Directed by: Rohit Shetty
Despite all the hype around it, whenever I saw a promo or heard of song from Chennai Express, I couldn’t get excited for it. I probably went into the film having half made up my mind, but a part of me was hoping to be surprised. But no, there’s nothing in Rohit Shetty’s latest which could properly excite or thrill me.
40-year old Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) has spend his life running his grandfather’s mithai business, having no time for a life of his own. When his grandfather passes away, his friends organise a trip to Goa so he can have some fun, but he needs to scatter the ashes of his dadaji at Rameshwaram, one of the most southern points of India. To avoid having to go so far, he tries to cheat, and takes a train on his way to Goa to convince his grandmother he’s on his way there, but ends up on the Chennai Express, on which he meets Meena (Deepika Padukone), and gets involved in a situation which changes his life forever.
I’m not really a fan of Rohit Shetty’s style of cinema, in fact I’ve seen very few of his films, but I expected a Shahrukh film to be of a better standard than his usual fare. But it seems that if his films usually hit 100 crores, why change anything? That’s my main issue with the film, it is far too ridiculous for me to actually enjoy. There’s definitely an audience for it, and that’s fine, but I hope that at some point the taste of the mass audiences in India will evolve, but I guess that’s not happening yet. A lot of the jokes actually work, which makes me think comedy is definitely Shetty’s strong point, not action, or even romance. I also really enjoyed how Rahul and Meena used songs to communicate sometimes, the only bit of the film that was actually clever.
Naming SRK’s characters Rahul should either be copyrighted to Karan Johar, or banned completely from now on. It’s very strange to hear Deepika Padukone call him Rahul in a film that is nothing like K3G or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Rohit Shetty doesn’t do his directorial job as well with him, as he does with Deepika. Rahul is essentially Shahrukh himself, and not in a good way. His reaction in to certain situations, and his ability to laugh moments after being threaten to have his head sliced off seems more than a little unbelievable. All the effort Rohit Shetty didn’t put into Shahrukh (or felt he couldn’t because of his star power), he definitely put into Deepika, who’s actually very good, and believable as an South Indian. Her accent does become weaker in certain places, but she fully commits to the way of speaking.
I didn’t hate the film. I could have enjoyed it a little more with better music. The album is the most mediocre thing Vishal and Shekhar have produced in a long time. I’m usually quite excited about their albums, but this is just not good enough. The concept and story is actually pretty good, and I think executed with a little more subtlety, and without the 90s formulaic climax, I could have called Chennai Express a good film. But as it is, it’s just entertaining in parts, and definitely not for me.
Chennai Express is out now.