When Red Chillies Entertainment, UTV join hands with Rohit Shetty to helm a flick starring SRK teamed with Deepika Padukone, sparks are bound to fly high and across. It will not to be wrong to say that this is the most ambitious & talked about project of Rohit Shetty so far who has already become a name to reckon with as far as dishing entertainers is concerned. Hmmm i know u might have already read this prelude in lot of sites already, so I'll straight away begin the review. Chennai Express is a somewhat long ride that occasionally teeters on the edge of tedium, but it certainly isn’t all wrong. Parts of Chennai Express, propelled by a spirit of inspired lunacy that holds the no-holds-barred action comedy in good stead, is markedly better than the sum total of the film. But do hop aboard. This Express is designed for quite a crazy carousel. If you hang in there and do not allow the many distractions and diversions along the way throw you off track, you might actually find yourself getting into the swing of things, especially in the first half as the thunderous rhythm of the voyage does generate some genuinely funny gags. Chennai Express warms up pretty quickly and delivers exactly what you would expect from a Rohit Shetty film: runaway entertainment. Packaged with pickled precision, peppered with just the right doses of naughty jokes and precocious pranks that go well with Shah Rukh’s 40-year old brat’s act, Chennai Express is the kind of non-toxic comic entertainer where the most damaging double-entendres you’d get is a Tamil word that sounds like Angelina Jolie’s name.
STORY & SCREENPLAY : The story of Chennai Express has been written by K. Subhaash where as the screenplay has been penned by veteran Yunus Sajawal who have tried all the tricks available in the book to dish out a full fledged Tarrka kind of entertaining script. Although, the storyline is no great shakes but the delivery is always rambunctiously lively. Shah Rukh Khan is a sweetmeat trader’s beloved grandson. The grandpa dies just shy of turning 100. Rahul’s granny (Kamini Kaushal) requests the 40-year-old to fulfill the dead man’s last wish to have his ashes immersed in the sea off Rameswaram. Rahul takes the urn ostensibly on a trip to the South but connives with a couple of friends to head to Goa instead. Fate intervenes and his feigned trip on Chennai Express lasts much longer than he had bargained for. He bumps into Meena, who is being escorted back home by four beefy cousins after a failed attempt to flee her village. Rahul is caught in the game that the girl decides to play with her dad, Durgeshwara (Sathyaraj), in order to avoid marrying a hulky muscleman, Thangaballi (Nikitin Dheer). That brings me to another heap of hilarity that writers build so meticulously in the first-half. The generous outflow of Tamil that seems initially engaging (more so, since Shah Rukh shares our non-comprehension of the rapidfire Tamilian cloudburst that accompanies Deepika’s quicksilver character) begins to come in the way as the narration grows older and runs out of energy. But then there is the sprightly Deepika as the runaway Tamilian girl who piles on to the North Indian mithaiwala stranger to escape marrying the boorish fiancée back home in her village in Tamil Nadu. Also, there are some nice funny dialogues where-in Shah Rukh pokes a whole lot of good-natured fun at his now-aging lover-boy persona. There are tongue-in-cheek references to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and several other Shah Rukh Khan films and songs including the introductory South Indian lines from the Jiya jale song in Dil Se.
STARCAST : Coming to the performances arena, both the lead protagonist and his ladylove have given their best and have undoubtedly managed to charm the audience by giving their best shot. Chennai Express promises a superstar in all his many-splendoured glory. And it delivers Shah Rukh Khan in a guise that is 75 per cent lover boy-prankster Rahul (that is what his character is predictably called) and the remaining 25 per cent a fearless ‘common man’ who musters the strength of a hundred able-bodied men when he is pushed to a corner. Chennai Express also gives Deepika Padukone a vantage seat in the best coach and she makes the most of the opportunity. As a southern mafia don’s feisty daughter, Meena, she lays it on really thick, both in terms of accent and body language. Deepika’s diction and lingo appears a tad too labored at times, but, to her credit, she gets it right consistently. The whole-hearted zeal that Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika bring to the table and the steady flow of funny one-liners serve Shetty’s purpose well, turning Chennai Express into an elopement-against-all-odds rigmarole that hits the right buttons at most turns. Amid the flying bodies and cars that the director has a penchant for, the actors make their way through the rubble largely unscathed. Most of the screen time has been shared by these two and they have not let down the proceedings even for a moment with their brilliant performances. Nikitin Dheer as Thangabali manages to catch your attention ( not only with his hulk hogan looks) but with his acting skills also as he has played the villainous character with conviction and surprisingly his stone faced expressions have worked well as per his character. Sathyaraj (Deepika's father) as Durgeshwara Azhagusundaram (Even SRK is not able to spell his name correctly throughout the movie), has played his character with aplomb and is impressive. Mukesh Tiwari as a Tamil-speaking Sikh policeman has not been able to invoke that kind of laughter which he is capable of as his character is not that strong when compared to his earlier antics as Vasooli in Shetty's Golmaal Series.
TECHNICAL FINESSE : Undoubtedly, this is is Rohit Shetty's best piece of work as far as technical finesse is concerned. The music for this flick has been composed by the dynamic duo of Vishal - Shekhar who have dished out an average kind of an album which has got mix melodies. The cinematography by Dudley is immensely gratifying and his camera glides across capturing the plush and passionate moments with excellent finesse, hence giving your eyeballs lot of moments for optical enchantment. The movie has been edited by Steven H. Bernard who has done an exceptional job in maintaining the tempo of the movie throughout its run-time of 142 minutes. Rohit Shetty, who obviously does not have any patience for half measures, goes full tilt at the resources at his disposal and rustles up an action-packed culture-clash comedy that has crowd-pleaser emblazoned all over it. The director throws dollops of good-natured drollery into the thrills-and-spills blender and comes up with a movie that has all the tried-and-tested ingredients of the genre that he has made his own. Rohit Shetty is more in command of his canvas here than in his last comedy Bol Bachchan. Here the self-deprecatory laughter is good enough to raise guffaws.
WOW MOMENTS : Towards the beginning of the train journey when Deepika and Shah Rukh play a kind of antakshari of Hindi film songs to put the goons off her trail is hilarious. There’s a wonderfully-shot sequence where Shah Rukh has to carry Deepika to a temple over hundreds of steps. Deepika here goes from amusement and mockery to a sense of belonging and pride in her man’s arms. It’s a moment built with care and love.
CONCLUSION : The mirthful quotient of Chennai Express lies in its humor, wit, emotional content and superb chemistry of its lead pair which has been played with conviction. The movie has Love, action and laughs which has been cleverly packaged by Rohit Shetty in his own imitable Ishtyle. This is a journey which can be definitely relished by the whole family comprising members of all age groups.
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