When 40-year-old bachelor, Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) sets out on a train, he meets the beautiful Meena (Deepika Padukone) on the run from an arranged marriage and ends up on a totally unexpected journey that makes him realize the importance of love, life, relationships and sacrifice.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This Bollywood farce, dressed in the colourful costumes of a romantic adventure with music, is an oversize comedy and a couple of hours (plus intermission) of sheer escapism. It is exuberant and it's so enthusiastically made the intermission is a welcome rest.
Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul and Deepika Padukone as Meena make a lovely warring couple as they trade insults and jokes and songs, using the confusion of the two language barrier for added effect. Although the English subtitles can't quite capture all the nuances of the humour, it's evident that some of the characters only speak Tamil, others only Hindi. A few speak both ... but for comedic effect only they know that.
The film boasts fabulous images of landscapes as the speeding train takes us through valleys and over high bridges (not everyone gets across the water) as well as plenty of close ups on the beautiful face of Padukone, who is more cheeky than demure.
There is also some innovative cinematography, notably one extraordinary shot directly in front of the express train heading into the camera, but we don't crash ... the camera appears to have entered the train at the front and keeps shooting as the train rushes 'through' us.
Song and dance are used in a variety of ways; in an early scene on the train, when Meena appears to be a hostage of four goons, she urges her newfound protector Rahul to communicate in song to disguise their escape plan. She begins by instructing him, in song, to go to the toilet. A toilet song? Surely a first.
As a measure of the film's dedication to giving us a good time, there is a lengthy chase sequence involving several cars and motorbikes that includes so many amazing stunts it could easily grace a film like Fast & Furious.
Chennai Express is not strictly my cup of tea, as it were, but it certainly does what the filmmakers set out to do, as evidenced by the giggles and laughter from the crowd behind me at one of the film's first screenings in Sydney.
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CHENNAI EXPRESS (M)
CAST: Deepika Padukone, Shah Rukh Khan, Stayaraj, Priyamani, Nikitin Dheer, Manorama, Rani Mukerji
PRODUCER: Siddarth Roy Kapur, Gauri Khan, Karim Morani, Ronnie Screwvala
DIRECTOR: Rohit Shetty
SCRIPT: Yunus Sajawal (Robin Bhatt, Farhad, Sajid, K. Subhash)
EDITOR: Steven H. Bernard
MUSIC: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Narendra Rahurikar
RUNNING TIME: 152 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Mind Blowing Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 9, 2013
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.