, his grandmother tells him that he should go to Rameshwaram to immerse the ashes of his grandfather. If you think as Rahul is super rich, given the size of his bungalow and Business Empire he will fly to Rameshwaram, you are wrong he as chooses to travel by Indian Railways in second class sleeper .If you ask why, then this is Bollywood Eid Release and name of the film is Chennai Express.I Should have known the movie would nosedive, when they inserted the Bhaiyaji Joke, inspired by Aamir Khan’s Cola advt.

His plan is to hoodwink his grandmother, instead of going to Rameshwaram, he plans to go to Goa .If you are wondering why the urgency to go to Goa, do not care and even film makers of this movie did not care, as in the previous scene his grandmother says Rahul can do whatever he wants. Things do not go as planned; he has the DDLJ train moment for some 4 times in one minute. This is the only laugh worthy moment in the whole film. Rahul is kidnapped by Meenamma’s (Deepika Padukone) cousins, again no reason for this kidnapping. Of course now you must be wondering why the hell Deepika who is running from Chennai will board a train which exactly takes her to Chennai, hey even the film makers do not have clue. Rohit Shetty’s gag related to films are always what make his film enjoyable, be it gag on Black in Golmaal or Saawariya in Golmaal Returns. In this case, Rahul and Meena communicate by singing Hindi Songs, which induces a few laughter, but when this joke is stretched beyond a point during whole film, you wish they stop singing.

On reaching Meenamma’s village (read Priyadarshan Village) she tells her father that she is in love with Rahul. Then a series of events take place, which include bike chase, car chase and in between Rahul finds himself in International Waters. Interestingly how does Border Police leave him without even verifying his documents? Or why cannot Rahul remember even one landline number? Many such questions will haunt you, but answers to these questions are harder than answers to question like which came first, Hen or Egg.
Deepika Padukone speaks in an accent, which no South Indian in this Country speaks, it is not Tamil for sure, and why does not Bollywood hire a tutor on set who can look after actor’s Diction and pronunciation. If the film makers claim they do not want to offend any community, why don’t they do some research or is too much to ask from our makers of Chennai Express. Of course it is too much, when it is accepted that whole village should sing a Hindi Song, because one guy in whole village cannot understand the local language Tamil.

In the second part of the film, we have a village where people speak Tamil as they do in Palghat which is not even part of Tamil Nadu, hey but when the makers treat whole of South India just as one whole piece,(SRK’s says in the movie Koi Bhi South India jaanewali Train) you just cringe. Music has never been a strong point in Rohit Shetty’s films, but it has been in SRK’s films. Of course his last film had ARR’s weakest music. The music here is passable and in second half the placement of songs harms the pace of the film. The VFX of the film is so bad, that all those scenes in Train and Jeep looks so bad, that even an amateur eye can say the vehicle is not moving.

I never thought I would say this, but Deepika steals the thunder from SRK in every scene, she is the only redemption in this film. Tamil Actor Sathyaraj is wasted in an inconsequential role. Shah Rukh Khan resorts to squeaking, making duck faces in name of comedy along with his liberal dose of hamming which he does in every film. In between he promotes Nokia Lumia, and Pepsi. Oh yes he flashes his now famous dimples, and cries in second half, but as cinegoers we are bored of camera focusing on his dimples, give us a story. Rohit Shetty’s films always had good supporting cast, in this case the focus is on SRK and he is unable to carry the film on his shoulders.

If you look at brighter side it is very good, as ShahRukh Khan has never been good with Bromance remember the awkward chemistry between Anil and SRK. Whoever designed costumes of Deepika please tell me, in which part of Tamil Nadu females wear lungis while sleeping. SRK and Rohit Shetty pay tribute to SUPERSTAR Rajnikanth by lifting a scene from his film Muthu, giving a whole new meaning to Tribute. The villain Nikitin Dheer is supposed to speak in Tamil, but whatever he speaks will be incorrigible for most Tamilians. What was funny is Rahul’s speech about women emancipation in climax, I mean this comes right after he announces he wants to marry Meenamma in front of public and does not even bother to ask her consent, so much for female power. Also isn’t it Duplicitous to talk about women emancipation when they introduce the female character of the movie with her Chest heaving? Of course the movie does not stereotype South Indians is what SRK says,we should have known better- this coming from a man who endorses  fairness Cream to brown skinned Indians which basically states Indians can not move ahead because of our Pigmentation.If you thought Makers of Chennai Express would stop at Stereotyping of South Indians,you are wrong.The makers also think only two words Marathi People speak as in most Bollywod Films are Aaicha Gho and Nanachi Tang.

When you thank your stars as soon the climax is over, you are supposed to endure a song which is tribute to SUPERSTAR RAJNKIKANTH, which for some reason has to do with South Indians only wearing Lungi, not Veshtis or Kasava Mundu. Dear Sarook and Honey Singh we call SUPERSTAR Thailavaar and not Thailavaa, oh never mind you must be drinking Nariyal pani with Lassi while writing this song.

Do not board this Chennai Express, go rewatch Rohit Shetty’s earlier films which will guarantee you laughs.

