The ApunKaChoice movie review of 'Chennai Express'. Try as hard as one might, it’s not possible to keep Shahrukh Khan’s comical antics from rubbing off on you. When in form, the actor can be a riot. And in Chennai Express he’s in a roaring form, perhaps his funniest self to date. Add to that Deepika Padukone’s wonderfully droll Tamil accent and director Rohit Shetty’s brand of unbridled entertainment and action, and you have a two-hour-twenty-two minute joyride all the way, a few ouch-inducing bumps notwithstanding.
Chennai Express is a film tailor-made to tickle you at all the right places with whatever masala the story writer K Subhash, screenwriter Yunus Sajawal and Rohit Shetty find handy to sprinkle. They recreate the famous DDLJ platform scene when Shahrukh Khan gives a helping hand to Deepika Padukone to come aboard the moving train. They mock it by adding four beefy, shabby, bulldozers of goons who take the similar favour from our do-gooder hero one after another, and, after coming aboard, take him hostage.
Our hero Rahul (SRK) is a 40-year-old single man whose 99-year-old grandfather has kicked the bucket just shy of hitting a century. Rahul is packed off by his grandmother to immerse the deceased old man’s ashes at Rameswaram right at the edge of south India. He, however, has other plans: to go on a vacation to Goa with his friends. But all the best laid plans go haywire with the entry of the feisty Meena Lochini (Deepika Padukone), the bringer of nonstop troubles in Rahul’s cushy life. Thereafter, Rahul is held hostage in the train Chennai Express, taken to Kumbun village where Meena’s father (Sathyaraj) is the much-feared don with a dedicated bunch of machete wielding, dreadful looking goons.
There’s no end to Rahul’s troubles and he escapes from one bad situation to land into another worse one, until Meena, the magnet of all his misfortunes, becomes the object of his affection.
Director Rohit Shetty packs the film with gags aplenty, and some of them -- like Shahrukh Khan’s choked voice protestations against his oversized oppressors -- are genuinely funny. But some -- like SRK and Deepika communicating through songs -- aren’t as hilarious.
The film has a good share of Tamil dialogues some of which are translated by Deepika’s character Meena, but those that aren’t don’t put a viewer at a loss. The meaning is implied by the situations to which they are set. That’s one clever bit by Rohit Shetty. Caution is also taken to not paint the south Indians in a bad light by offsetting all the scumbags of Kumbun village with the genial folk of another village that welcome the eloping hero and heroine with open arms.
Chennai Express wouldn’t be half as good without the spirited performances by Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. If he is a consummate jokester with all those stutters, stammers and chokes, she overplays her thick Tamil accent to a right effect. Sathyaraj is convincing as the overbearing but stoic father of the heroine, and so is Nikitin Dheer as the seven-foot hulk who wants to marry Meena, and cut Rahul into little pieces.
The stunts and action, choreographed by Rohit Shetty himself, are good, particularly a car chase through the crowded Kumbun village. Music by Vishal-Shekhar throws a few catchy melodies. What Chennai Express could have done well without are a few pointless sequences (like one on SRK and a midget) to cut short its running time to under two-and-a-half hours.
Yet, one doesn’t find much to sniff at in Chennai Express. The film is a rip-snorting entertainer with some good gags, catchy songs and a riotous Shahrukh Khan having a field day with a sporty, gorgeous Deepika.