Mumbai Xpress

Source: Sify

By: By Taran Adarsh (IndiaFM)

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 15 April 2005

Movie Title

Mumbai Xpress


Singeetham Srinivasa Rao

Star Cast

Kamal Hassan, Manisha Koirala, Om Puri, Vijay Raaz, Saurabh Shukla, Sharat Saxena

A Kamal Haasan film is eagerly anticipated. Irrespective of how his films fare at the box-office, the fact cannot be denied that he charters into an alien/untrodden territory every time he makes a film.

In Mumbai Xpress, directed by Singeeetham Srinivasa Rao, he again steps into a rarely traveled terrain. Fortunately, Mumbai Xpress has that punch so vital for a film of this genre.

The film is very similar in style to Kamal Haasan's immensely enjoyable CHACHI 420, since Mumbai Xpress also relies on humor, hilarity, absurdity and witty one-liners. It is an urbane comedy, though not to the extent of losing mass appeal.

The sole problem with Mumbai Xpress is that the narrative has been stretched unnecessarily, making the viewer restless at times. Also, technically speaking, since the film has been shot on the D.V. format, the outcome is grainy, dark and dull.

Yet, all said and done, Mumbai Xpress is a joyride, a notch above the ordinary for sure.

It was a lot of money. The three-member gang [Vijay Raaz and his friends] had a plan, an ingenious one at that, of kidnapping a millionaire's [Sourabh Shukla] son from his school. They fell short of a man. They chose one. He had a strange name... Mumbai Xpress, but that was his working name. His original name was Avinash [Kamal Haasan].

Avinash didn't want to flirt with crime. He wanted to be a law-abiding citizen. Unfortunately, the plan goes haywire when they kidnap not the millionaire's son, but the son of an A.C.P. [Om Puri] and his mistress Ahilya [Manisha Koirala].

What follows are hilarious situations, mistaken identities and a comedy of errors.

A film like Mumbai Xpress relies heavily on wit and humor to make the proceedings come alive and the film abounds in funny situations. The other area the film scores in is its apt casting. With fabulous performers on board, the outcome is one enjoyable flick.

From the writing point of view, Mumbai Xpress has a novel plot. Although a number of kidnapping sagas have been attempted in Bollywood earlier, what sets Mumbai Xpress apart from films of its ilk is that the serious issue has been tackled in the most humorous fashion.

While the first half of the enterprise looks at the kidnapping story, the post-interval portions also look at, besides kidnapping, the eternal love story without which Hindi films are incomplete.

Mumbai Xpress works primarily because director Singeeetham Srinivasa Rao has treated the film with that rare maturity so vital for a light-hearted entertainer. Comedy is serious business and if placed in inept hands, the outcome would've been tragic.

Any shortcomings? Yes, two factors dilute the impact. One, the film is extremely lengthy and can do with a 15/20-minute trimming for a better impact. Also, the humor in the second half, at times, borders on asinine situations. However, the absence of songs in the film [it has just one song!] only succeeds in keeping your interest alive.

Dialogues [Saurabh Shukla] are fantastic. A film like Mumbai Xpress relies completely on witty lines and Shukla's pen works magic. Cinematography [Siddharth] is adequate. Stunts [Vikram Dharma] are effective.

Mumbai Xpress is a Kamal Haasan film all the way. As the story-screenplay writer, he deserves browny points for making an implausible plot look thoroughly interesting. As the lead man, the actor is in complete form this time around, handling the comic situations with effortless ease. Mumbai Xpress wouldn't have been as impactful had it not been for Kamal Haasan's bravura performance.

There are three more performances that deserve an ovation: Om Puri, Vijay Raaz and Saurabh Shukla. Om Puri is superb in a role that seems tailormade for him. Vijay Raaz proves yet again that he's amongst the best talents India has produced of late. Saurabh Shukla is first-rate yet again. His sequences with Kamal Haasan and Om Puri are amazing.

Manisha Koirala is likeable. Also, she looks quite pretty. Pratima Kazmi is brilliant again. Sharat Saxena provides some entertaining moments. Master Hardik is cute and stands on his feet despite facing veterans. Raza Murad doesn't get much scope.

On the whole, Mumbai Xpress is a well-made entertainer that has ample moments to keep you in splits. At the box-office, the film should work with word of mouth. Its business at multiplexes of metros mainly will be excellent.

Rating:- * * *.