Bollywood’s most awaited release of recent times is of course Chennai Express – a big budget, big banner film starring the King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan and the beauteous Deepika Padukone. The film-going janta apparently awaits the release date of 8 August 2013 with bated breath. I count myself among the movie-watching hoi polloi, but I am shall not be thronging the theaters come 9th August or indeed at any point thereafter.
There are many reasons for not wanting to watch Chennai Express, some of them, I am aware will be sufficient grounds for my lynching, but it’s a free country and I’m entitled to my opinions aren’t I!
It is a Bollywood take on ‘South India’
As a rule, when Bollywood tells a ‘South Indian Story’ it is replete with clichés and saturated with stereotypes. It is essentially the north Indian or the west Indian laughing at the South Indian accent (there is apparently no difference between a Tamil accent, a Telugu accent, a Malayali accent and a Kannada accent according to Bollywood). It is the rest of India being amused by mannerisms and customs that are perceived as “South Indian”.
I have enough dear friends from the 4 (or is it 5 now?) South Indian states to know that this portrayal is rather inaccurate and excessively over the top if not actually offensive. From what I see of the promos, Deepika as a ‘South Indian’ is quite endearing, but the accent seems distinctly over-done.
It’s a Rohit Shetty film
I have had to sit through many Rohit Shetty films. My daughters adore them. I was dragged to each of the Golmaal films (1, 2 and 3). Much against my wishes I have had to watch Bol Bachhan. There were a few laughs there, but the stories tended to be senseless, disjointed, implausible and simply silly. I have nothing against sophomoric humour, but I draw the line when a film insults my intelligence. Singham, the other Rohit Shetty film that I also saw, was about an irresponsible, loose cannon of a police officer who should have been locked up in I my humble opinion. So really, I’m not looking forward to another offering from this director.
I am not an SRK fan
I’m afraid that out of the (many) Industry Khans, Shah Rukh Khan is not my favourite. I realise that this is grounds for aforementioned lynching, but I am simply not an SRK fan. It is a good thing that he’s not trying to pass off as a 20-something in this film (the 47 year old admits to being 40 in Chennai Express), but he is playing Rahul. Yet again – for the nth time!
Fact is I have more admiration for SRK as the host of KBC – where he comes across as unaffected, natural, intelligent, articulate, approachable and likeable – than SRK the movie star.
I can watch the Lungi Dance on Youtube
The music of Chennai Express by Vishal-Shekhar sounds thoroughly enjoyable. 1 2 3 4 Get on the Dance Floor has that frenetic pace and the sort of beat that just make the body move on its own – a guaranteed floor filler for the coming months, rather like a latter day Apdi Poda! The track Titli starts off recalling to mind the title track of Alaipayuthey, but then veers away. It is still a melodious and well rendered song.
Ready, Steady Go Po, makes up in terms of a catchy beat what it lacks in melodic content. The title track of Chennai Express is not hugely original sounding (recalled to my mind shades of Smayiyai from Kandukondain Kandukondain) , but is likable just the same. The musical pièce de résistance is the Lungi dance – a rousing and thoroughly entertaining tribute to superstar Rajnikanth. The track by Honey Singh has zany lyrics such as Moochhon ko thoda round ghumake/Anna ke jaisa chashma lagake/Coconut me lassi milake/Aa jaao sare mood banake…. Disco me jab ye gana bajega/On the floor aana padega/Lungi ko uthana padega/Step karke dikhana padega even if the accent is exaggerated not quite authentic. Point is that I’ll just be watching the song on Youtube, thank you very much.
As for the movie, I am sure there are legions of fans out there clamouring to make this movie a hit. I may be excused for not being counted among their number. As for the sequel to Chennai Express (already slated for 2018) I shall be taking a call on that one 5 years hence.