Rating: 2.5/5 stars (Two-and-a-half stars)
Star cast: Leander Paes, Jimmy Shergill, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Puja Bose, Sudhanshu Pandey, Gulshan Grover, Sayali Bhagat, Achint Kaur.
What’s Good: An intriguing narrative and well bound story.
What’s Bad: Lacks logic at many crucial points in the film and loose acting by many at large.
Loo break: One (You need the interval to digest in the first half)
Watch or Not?: If social dramas interest you, don’t miss this one. It is good for its subtlety in delivering a message which is quite loud in character. Given the present social scenario, this film will entice one to think about the current state of affairs in our nation. This film makes for a decent one time watch.
Following the vein from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti, this film follows the lives of four passengers traveling from New Delhi to Mumbai in a first class compartment of Rajdhani Express. A middle class Bengali Antel (Priyanshu Chatterjee), a snobbish man from the tinsel town(Sudhanshu Pnadey), an almost unnoticed and unsuccessful item girl (Puja Bose) and a man (Leander Paes) running from the shackles of his goon of a Godfather are put together in a train compartment and the story follows.
It un-homogenously follows the trail of the life of the protagonist (Leander Paes) and the incidents that occur with him inside the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express. The story unwraps easily and one won’t have any difficulty in recognizing the characters as they are people we have seen on screens before. Hence in terms characterization, the film indeed lacks a certain luster as well as freshness. The action in the film is quite predictable, but one would still be hooked to know the climax. The protagonist does manage to draw a significant amount of sympathy from the audience given his back-story conveyed through flashbacks.
Keshav (Paes) is forced to pull out a gun and when the news of it reaches the police they take immediate action. The consumerist and sensationalizing media hypes the news deeming Paes to be a terrorist, without having an inkling of idea about the entire story. Does the Rajdhani Express reach its destination? What happens to Chatterjee, Bose, Pandey and mostly Paes? What is the role of Police and the media in this incident? Rajdhani Express is a good attempt at a social commentary, while the audiences find answers to afore mentioned questions.
Rajdhani Express Review: Script Analysis
We cannot call this film preachy but it surely works on those lines. The narrative is adhesively strong but the actors fail to deliver as courageously. The characterization might seem picked up from a narrow repertoire of ideas and the events depicted have been seen before. The movie is releasing at a time of national crisis which will work better for the film.
Often at pivotal points in the story, you will find a lack of in sync with the main story. Also at places, the quintessential link of logic will be found missing. But if you are an overblown melodramatic atom of the Hindi fillum watching audience, you will clearly overlook those bits.
The dialogues are well scripted and decently executed by most actors. Interactions between the characters reflect the social hegemony of the nation and also bring out social stratifications prevalent in the Indian society. The pace of the story is maintained by minimizing the dance-song effects of the film and sticking to the no-nonsense fashion of story telling. The film fails to satisfy despite a good story. Given the current hues of the social scenario, the movie will hit your sub-conscience and demand instant social action on part of the general public. The movie dons a thought provoking demeanor in the end, which does push the lackadaisical audience to think.
Rajdhani Express Review: Star Performances
While all eyes are on Leander Paes, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he doesn’t really disappoint you. For a first film and absolutely no background of acting, at places he does manage to make you forget that he is a Wimbledon winning tennis ace. His dialogue delivery would however need some improvement and mostly being an actor, his eyes fail to speak the pain and the thrill that his character was feeling. He makes Keshav stand out, lending a lot of help from his director and the script.
Munish played by Sudhanshu Pandey was interesting. Pandey, being a natural looker and a charmer works well for the ladies! He almost plays himself in the film and that doesn’t really require much effort from his side and the role is quite well done. Priyanshu Chatterjee, however, proves to be the quaint humor factor of the film. He drinks Rum, reads philosophy and as the Bengalis colloquially term them, he plays a perfect Antel reveling in his Antel-amo. His comic timing and dialogue delivery are both perfect which works in favor of the film.
Puja Bose, who plays Sunita, is bound to disappoint you. Her character is strong but her weak acting dismally fails it. The Bollywood aspiring item girl Sunita, is ready to compromise on morals and that doesn’t really show women in a strong light which offended the radical feminist in me, personally.
The power packed performance of Jimmy Shergill is impeccable and flawless as the police officer Yadav. He exhibits a range of fine emotions of his character which depicts the general command of the Indian Police and their vulnerability at the service of politicians. Gulshan Grover as the T.T Sharma is brilliant. One cannot miss Achint Kaur who does a good job at representing the commercialized face of the Indian media.
Rajdhani Express Review: Direction, Music & Editing
Ashok Kohli did pen down a marvelous script. The editor has done his best to work on the flaws of the actors in order to maintain the compelling nature of the script. His work is definitely lucid. The editing work has been done impressively on the flashback sequences. The cinematography was good as well. As far as the music goes, the background score fits on the frame without looking out of place. Songs aren’t really important in the film and perhaps only ‘Armaan Jagti Hai’ will manage to strike you.
Rajdhani Express Review: The Last Word
Go for Rajdhani Express, if social dramas interest you and you do not really mind experimenting with your film watching schedule. There is a higher chance the frequent sloppiness of a few characters get on to you. But if you are looking for a good story here’s one if you merely excuse the not-so-great execution.
Rajdhani Express Trailer
Rajdhani Express released on 4th January, 2013.
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