P.S. This is not a review, this is just anger and frustration of being disappointed by watching Bollywood films which neither have entertainment nor Logic.

P.S.S – I can’t keep my brains at home to enjoy movies.



18 thoughts on “Chennai Express: Rantings of an Indian Cine-goer

  1. and u just contributed to the revenue of the film by buying a ticket to watch it. theu rant about it manking 100 cr. y cant u ppl just boycott such films.

  2. Ok now that you’ve brought it all out let me just share my thoughts too. At the outset the film is not perfect, far from it in fact. The film is not accurate @ many places. Forget bout Komban gaon & Vidamba gaon being fictional but the villages are all designer & you wonder if its T.N or Kerala as suddenly you see Tea Estates and rivers close by. Also the accent of Deepika and Nikitin Dheer is definitely not even half as good as it should be, they could have taken care of it as suggested by you. Or instead of Nikitin Dheer taken some South actor like Riyaz Khan, Subbaraju, Ajay, Adithya etc who would have sounded authentic.
    But then accuracy & eye for details was never Rohit Shetty’s forte and I have stopped expecting all that from his films. I may not have answers to a lot of questions & points raised by you here but will attempt to share some thoughts on some of them in my next comment.

    • I do not except accurate Details, but basic research.The scene where Deepika does Nagavali act,from Malayalam Movie Manichitratazhu.I am assuming the Makers decided that sab South India ek hai,ek malayalam picture ka bhi scene daal do.

  3. 1. Rahul is kidnapped by Meena’s protectors as he is the witness to their act of dumping the Ticket examiner from the train & they do not want him to complain to the police. This is clearly mentioned in the film.
    2. Agreed its tough to accept that someone cannot remember even a single mobile/landline number but then I take it as a reference to the fact in the earlier days we would pride upon the fact that we remember so many numbers while now if one loses a phone for example we feel so lost without any contacts. SRK even mentions this fact in a voiceover.
    3. Regarding the 1 2 3 4 song, the whole village does not sing in Hindi. Priyamani plays an item girl & for an item girl to know multiple languages is something quite normal & possible. The rest of the villagers in fact continue to sing in Tamil throughout the song (listen to the chorus carefully).
    4. In the second half its not typical Palakkad accent- the Palakkad Tambrahm accent can be found in films like Michael Madhana Kama Rajan for example. But yes the people in Vidamga goan appear to be Brahmins & speak a slightly refined language- something like what you’ll find in the Cauvery belt.
    5. Are you trying to say SRK and Saif did not exhibit wonderful bromance in Kal Ho Na Ho or that SRK and Salman did not get it right in Karan Arjun?I beg to differ from you on this.
    6. SRK in the climax portion declares to the village that he loves Deepika, he never declares that he wants to marry her. In fact he very clearly asks for her consent- a fact you’ve not noticed or choose to ignore completely.
    7. The entry scene of Deepika was basically to act as a homage to DDLJ in a humorous manner & we see her running to catch the train. There was no attempt to focus the camera on her heaving bosom & give it a sexual tinge- surprised that you even think of it this way.
    8. The makers of the film are not the writers of the film & hence do not blame them for any dialogue used. The Marathi words mentioned by you were used in particular by Deepika to shock SRK by showing she knows Marathi as well. The words thus used were to bring about shock value & hence that’s what happened.

    At the end of it all can you tell me what was your expectation from the film when you say that you can’t keep your brains @ home to enjoy movies, were you expecting a World Classic?

  4. 1- What is the need for them to Kidnap SRK,if he saw they can also push him outside train.once they are into TN the police seems to be on their side,so no sense in Kidnapping him.

    2-One may feel one is lost, but if one can not remember one phone number,that is far fetched.

    3-Now we have Multi-lingual Item Girl,even if she knew Hindi, her audience is full of Tamil people.This is like speaking in French in New York, just because you have one french.This is Attitude of North Indians that everyone should speak Hindi,is downright Unacceptable.

    4- It is not Palakkad accent, but Palakkad Tam Bram accent, what does that mean.

    5- Yes, totally flat in Kal Ho na Ho, Bromance is what Aamir- Salman did in AAA or Amitabh -Sashi in Deewar.

    6- He says I love You, He asks will you marry me after the fight i did not see any scene in which he asks her consent.

    7-Well,you should see the scene again,We as audience tired of this DDLJ homage.

    8- When i say makers i am saying the whole team, if you are saying writers have no point in making of this films i disagree,I am sure the Director and Actors knew what they were mouthing.It does not bring any shock value to the movie.

    9- My expectation was to have a good time like Golmaal 1,or comedy movies like Coolie No 1.

    Yes whenever i spend money i except world class and not bad movies.

