Disclaimer: All characters in this film are insane and have been robbed of their sanity for most part of their allotted screen time and resemblance to any person with even slightest of astute thinking abilities is purely coincidental.
SRK, whom history will remember for creating magic in DDLJ delivered this blooper when he tried to adapt his old version of lover boy image in his old age now, as a lover boy again! As if this wasn’t enough, even the plot is the same as it was 18 years ago in DDLJ.
SRK plays the role of Rahul (who else do you think will laugh at jokes that are as old as the mummies) who at the tender age of 40 reunites with two of his insane friends (recall the disclaimer) who consider pride in giving gift to the grandson when the occasion is to celebrate the 100th birthday of his grandfather. So innocent is Rahul that he not only accepts the gift from his insane friends but also concurs with their philosophy that waters at a random beach in Goa eventually flow into the holy rivers of Rameshwaram hence it is perfectly fine to immerse the ashes (of the dead, considered as a part of last rites) in the beaches of Goa rather than travel all the way to Rameshwaram. God seemed to be the only sane character in the movie who decides to bring a twist in the life of innocent Rahul, who meets another bunch of insane people (Meenamma, the female protagonist of the film included) in a train to Chennai, Chennai Express, hence the movie name Chennai Express. Brilliant no?
Of course putting the blame of the entire blunder on such sequences would be like blaming one mortgage defaulter for the entire financial crisis of 2008. The movie would’ve ended in the 15th minute or so, had the colossus guards of Meenamma’s father cum don, who looked like African Sumos rather than guards of a don, thrown our hero out of the train just as they threw a Nokia Lumia and the TC (yes, you read that right, the TC of the train) as if they were wrappers of chocolates or peels of banana. But, no. They are ingenious people who will not only embrace the hero but also escort him to their Godfather. Why? Because its just been 15 odd minutes since the torture commenced. .
As I sat through this mess of a movie, I could see several instances that validated the insanity of Rahul as a 40 year old (for e.g. in one of the scenes he admits to it himself by saying “don’t underestimate the common of a power man” instead of “don’t underestimate the power of a common man”). But the real pain was the acumen of the Don (Meenamma’s father). So powerful is he and his army of tribal men who look like the haunted spirits of a Butt’s (ooops sorry, a Bhatt’s) flick, that his daughter has mastered the art of eloping(“bhagne mein mereko bahooot experrrience”). The real proof of his brilliance lies in his decision to choose the groom (for her daughter) based on the muscle power of the top contenders, as if she was a medallion of the Olympics.
The sheer loudness of the background score is an assault on the cochlear nerves. But this was expected out of a Rohit Shetty film. Inured to his passion for flying cars and men defying all laws of physics, setting random things on fire, escaping sequences (just to name a few of the many psychotic conjunctures), I however developed the moral fiber to sit through the running time of the film, hoping that my sanity outlasts the eloping attempts of Meenamma and Rahul.
And just when I thought that Meenamma had succeeded in her domain of expertise i.e. fleeing (with Rahul this time) in comes Rahul proving his insanity yet again by driving the car back to the den of don. Rahul aims to better the record of 7 slaps he got from Chaudhry Baldev Singh and thinks he can deliver a few more powerful lines this time and settle for a few slaps less to win the medallion (oops the girl sorry!). But sadly for him, the director of this film is not an admirer of peace like the Chopras. And wait, we haven’t given our other contender (Thungabali) a chance to prove his delusion anyways. So there you go, a few more brilliant moments of aerobic stunts, burning carts, using random articles to dislocate vital organs (a bucket in this instance), blood dropping like dollops of ice cream……before Tungabali and the don finally surrender like trapped chickens.
All in all, if you are a normal person who attains the state of sanity even at rare intervals of time, you wouldn’t want to board this train that derails so often. My faith in bollywood cinema has now shaken. Forever.