India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Rajdhani Express: The train wreck from hell

January 4, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

Ashok Kohli’s “Rajdhani Express” is one of those films which will force you to answer some existential questions. Questions such as “Why am I here?” “What am I doing with my life?” and most importantly, “How did a movie like this get made?”

If ever there was a movie that is sure to give you a headache, it is this one. I am sure Kohli had the best intentions at heart when he set out to make this film — unfortunately, not a single one made it to the screen.

What we get instead is a bizarre hotchpotch of scenes that make no sense, and after a while, they stop being funny. Indian tennis player Leander Paes (I’ll come to him later) plays Keshav, a troubled youth who is running away from his life as a henchman for a gang leader.

His co-passengers on the train are a Bollywood screen writer, a fashion designer and an “item girl” and the four play a bizarre game that involves telling each other the truth about themselves. Keshav is hurt by their comments about his economic status. So he does what any of us would do — pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot the passengers. (OK, not all of us).

Enter another troubled soul, a police officer who has a bone to pick with his bosses. What happens from this point onwards was beyond my understanding. I am not exaggerating when I say the story and the motives of the characters make no sense.

Some dialogues are unintentionally funny and the acting is so bad, it’s good. Which brings me to the final existential question while watching this film.

Leander Paes, what on earth were you thinking? Please abandon all thoughts of a movie career right now. Your brooding looks and intense stares and that insane laugh was embarrassing. Please, please stick to tennis.

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