    • 3. Before the item song begins the guys actually keep making fun of SRK saying that kal woh halaal hone wala hai etc (all in Tamil) & they ask Priyamani to sing in Tamil just to humour him.
      4. The Palakkad accent you are referring to is nothing but what is spoken by Tam Brahm’s hailing from Palakkad & that’s not the accent used in 2nd half of the film.
      5. Kal Ho Na Ho worked mainly due to the bromance, if you do not agree- then I disagree with you.
      6. When he asks will you marry me doesn’t it mean he is asking for her consent? Pray what else does it mean otherwise?It’s totally different from what you have written.
      7. In fact it is is you who should see the scene again- you do not represent the audience @ large. You are the only one who pointed out chest heaving etc- so you were focused on it & not others.
      8. It is not shock value to the movie, it is shock value to SRK i.e Rahul. Please read what I’ve written carefully.

      If you expected a World Class movie from Chennai Express then I have nothing more to argue or discuss because your expectation itself was wrong.

  5. 3-What are you trying to say,did i mention they spoke in Hindi.My problem is with the song being in Hindi when only one man in entire village can understand the language. The Bollywood Attitude of Hindi Being Superior than other language and whole world should speak Hindi is what i am against.We have so many Malayalam Films and Tamil films where when the character comes to Mumbai, the item number are in Hindi, instead of Tamil or Malayalam.
    5- Kal ho na haa was never BROMANCE, makers were intelligent to add gay overtones to the realationship between SRK and Saif. The Bromance in AAA,Sholay or Main Khiladi Tu Anari are much better.
    6- He asks at the end, you declare love for someone in public with out even asking the person,this patriarchal attitude of Bollywood needs to condemned,did she mention to him she want to get married, heck she may some ambitions in life other than getting married.
    7-Are you representative of large section of audience, no i would watch this film again over my dead body.
    8- Why the need for shock value to SRK, even if it was shock value for SRK, for section of Audience it is stereotyping, why not speak any other Marathi wordS.

  6. Ya review tha ya Bhag milkha bhag… khatam hi nahi ho raha tha.

    U have been harsh on the makers. I feel that the movie has to be reviewed keeping the genre in mind. If you are the Ship of Theseus kind of fella, then you should review only those kinda movies. No doubt you have the right. But would you do justice to the film you are reviewing.

    • I am all for shorter review, as i have mentioned this was not a review. I do Enjoy Art films, but i do equally enjoy David Dhawan Films, as long as they keep me entertained and emotionally Invested,which sadly is not the case with this movie.

  7. Hi all, Saw the comments and thought I would add on a few. I agree with the comments written above that the people who speak Hindi consider it superior and even have an attitude that they are doing a great favour to south Indian languages, by speaking words such as ‘konjam and korachhu’ . When south Indians dub for hindi movies they take much care to pronounce it the way a native would speak, but i feel that not half so much effort is taken by the non-tamilians in the movie. The point is that u cannot affect the sensitivity of a person. I feel that the people in India have very poor geographical knowledge…anything under Maharashtra is a Madrasi and anything above that is Delhite or Mumbaikars..come on, are we doing enough justice to all the varied languages and cultures in each state of our country. if we are going to take pride in the variety and myriad colours our country exhibits then let us portray it in its true essence. A doctor would not like any medical term to be used flippantly in movies or any mass media, because the message reaches faster….please movie makers do some research in any field be it language, medicine, software or whatever you are doing so that it does not hurt the sensitivity of the respective population and also the movie carries the full essence.
    I agree that this movie is not a serious movie, but lisping a bad pronounciation and calling that a humour does not go well with many who speak the language in a chaste manner…Tamil, Malayalam, telugu, kannada, tulu and all other south Indian languages can survive on its own and does not require any extra effort which creates nothing but negative impact. thanks.

    • Thanks, yes as you have Rightly pointed out Bollywood does not take pain to understand nuances of Different South Indian Culture,instead what it does currently is treat whole of South India as one entity.

    • Hi Indian,

      I agree with you. We will take your services next time, when we make movies that use South Indian Culture.

    • I agree with the comments of Indian. I hope Sharkukh Ji takes some of the input of you when he makes the film next. The last 2 movies of his has one or otherway, some tamil song or tamil words…may be he being a south indian, he wants to ensure that he helps it growing. i’m sure he will take the inputs of yours and use Korachu or Konjam properly

  8. Indian, would not too much of the local infusion turn off the majority viewers. For example I steer clear of all punjabi songs, simply because I dont understand the lyrics. Even those Hindi songs which include sonio, todda, mahiye, etc

    When South Indian movies are dubbed they dont take much trouble to “integrate”, rather just translate.

    So both movie makers keep the majority viewership in mind

    • Hi agreed…but even if the few words spoken are not even closer to the original form, won’t the person who speak that tongue feel offended. It is not language fanaticism, it is just that we should try to speak whatever language we speak even 1 or 2 words, let it be at least closer to the original. For example, instead of saying ‘namaste’ you hear a person saying ‘namushthae’ won’t it be jarring in your ears, would you feel comfortable? Idea is not to include a huge dialogue in that tongue, but to pronounce it properly. We have heard playback singers who have to sing a totally different language, take efforts to get the correct accent and the meaning so that they can render the song with its full meaning…hope the point is clarified. This is not to offend anybody’s sentiment, but we should know how we can give out a better performance in any given area.

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