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The Burning Train (1980)

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A dedicated railway employee's plan to introduce an express train result in sabotage.



(story), (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vinod Khanna ...
Vinod Verma
Vinod Mehra ...
Parveen Babi ...
Mrs. Sheetal Vinod Verma
Simi Garewal ...
Navin Nischol ...
Neetu Singh ...
Sujit Kumar ...
Catholic Priest / Police Inspector Ranbir
Ranjeet ...
Iftekhar ...
Railway Board Chair Jagmohan
Nasir Hussain ...
Mr. Verma (Vinod's dad)
Satyendra Kapoor ...
Madhu's dad


Vinod Verma is an employee of the Indian Railways, who always had a dream of making the perfect and fastest train in India. After years of dedication the Railway Board approves his prototype of the Super Express. But these years had had their toll on his personal life, as his wife, Sheetal and son, are more like strangers to him. He hopes to make it up to them after the train makes it inaugural run from Delhi to Bombay in a record 14 hours. Showing him support are his friends, Ashok and Rakesh. But an embittered fellow-employee named Randhir, the son of the Chair of the Railway Board, has other plans for Vinod and the Super Express - plans that may derail Vinod's delicate personal balance, and make the Super Express' inaugural journey also the final one. Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Thriller


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Release Date:

20 March 1980 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Horiaci vlak  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Did You Know?


When the film was launched, Amitabh Bachchan was a part of the film. See more »


Kisi Ke Vaade Pe Kyun Aetbaar Hamne Kiya
Performed by Asha Bhosle
Lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi
Music by Rahul Dev Burman
See more »

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User Reviews

Now, this is what I call good Bollywood action!
17 March 2007 | by (Bangalore, India) – See all my reviews

This 1980 star-studded box office disaster is a real old favorite of mine. A very slick, very action-oriented movie with a non-standard theme that promised to change Bollywood movie-making standards of the early 80s (Ramesh Sippy's "Shaan" was another one in the same genre). Never mind why people spurned this movie when it was released - it was probably released in the wrong decade! In many ways, this was a landmark movie. It was one of the few movies made on the Railways. Quite surprising that Bollywood took so long to pay a fitting tribute to the Railways because (at least during those days) a humongous percentage of working Indian populace were directly or indirectly dependent on the railways for their livelihood. Why, the Indian Railways were one of the largest employers in those days! And the best part is the tribute doesn't go over the board. The Railways depiction is more or less realistic (note to critics: the song-and-dance parts before the Super Express is launched is just plain old Bollywood masala – nothing to do with the Railways).

The train has been the ubiquitous, yet highly sidelined prop in dozens of Bollywood movies. Who can forget the passenger train that brings the jailer to Ramgarh in "Sholay" or the endless shots of Victoria Terminus in any movie based in Bombay. Even now, trains have been very much around in the Bollywood landscape. "Bunty aur Babli" recently effectively used Indian Railways throughout the movie to enhance the small-town feel. The economy of many Indian towns (especially those in UP, where the Railways network is densest) is highly dependent on the Railways. The trains in India have been much more than just a mode of transport – they are a part of our very fabric.

Anyway, back to the movie – it about the launch of a new super fast express train that runs between Delhi and Bombay in a record time of 14 hours (clearly a tribute to the swanky Rajdhani Express trains that was the hottest thing on the tracks those days). The movie starts in Varanasi rail factory (Diesel Locomotive Works), where a group of capable engineers (Khanna, Dharam "paaji", Mehra, etc) toil away to design the new engine. After years of effort, their efforts finally pay off and the new express (er, aptly named "Super Express") is launched. However, engineers are humans too. During all this, the lead characters go through heartbreaks (Dharam-Hema), family crisis (Khanna-Babi) and professional showdowns (Danny-Khanna). Just when Khanna and co. are rejoicing over the success of the project, things go wrong.

The smitten Danny makes sure that he does what he can to ruin what would have been his pet project. To avenge his humiliation, he plants a bomb in the engine and renders the brakes useless. Meanwhile the train is full of standard stock characters – a kind-hearted petty thief (Jeetendra), a runaway bride (Singh), a school teacher (Simi Gerewal) with an army of school kids, a diamond smuggler (Ranjeet) who has an undercover cop (Sujit Kumar) chasing him, the heartbroken hero (Dharmendra) and his ex-flame (Hema) with her new doctor beau (Nischol) a pompous army man, the Hindu pandit sitting next to the staunch Muslim, the paan-chewing seductress in red sari (Asha Sachdev), the Sardarji, the Parsi, the Marwari – you name it! So the brakes have failed, the engine drivers are dead and the runaway train is speeding away on the tracks while the unsuspecting passengers have a ball singing qawwalis in the train. There is no way to contact them (remember – this was early 80s – no mobile phones – ah! Blissful days) Luckily, we have Dharamendra who jumps back into the train to save lives. Things go from bad to worse as the pantry catches fire and the fire spreads rapidly. Our heroes on the train take the onus to do something to save their own lives while the heroes outside are trying their best to get things out of the train's way! Trust me: stagecoach-sagas cannot get better than this.

As I mentioned, it was one of the slickest action movies of its time – use of miniatures, complex action sequences, chase scenes, explosions, aerial shots – it has a bit of everything. Excellent cinematography and a plausible screenplay add to the effect. The all-star cast is excellent, especially Khanna who delivers a powerful performance as the engineer trying to set things right. It is probably "inspired" by some Hollywood flick, but the thing is it has been very well done. The songs by R.D. Burman are excellent. I especially love the qawwali "Pal do pal ka saath hamara". "Vaada" and "Meri Nazar" are also quite good. This was a very, very good effort by Ravi Chopra (who later moved on to make movies like "Baghban" and now "Babul") and, once the express leaves Delhi station, is a non-stop action thriller. Pure Bollywood vintage action flick, very slickly made and served with loads of quintessential Bollywood masala.

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