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Vishwa S. Badola,
Keshav is on the run from his gang, after his boss found out about his affair with his daughter. He boards the Rajdhani Express from Delhi to Mumbai, sharing a cabin with Munish, Reena, and Banerjee. Through miscommunication, corruption and power plays, he is targeted as a terrorist for execution, and everyone with him. Written by
L. Y. Hostrawser
I wonder what made Leander Paes choose this film as his debut venture?
In the mid eighties after India won the Cricket World Cup (in 1983), there were several movies released featuring the famous cricket stalwarts like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sandeep Patil and Sayed Kirmani. And I remember in those years I used to wonder that, Why these World renowned icons are so keen to venture into such mediocre and badly directed Hindi films? or Do they always had a hidden ambition to be a Film Star before joining Cricket and decided to give it a try after achieving the highest success in their chosen career?
Thankfully that avoidable phase got over quickly as none of those films worked at the box office despite of their gracious presence. But recently I had exactly the same feelings again while watching RAJDHANI EXPRESS which is a debut film for the famous Indian Tennis Icon Leander Paes in a role of a suspected terrorist. Now some vague justifications could be there for Leander's passion for the medium in case the film featured him as a positive hero fighting for justice or even as a lover boy struggling to get his love back. But it was really hard to accept that the Top most Indian Tennis player accepted the role of a man with a criminal background to be his debut vehicle in films.
Anyway taking on the film here, it begins as if its an intelligent portrayal of few different stories merging into one inside a moving train with several interesting characters. But within 10 minutes its mediocre execution of sequences, some casually written dialogues and many over the top performances clearly reveal that the film is nothing more than an ambitious project supported by some amateurish efforts of a new team. The story developments remain uninteresting before the first half with few deliberately added sequences for the smaller centers involving a sex worker. But I was really taken back watching a badly written scene where a lady of a foreign origin travelling with her kid alone, allows a complete stranger (Leander Paes) to sleep inside her personal train coupe at night acting like a kind hearted fairy with no brains at all. Further post intermission RE fails to hold the viewer's attention completely and then delivers a pretty weak climax taking you nowhere.
However despite of having so many drawbacks the film has two good points which deserve to be mentioned here. The first point is the way the soundtrack uses the lyrics of Mirza Ghalib in its songs running in the background which surely is a brave and appreciable attempt made by the musical team. And secondly it features the veteran Gulshan Grover (as TT) and the talented Priyanshu Chatterjee (as a Bengali writer) who forced me to keep sitting in my seat till the end (otherwise I would have left it in between for sure). In other words, director Ashok Kohli chose a potential script and an interesting cast too including Leander Paes but couldn't materialize on his assets and came up with an amateur kind of film lacking a lot.
In the acting department, though Leander Paes looks rough like his grey character and acts satisfactorily in his few scenes too. But he still needs to learn the art (becomes awkward at times) and I really could not understand that, What was the purpose or hurry for acting in films when you even require a person to dub for your own dialogues? Both Jimmy Sheirgill & Mukesh Rishi are tough but repetitive in their roles of police officers. Sudhanshu Pandey is just okay, Sayali Bhagat remains wasted and the item girl plays her bold character confidently. Gulshan Grover acts as a thorough professional in an unimportant role and Priyanshu Chatterjee seems to be enjoying his Bengali Writer's character a lot.
In all, RAJDHANI EXPRESS could have been a decent watch if handled differently. But in the present version it just remains an over ambitious attempt featuring India's famous Tennis Icon Leander Paes and nothing else.
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