If watching vehicle chase sequences, cars being blown up in the air and muscled goons is your film genre of choice, then you would know that we could be talking about Rohit Shetty of the ‘Golmaal’ series fame. This time Rohit Shetty, one of the heavily critiqued film makers of the current crop for his directorial ways, has come up with Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Chennai Express’. Quite obviously, this unique combo of Shetty and Khan is enough to make one curious about their product. But once you go for it, you won’t regret watching ‘Chennai Express’, as you would have been after watching ‘Golmaal 2’ and ‘Golmaal 3’.
The journey on-screen begins with Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan back with one of his favourite screen names) on way from Mumbai to join his friends in Goa for a vacation. But at his foster grandmother’s behest, he reluctantly agrees to go to Rameshwaram to immerse the ashes of his dead grandfather. He boards Chennai Express but all his plans are foiled by a Tamilian damsel in distress – the runaway Meena – daughter of Komban village’s don Dugeshwara – who runs into Rahul accidentally while being chased by four of her brothers. Now as the story unfolds, it is revealed that Meena’s father wants her to get married against her wishes, and Rahul is supposed to be the girl’s knight in shining armour. The rest of the story is a riot of hilarious, romantic and action sequences with some interesting drama peppered and pickled in.
The Tamilian don and his henchmen (with hacking knives in hand) are shown in their full glory; as are the exotic locations down South. Seriously, cinematographer Dudley has an eye for capturing the Southern landscape in its abundance, and the breathtaking locations that one would see in ‘Chennai Express’ are going to make nature lovers fall in love with the lower reaches of the Indian subcontinent.
Crowd puller Shah Rukh Khan, in his act throughout the film, is zany, charming and at times flinching. On the other hand, Deepika’s character exudes shades of rebellion, warmth and commitment. Her Hindi with Tamil accents sounds easy on the ears, convincing and humour inducing. Together the pair’s camaraderie on the celluloid results in funny situations and makes their chemistry more compelling.
The music of the film by composer duo Vishal-Shekhar boasts of a couple of good tracks like ‘Titli’ and ‘1 2 3 4 Get On The Dance Floor’. When played on the 70mm, the background number ‘Chennai Express’ ups the excitement level. But songs like ‘Kashmir Main Tu Kanyakumari’ could have been skipped. If we think from the film maker’s perspective, the so-called unwanted songs we are talking about would have been added with the idea of putting more depth to the romance angle of the film.
One of the downsides of ‘Chennai Express’ is its predictability. As the story moves forward, the guessing game becomes easier, thereby revealing the climax of the movie. Second, like any of the previous Rohit Shetty’s films, this one too is nothing really out-of-the box or one that can qualify for awards. It is Shah Rukh Khan’s act that makes the film substantial and keeps one hooked.
That said, if you ignore the few clichés (the repetition of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ scenes and the lines that we have heard SRK speaking in his popular films), the lack of punch in the script and even the high predictability factor, then you are onboard for a fun ride with ‘Chennai Express’!
Rating: 3 stars