The Girl on the Train
Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Avinash Tiwary, Aditi Rao Hydari
Director: Ribhu Dasgupta
With Teen, Ribhu Dasgupta proved that he could handle thrillers well and The Girl on the Train establishes his command over churning exciting moments out of the mundane. Since his debut feature Michael, he likes to turn a suspense story into a thriller somewhere in the latter part of the second half, and with this one, he has tried to prolong the duration of the shock. It has worked too but at the cost of his style which was more internal and personal in Teen.
Many tropes of popular filmmaking are quite visible in The Girl on the Train, which is not a bad thing, but it definitely takes away the focus from the director’s ability to create a space for alternative style. Sometimes with films like Rebecca or Vertigo or Rear Window, you have a fair idea about the bad guy, but you still would want to watch how the filmmaker reaches to the point of ultimate realisation. This is the storyteller’s moral victory over the audience, who despite knowing the end result, couldn’t take their eyes off the developments.
In The Girl on the Train, Dasgupta nicely sets us up for a romantic relationship gone totally wrong under testing conditions, but then he falls for the usual gimmicks of chases and psychologically challenged characters. It’s still a good watch but it’s also like losing away on a solid chance to build something for years. The posterity might not be there.
It all happens in London where a lawyer Meera (Parineeti Chopra) is living a happy life with his cardiologist husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary). What’s with naming every second actress Meera in Hindi cinema!
Anyway, one of Meera’s cases goes awry and she is suddenly on the target of a local mobster. Meanwhile, Meera is also obsessed with Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari), who she keeps watching from her daily commute train, hence the title. Somehow all this gets mixed up to turn into quite a heady mix. There onwards, it’s more about who reaches the conclusion first, the way it usually happens with thrillers.
Chopra, as a deranged wife in search of a support, is quite fresh in comparison to her girl-next-door kind of roles, which forms like almost 100% of her career. To her credit, despite delivering dialogues with very perceptible pauses, she has managed to hold her fort. In fact, she turns out to be a really good choice for the lead character.
Hydari has used her mystical, soft focus features to her advantages. Not quite like how Mani Ratnam categorises in Kaatru Veliyidai but still a decent bit of mystery about her soothing face. Avinash Tiwary shines as well, but he is definitely much more capable than this.
Netflix’s The Girl on the Train wants to use the local train as the cohesive theme but the canvas of the story has a wide psychological reach to be contained within two stations. If you don’t get into nitpicking, The Girl on the Train offers good value for your time. However, truth be told, it had the potential of becoming a super intriguing watch, if only the director focussed a bit more on the characters’ internal journey.