Star cast: Rituparna Sengupta, Kiran Jhanjani, Divya Dutta, Yashpal Sharma.

Plot: Rituparna is career-minded and so she doesn’t want a child now, but her husband, Kiran, is keen to have a child. They go in for a surrogate mother, Divya Dutta.

What’s Good: Performances of Rituparna Sengupta and Divya Dutta.

What’s Bad: The story, the screenplay, the narration.

Verdict: Life Express is, frankly speaking, quite lifeless!

Loo break: Plenty! The story moves at a snail’s pace, so you won’t miss much.

Sky Motion Pictures’ Life Express (UA) is about motherhood and surrogate motherhood. Tanvi (Rituparna Sengupta) and Nikhil (Kiran Jhanjani) live in Bombay and have been married for three years. Nikhil wants a child but Tanvi, fiercely career-minded, thinks that her pregnancy will come in the way of her career. At her workplace, she is doing very well for herself and doesn’t want to ruin it all by getting pregnant.

Yet, one day, she realises that she is pregnant. She aborts the child, much to husband Nikhil’s shock. It is then that Nikhil thinks of hiring the services of a surrogate mother who would carry their child in her womb for nine months. Enter Gauri (Divya Dutta), a kind-hearted poor lady from rural India. Since she and her husband, Mohan (Yashpal Sharma), have fallen upon bad times, Gauri is willing to lend her womb to bear the child, for a fee. What happens thereafter is revealed in the last part of the film.

The problems with Anup Das’s story are too many. For one, it doesn’t strike a chord in the audience’s heart. Secondly, it takes too long to come to the point. Thirdly, the emotional aspect of motherhood just doesn’t come through so that the drama progresses without involving the viewer. Mandira Chakraborty and Shailendra Tyagi’s screenplay is weak, to say the least. The scenes leading to the surrogate mother stepping in are so long and so repetitive that the whole plot loses steam after a point of time. For a script of this kind, the emotional appeal should have been very strong but the unfortunate part is that there is not even a hint of emotions. Even the ending is hurried; the audience expects to at least see the child in the hands of mother Tanvi. Dialogues (Chakraborty and Tyagi) are routine.

Rituparna Sengupta acts very well. Kiran Jhanjani does an average job. Divya Dutta is excellent, as always. Yashpal Sharma also shines. Alok Nath, Nandita Puri, Vijayendra Ghatge, Dayashanker Pandey and Anjan Shrivastav lend able support.

Anup Das fails to impress as director just as he does not make any mark as story writer. Music (Roop Kumar Rathod) is quite melodious but there are too many songs, which break the flow of the drama or whatever there is of it! Lyrics (Shakeel Azmi) are fair. Song picturisations are commonplace. Raja Narayan Deb’s background score is dull. Anil Chandel’s camerawork is okay. Editing (Sanjib Dutta) leaves something to be desired.

On the whole, Life Express is quite a lifeless enterprise. At the box-office, it will go completely unnoticed. As it is, it has taken a dismal start owing to lack of face value and horrifyingly poor promotion!

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