Casting: Leander Paes, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Jimmy Shergill, Sayali Bhagat
Direction: Ashok Kohli
There are a lot of stories that go wrong, that don’t play out the way the director conceives it, that has drawbacks that pull down the pace of the film but this one is so disjointed and incoherent that it makes you wonder what was Ashok Kohli thinking when he decided to make ‘Rajdhani Express’.
Actually it took me a while to wrap my mind around the actual premise, if any. A fashion designer (Sudhanshu Pandey), an item girl (Pooja Bose), a scriptwriter (Priyanshu Chatterjee) and an impostor (Leander Paes) are all aboard the Rajdhani Express. Since they are all traveling in the same compartment, they decide to get drunk and play a game where they will reveal each other’s secrets. Each secret reinforces every Bollywood stereotype possible – the item girl has sex for money, so much so, that she starts soliciting her co-passengers, the fashion designer says he is gay but has no issues engaging in some harmless hanky-panky with the item girl in the train restroom. And our impostor is an angry young man who has been wronged in every way possible by society and therefore, has the license to be obnoxious and pass the most chauvinistic comments making it impossible for the audience to feel any sympathy for this protagonist with a troubled past.
You have hardly come to terms with the shoddy storytelling when the plot trajectory goes off in a complete tangent. There is a bomb threat and alleged terrorists on this train and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jimmy Shergill) decides to take matters into his own hand. The omnipresent media can’t be left far behind and they are roped in to play a bizarre part. The narrative is interspersed with needless drama, random flashback sequences and totally dispensable romantic numbers.
I had hoped that at least the performances will salvage this film. Leander Paes has definitely lost his first game, set and match in Bollywood. Priyanshu Chatterjee, who is usually dependable, completely hams it up trying to speak Hindi in a Bengali accent. The .5 rating in this film is only and only for Jimmy Shergill, who approaches and executes his role with complete sincerity.
Watch this film and tell me if Leander Paes should be allowed on any film set henceforth.
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