It 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.
Rahul (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.