Chennai Express movie review by Variety: Shahrukh Khan not at his best!

Mon, August 12, 2013 8:00pm UTC by 14 Comments
Chennai Express movie review Variety

Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone are ill matched in this overworked film

The humour is pretty one-note in Rohit Shetty’s comedy/romance/actioner Chennai Express. Cast as a sheltered 40-year-old suddenly thrust into multiple perilous situations, superstar Shahrukh Khan repeatedly reacts with craven cowardice and flashes of false bravado; though played for laughs, his behavior comes across more as moral laxity than hilarious evasiveness. It doesn’t help that co-star Deepika Padukone is so likable as the rebellious daughter of a Southern don, rendering the antipathy between their characters somewhat gratuitous.

This North-South culture-clash laffer set an opening-day BO record in India with US$1.1 million (beating the previous champ, 3 Idiots), but elsewhere, its popularity may depend on audiences’ willingness to wait two hours for Khan to transform into his heroic self.

Forty-year-old Rahul (Khan) has been at the beck and call of his beloved sweetshop-owning grandfather. When the old man dies and Rahul is tasked with scattering the ashes in Rameshwaram, he decides instead to join his feckless friends in pursuit of pleasure in Goa. He takes the Chennai Express to mislead his grandmother, planning to disembark at the next station.

But fate intervenes in the form of the beauteous Meena (Padukone), a southern don’s daughter desperately trying to escape marriage to a neighboring crime lord, with four of her father’s oversized goons in hot pursuit. Rahul helps her onto the moving train, then all four of her chasers, much to Meena’s disgust.

Taken prisoner by these mammoth minions armed with scythes and guns, Rahul becomes a terrified wreck, cowering in the overhead luggage rack. He’s escorted into the village of Meena’s father (Satyaraj), where he understands not one word of Tamil, while none of the swarthy villagers speak any Hindi. Indeed, linguistic confusion forms the basis for many of the film’s comic misunderstandings; Meena, or “Miss Subtitles”, as Rahul ironically dubs her, proves the only major character who speaks both languages.

Unwittingly agreeing to fight Meena’s pumped-up, 7-foot-tall intended (Nikitin Dheer), Rahul spends most of the film trying to escape the battle in a variety of high-speed, Shetty-patented, maximum-collision chases, both with and without Meena, whom Rahul alternately abandons or reluctantly includes. A pastoral interlude at a quaint waterside community grants the couple some relatively believable tender moments, while their ongoing conflicts grow increasingly artificial as the film progresses. (Meena’s transformation into a demonic attacker reps a particularly egregious bit of business.)

Shetty’s need to maintain his characters’ romantic heroism constantly grates against his depictions of their ridiculousness. Rahul’s moral redemption under the influence of love tends to dominate the film, draining much of the comic enjoyment from characters who are either overdrawn (in the case of Rahul) and underdrawn (in the case of Meena).

Khan’s dynamic dance moves, very much on display in the energetic One two three four get on the dance floor number, are given less of a workout than one might wish in the film’s folkloric musical set-pieces, which appear more extraneous to the action than usual. Indeed, at one point during a particularly lavish sequence, isolating the prancing leads from the mass of clashing colors that surrounds them feels like an exercise in “Where’s Waldo?”

ALSO READ:

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  • Anum

    get over it ! the film is a super hit … salman khan ki her bekwaas movie ki tareef hoti hai. us beychaarey ki ho gayi hai hit tu peechay per gayey hain saarey .

    • sk shakil ali

      bakwaas film hai, jaida tarif mat karo…

      Salman Khan k movie k tahra movie nai kar sakta hai shahrukh..

      Even i am fan of shahrukh, but agar shahrukh ra-one or CE ka jaisa movie banayega tho band bhi ho jayega…

  • prasanta

    nice crecktar paducon

  • naaz

    The movie is a blockbuster. Reviews like these only accentuate the lack of knowledge of certain so called critics. Pity you.

  • naaz

    Biased review.

  • prince

    Hi there,

    Plz review urself 1st how u became a critic , may be ur choices r like son of sardar, khiladi 786, dabang 2, ready, bodyguard, talaash (ending copied of 6th sense ) plz plz dont review movie until 1st weekends or atleast ask few audiences for theie review tthey will give u much better review

  • srinu

    this type of story better handled by a telugu or tamil director poor direction

  • tobi

    Dear bollywood life, kahase hire karte ho yesa “Boakwaas” critic?

  • Sohail khan

    nice movie ;really awesome;watched srk 1st time in this look;it is a BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE

  • MANOJ KUAMR

    yaarr m so impress by kind of bolly wood his is the one man of the bollywoods kind of forever n ever i love u dude time mile to ek call kr lena srk 9899846629

  • anil

    watch new movies and Live cricket at mastipress.com

    watch Live cricket at mastipress.com

  • anurudh

    one of the best boring movie

  • Kate

    He put on so much make up to cover all his lines. Yucks

  • Abhishek Masih

    CE ne to sabki band baja di, Real King Of KINGS ki wapsi ho gai hai aur SRK sabhi ki bolti band kr dega


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