The first week of January usually has a film which should not have been made. This week Rajdhani Express makes it to this ‘exclusive’ category.
The story of a gun runner (tennis star Leander Paes makes his debut) on a train, the narrative moves like a passenger train let loose on a circuitous route with no destination in mind.
From child abuse and class discrimination to corruption, director Ashok Kohli tries to touch too many points reducing the screenplay to mishmash of sketchy ideas. He seems to have a list of the illegitimate activities that go on in trains but has no clue how to weave them in a cogent script.
In the name of characters he has types. A designer who is deemed to be gay, an item girl who is keen to put a price on her body in a moving train, a writer who has nothing original in his kitty and a boy who is running away from his troubled past.
They all meet in a compartment but Kohli has not given them any meat to play with.
A poor choice by Leander Paes to shift stage, it is further marred by shoddy editing and listless performances.
Like in tennis you require a strong serve to keep the game going, in acting expressions serves a performer but Leander looks out of depth here and keeps committing double faults.
There is hardly any emotion that seeps through the celluloid. If his silence fails to convey the pathos of a boy wronged all through his life, his mad laughter sounds hollow.
At times his expression are so exaggerated that you fear that his eye balls might pop out and the way he holds on to the bag that he is supposed to hide will make even a toddler look smarter.
Perhaps he requires a seasoned director for here even the seasoned players like Gulshan Grover and Jimmy Shergil are found clueless. In the absence of a coherent plot, there is very little for the actors to hold on to.
When Priyanshu Chatterjee manages to play a Bengali writer as an absolute caricature, you know there is something wrong with the helmsman. It is high time somebody should show the murky business that goes on Indian trains but this not the right vehicle.
Cast:Leander Paes, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Sayali Bhagat, Gulshan Grover, Jimmy Shergeill, Sudhanshu Pandey
Plot:Wishing to run away from his past, Keshav boards the Rajdhani Express only to run into three caricatures
Bottomline:A nauseating journey