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CHENNAI EXPRESS - The curse of second half works here too but it still can be seen once for a new Deepika & Shahrukh for sure. (Review by Bobby Sing)

09 Aug, 2013 | Movie Reviews / 2013 Releases

The rare combination of Hit director Rohit Shetty and Shahrukh Khan was looked upon differently by two sections of viewers before the release of CHENNAI EXPRESS. Where a few were quite excited and confident of the deadly duo, there were many who were hugely doubtful and confused about what to expect from the two famous names coming together for the first time ever in Hindi cinema. However after seeing the film I can say that the news is not that bad since the film is neither a complete dud nor a big trendsetter or epic entertainer as was being expected.
Describing it from the now famous Rohit Shetty kind of cinema’s point of view, CHENNAI EXPRESS is much more than the director’s weak BOL BACHCHAN and a step below than his hugely successful film SINGHAM. But moving ahead than Rohit’s all previous films; here we have two worth watching performances by the lead couple, who have performed quite different than what they are usually known for in the industry. So this time, Rohit has a fresh film for the viewers with a new backdrop of South and few enjoyable performances surprisingly led by the leading lady of the film, Deepika Padukone.
Now the major reason, why CHENNAI EXPRESS can be rated as a fairly entertaining film altogether is its fast paced & engaging first half which actually saves the project in totality. It begins on a shaky note as a light comic family drama, without any heroic entry of King Khan but then goes on to become a decent entertainer with a new setting of South India and its colorful (yet dark) characters. At first its difficult to accept Shahrukh in the role of a young man but then the veteran cleverly manages to surprise you with his comic performance which again is quite different and much ahead of what he has already done in many previous films. Frankly, I found a new Shahrukh in the first half of the movie along with the extremely gifted Deepika who slowly and steadily goes on to score even better than Shahrukh as the film progresses. Though we do have some downers in this part like the ‘at your face’ brand endorsement of Nokia phone and the not-so-required item song, yet till interval CHENNAI EXPRESS easily wins you over being a fine masala entertainer equipped with a brand new Deepika, Shahrukh and Rohit too (with less action, no cheap comedy or double meaning dialogues).
The unexpectedly good first half raises the level of the movie arguably and one starts expecting more novel twists in its storyline related to the South backdrop and its characters coming ahead. But unfortunately nothing of that sort happens post intermission and the film simply goes back to the same routine stuff seen many times before in several other hit films where the couple meets in a journey, runs away and then falls in love. Moreover all of a sudden more than 3 songs hit you hard one after another and the film loses its well developed pace in just few scenes. One or two appealing sequences (like the temple scene) try to bring back the lost interest sincerely, but with nothing new in its basic storyline CHENNAI EXPRESS doesn’t perform to the expected levels in its pretty ordinary or average second half and loses all the magic created earlier within the next 40 minutes post interval. Anyway the long concluding moments of the film thankfully turn out to be the big savior, where Shahrukh performs brilliantly in a well conceived action sequence fighting it hard for his own dignity, love and pride. So as a true masala entertainer (like all cult Manmohan Desai projects), the film ends with the hero bashing up the villain in style, following the ages old bollywood formula and the common man more or less feels entertained in this intelligently designed comic, romantic but routine drama while moving out of the theaters.
Hence there are basically 3 things new in this usual, run of the mill love story directed by Rohit Shetty. One it has a largely likable South India backdrop which brings in a pleasant kind of freshness into the project as required. Secondly it has both Deepika & Shahrukh in a new avatar with Deepika scoring much more than Shahrukh in her splendid performance. And third it has a new Rohit Shetty too, who doesn’t rely much on only action or mindless comic scenes and puts in some clichéd emotional stuff too in its second half.
Cinematography adds a lot to the overall experience of watching the South’s natural beauty and background score works well with its changing themes featuring comedy, family drama, action & romance compiled together. The dialogues play a major role in the initial hour but then they too fall in the same bracket of being ‘nothing new’ post interval.
Musically this is not an upto the mark soundtrack from Vishal Shekhar with only “Titlee” impressing you the most. May be this was the reason why they felt the need of calling a guest composer Honey Singh to compose a new item song dedicated to Rajnikanth (even at the cost of displeasing Vishal). The song “Lungi Dance” sounds good as a dancing track but its video really brings down all the energy generated, mainly due to a weak (vague) direction and a lost choreography.
Regarding the performances, as mentioned above this is more a Deepika Padukone film than a Shahrukh’s movie. No doubt, they both have visibly worked real hard on their respective roles, but the lady scores a little more than the King Star here majorly due to his excellent facial expressions and a fabulous accent of the regional language. Though many may find the regional dialogues in the movie (without any subtitles) a bit annoying, but I found the move quite right keeping the originality intact. Deepika looks stunningly beautiful in all those traditional attires and its really hard to believe that she is the same bikini girl of COCKTAIL. So this is one Hindi film which clearly proves that an Indian lady surely looks more beautiful with his body nicely covered than the other way round.
Along with Deepika, we have a new Shahrukh in CE who is willing enough to try something novel and unconventional at this age of his career. But sadly all his innovations sustain only till the first half and post intermission he again goes back to the same love and drama seen umpteen times before. Still he surely deserves praises especially for the final action sequence in the film performed with great guts and passion. In the supporting cast, Sathyaraj is impressive as the Don-father, Nikitin Dheer is just fine as the strong opponent and its was really nice to see Kamini Kaushal’s gracious presence in the opening scenes. But I did miss Mukesh Tiwari playing the Sikh Inspector, literally vanishing in the second half, as he really played it well initially and could add a lot to the proceedings later.
In all, as they say Rohit Shetty has simply made CHENNAI EXPRESS just for that common man who is mainly looking for some decent entertainment in those three hours bought from his hard earned money.
But here I would like to ask a question that, if he really makes films for the common man then what was that dialogue in CE, in which Shahrukh very ruthlessly addresses the kind of humor enjoyed by that common man only watching films in the smaller centers. In that scene, Shahrukh literally makes fun of all the people visiting single screen theaters in the numerous smaller cities of the country and says “Uh…..that’s kind of single screen humor” (as I remember the line).
Now at one end Rohit plans his films for this common man only and on the other he loudly makes fun of the same person sitting in the single screen theater in his dialogues. So, I honestly couldn’t understand the intentions here of the writer, director and the actor too who didn’t find anything wrong while saying these lines during the shoot. And if there hidden intention was to draw a poor classification, then I would like to add that our nation is already facing hundreds of undesired divisions from decades. So please don’t try to generate another new age classification now between a single screen theater viewer and a multiplex viewer…………for God’s sake.
Summing up CHENNAI EXPRESS is yet another big film affected by the curse of second half but it still can be seen once for especially Deepika and then a different Shahrukh surprising you with his rediscovered comic timing in the first hour.
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (Including 0.5 more for only Deepika Padukone’s appreciable act)

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09 Aug 2013 / Comment ( 2 )
Shikhar Kumar
Praises for Shahrukh ? really !!!
I felt like I was watching a distorted version of Rajpal yadav in the first half.
Deepika was amazing, these veterans should learn from them. If they are more interested in making and owning a movie, shouldn\'t they find someone else to act ?
Bobby Sing

Names doesn't matter or influence me Shikar and if an actor is trying to do something different from his previous films then I take it as a pleasant change. So many may not have liked that but I found Shahrukh trying to break his own set persona in the first half of the film but CE truly belonged to the talented Deepika alone without any doubt.


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