When you try to state something profound but lack vocabulary, you might end up delivering something profane. In other words, Rajdhani Express.
For instance, there is a discussion on the view from the train window, of people shitting outside, amounting to a comment on India, which itself sounds like a whole lot of crap.
A debut film by writer/director, Ashok Kohli, this is also tennis player, Leander Paes’s off track move from tennis to acting. A few scenes in the film force Paes to laugh and cry at the same time to show “paagal zamana hai..”. Little knowing probably that this is the reaction this movie evokes. Rajdhani Express, in its efforts to prove that the only safe place in the country state is an asylum; takes weird situations to prove its point in a way tackier and shoddier than Indian railways.
Four strangers meet in a railway compartment of Rajdhani Express going from Delhi to Mumbai. A writer,Banerjee (Priyanshu Chatterjee),A fashion designer (Sudhanshu Pandey, Keshav (Leander Paes),a gun toting poor man -in -love -with -rich girl, and an ‘item girl’( Puja Bose). They drink. They start sharing secrets. Keshav either stares out of the window or glares at the rest. Meanwhile, a cop (Jimmy Shergill)tracking the train and terrorist report, spends contemplative time in front of the mirror, trimming his thin moustache. A news channel reporter, Achint Kaur is busy making it a breaking news story. A politician is somewhere involved, even if just to talk in Marathi to his wife about their saving accounts. As for the plot, one is left clueless.
Tacky and pretentious lines, disjointed screenplay and shoddy camera work with amateurish usage of steady cam; makes the film rest completely on the actors. Jimmy Shergill makes his presence felt despite not having anything to do except walk around in important action mode. Gulshan Grover as a railway TT, easily steals every scene from the other four actors playing the major roles. All four including Paes, Chatterjee, can easily compete in who is more awkward than the other. Achint Kaur as a stressed out newsperson, pulls it through despite little substance in the role.
The songs include “Koi Umeed” with lyrics written originally by Mirza Ghalib, perhaps the only thing which justifies the film’s supposed political intensity.
Watch if you must for Leander Paes’s brave debut. Stay sane.