DIRECTOR: Ashok Kohli
CAST: Jimmy Sheirgill, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Leander Paes, Sudhanshu Pandey, Gulshan Grover
Movie Review: The story is simply what happens when four people, from different backgrounds and walks of life, share a first class compartment in the Rajdhani Express, traveling from Delhi to Mumbai.
First up, there’s the wonderfully Bengali PC Bannerjee, played by the Priyanshu Chatterjee. The philosophy-reading, light-hearted, rum-drinking Bong provides the movie’s comic relief as well as the most poignant dialogues and none of it seems out of place.
Then there’s Munish, played by Sudhanshu Pandey, a tall, fair and handsome man from the world of fashion, too vain for the streets, disdainful of the lower class and terribly posh. If Bannerjee represents an average middle class man, Munish definitely is the snobbish upper class.
There’s also the promiscuous Bollywood-aspiring, morally-unsound item-number performing Sunita, played by the unconvincing Puja Bose. She has the glamour and show of the upper middle class, aspiring towards the higher class but morals of one willing to do anything to get what she wants. While the character may have been intriguing and well-built, Puja Bose’s acting is a serious impediment, with her range of expressions being limited to an excruciatingly narrow repertoire of emotions.
The fourth, and most important, character is Keshav, played by debutante Leander Paes. The story is essentially about him, even as it holds a message that goes far beyond who he is. He represents the lower class and has an enigmatic intrigue about him. The movie shuttles back-and-forth, revolving around his present and past. Lee is excellent in his first movie and rarely puts a foot wrong. His dialogue delivery is wonderful and he does justice to the fascinating character that is Keshav. One tends to even forget that it’s the tennis ace playing the role which is, perhaps, the greatest compliment to his work.
There are others too though: Gulshan Grover plays the Ticket Checker Satyam Sharma and he’s excellent as ever. As is Minister Indrale, played by Ishrat Ali, the Marathi politician playing the intricate games that politics in India has become notorious for.
Jimmy Shergill as the strong but ordinary Deputy Commissioner Yadav is brilliant, portraying a difficult blend of command and vulnerability with various degrees of excellence.
Mukesh Rishi as inspector Dogra, Achint Kaur as a no-nonsense woman reporter and Shilpa Shukla as another cop are all very good too.
Keshav is the man on the run. He boards the Mumbai bound Rajdhani Express with a bag and a gun. He shares the train compartment with Bengali script-writer PC Bannerjee, Bollywood item girl Sunita and Bollywood fashion designer Munish. Full of suppressed anger,
unwilling to disclose anything about himself and doing nothing except for holding onto his bag firmly…Keshav’s co-passengers find his behavior suspicious. They doubt his background and intentions.
The film aspires to raise grave questions about the current scenario of our society at large and immoral tendencies of people but all of that gets overshadowed by poor editing, over-the-top performances, pointless scenes and illogical dialogues. It makes the film seem more of an unintentional comedy than a socio-political thriller.
The film is nonlinear. It has several flashbacks that give us a glimpse of Keshav’s past. Sayali Bhagat plays Keshav’s love interest.