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Filmy Flashback: Chennai Express Derailed; Audiences’ Brains Injured


Since several years, there has been one pertinent question in Indian culture that everyone wants the answer to – Who will win this year’s IPL? But never mind that. There’s another important question that everyone wants answered – What happens after death? Well, I found out after watching this abomination of a movie. I stared at the face of death, probably went to the other side for a couple of seconds and came back. And it wasn’t pretty.

Let’s start from the beginning. Of the film. So, 40-odd years old  orphan Rahul’s (SRK) 99-years old grandfather dies when he sees Sachin get out on 99. If that was the reason for his death, he should’ve died twice before (yes, I googled it). But moving on. Rahul promises his grandmother that he’ll float the ashes in some random village in South India, but instead plans to go off to Goa. I’m guessing his membership at a resort there is about to expire. Or maybe he has a complimentary massage coupon or something. Or, taking a cue from Shah Rukh Khan’s real life, maybe he has to perform at some rich industrialist’s wedding. So, to fool the old lady, he actually has to get on some random train (called Chennai Express; hence the idiotic title), rather than bidding her adieu from home. Terrific. But as he’s about to get off from the train to meet his friends, running comes Meena (Deepika Padukone). Cue DDLJ music and he gives her his hand to get on the train. There are many other such self-referential bullshit moments in this film, but for the sake of my own sanity, I shall not discuss it.

So, the girl is in the process of getting kidnapped by her father’s men, who is a Don in South India. Rahul also gets kidnapped in the process and gets taken to South India, where everyone speaks like they’re saying “Herpes Herpes Herpes” on repeat mode. Through voice-over narration, he tells us how scared he is and says dialogues like “agar iski izzat ka sawaal hai, toh yeh meri izzat utaarne kyu aa raha hai.” At that point, I wished that this film would turn into the film “Barfi!” so that he would just shut the fuck up. Anyway, the girl lies to her father that she  and Rahul are in love, because that’s exactly what you want to do with a Don – blatantly lie to his face. So, after a scene involving drug smuggling to Sri Lanka that was so bad that I actually got up and repeatedly smashed my head against the wall, the two pretend-lovers escape.

When I had first heard that Rohit Shetty’s next film was called Chennai Express, the first thing that I thought was “he’s crazy, he’s gonna blow up a train this time”. Then I thought, “what if the train came down and fell on top of Shah Rukh Khan? That’s not such a bad idea”. Sadly, nothing of this sort happens. Instead, multiple cars are blown up once again. Car stunts in Rohit Shetty films are like Mallika Sherawat belly dancing in “Maiyya Maiyya”: they have no idea what they’re doing and they look amateurish, but they’re doing it anyway.

By now, I begin to think of other things I could’ve been doing that would’ve been preferable to watching this snooze-fest. I could’ve had a crow crap all over me than watch this piece of crap. I could’ve plucked my hair out each strand at a time for 2.5 hours instead. I could’ve put my hand through a fan and that would’ve hurt less. But thankfully, after a couple of compulsory romantic songs and heroic speeches and a spiritual awakening, we finally get to the climax of the film. Here, Rahul gets beaten to a pulp by our villain who, judging by his lack of expressions, also plays the role of a tree trunk in the background. Such a hardworking guy. But after getting beat-up enough to evoke audience sympathy and make the heroine scream like she’s being molested, Rahul then turns into his superhero character from “Ra.One” and beats the shit out of the villain.

After having seen Shah Rukh ham so much that you could make a sandwich out of it, and just when the end credits start to roll and you finally think that your nightmare is over, “Rohit Shetty and Team” have other plans. On comes Honey Singh’s “Lungi Dance”. Oh, I’m sorry. It’s “Yo Yo” Honey Singh; no offence to his “fans”, or as we normal people like to call them, “mentally challenged Yo-tards”. Right then, I felt that after being continually stabbed for about 2.5 hours, I finally got shot through the head for a much-welcomed death. Or maybe that after ordering an expensive hooker and playing antakshari with her all night, she finally slapped me in the face, spit on me and left. Or…. I’m running out of analogies, but I think you got the point. What is ironical, though, is that after having cried throughout the length of a comedy film and not having gotten a chance to even smile once, I get an innocent text from a friend of mine soon after and I fall off my seat laughing.

I can’t sum this film up better than by borrowing a dialogue from a very good Shah Rukh Khan movie “Om Shanti Om”. Anytime you see Chennai Express playing anywhere, you should go “Bhaagoooo! Bhaagoooo!”. As for what happens after deateh, I think I saw the Devil making people watch “Don 2″ as a punishment for their sins. The poor souls were screaming as hell. I hope they rest in peace.

Rating: 3/10

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©Piyush Chopra for

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