Review: The Train

Posted on June 9, 2007


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Emraan Hashmi smooches his way through a terrible thriller with an adultery hook.

JUNE 10, 2007 – EVERY STAR comes with a certain kind of baggage. When Amitabh Bachchan strides across the screen, we prime ourselves for dialogue delivered in that spectacular baritone. With Sunny Deol, we know it isn’t long before people – and things – get flung into orbit with the flexing of a well-pumped bicep. And with Emraan Hashmi, we wait for the point where his heroines are reduced to breathing through the nose. It’s the kissing, of course. That his films will feature at least one passionate lip-lock (tongue optional) is a given – but, of late, I wonder if the man hasn’t fallen into a bit of a rut, pun entirely intended. These scenes are beginning to look the same. He takes his shirt off. His partner discards her top. They clamber into bed, he plants a big wet one on her lips, and then… he’s stuck. There’s not much else he can do. He can’t go any lower because our moral guardians won’t let him (at least on screen) – and the only way he can infuse some variety into his lovemaking is to graze about her arched neck, channelling the desperation of a vampire searching for the most blood-engorged of veins to sink its fangs into. Who said being an actor was easy?

The kissing apart, there’s a lot in The Train – no relation to the similarly-named Rajesh Khanna thriller with the terrific RD Burman score – that slots it squarely into the sub-genre of Hindi cinema we now recognise as The Emraan Hashmi Movie. It’s set in a Southeast Asian country (this time, Thailand), and it’s ripped off from Hollywood (this time, Derailed; and the ripping off extends to the background score too, with a faithful reproduction of the solo-violin piece John Williams wrote for Schindler’s List, which was performed by Itzhak Perlman). Hashmi plays Vishal, an only-in-the-movies advertising guy who appears to handle both the creative and the client-servicing aspects of his profession. His marriage to Anjali (Sayali Bhagat) is deteriorating, apparently because of the strain over their child’s illness, but I’m betting it’s more because her IQ is smaller than the skirts she wears. (She talks of Bangkok being unsafe, and sighs, “Kahin chori, kahin robbery…â€? with the complete conviction that she has just referred to two entirely different types of crime.) Vishal meets Roma (Geeta Basra, she of the even smaller skirts) on the train to work, and falls for her after learning that her marriage is on the rocks too. Somewhere along the line, we’re supposed to get involved in this tangle and feel for these lost souls, but they seem to be having such a high old time singing and dancing – Mithoon’s tunes, however, are quite good – that the only person you feel sorry for is yourself.

It took two people to cook up this mess – Raksha Mistry and Hasnain Hyderabadwala, the same duo that collaborated with Hashmi in last year’s The Killer, where they did unspeakable things to Michael Mann’s Collateral. Their philosophies towards filmmaking can be summed up in a line from Vishal’s assistant, who insists that his models should be in swimwear because, “Bikna hai to bikini chahiye.â€? Mistry and Hyderabadwala take this when-in-doubt-show-skin dictum so seriously that The Train opens with Anjali in the shower, her naked silhouette outlined through the glass door. Every other consideration is secondary – no relationship is believable, characters (like Rajat Bedi’s cop) appear and disappear with alarming suddenness, and every five minutes we’re stuck with a villain who thinks great acting is all about making bug eyes. (What begins as a relationship triangle becomes a thriller – blackmail, adultery, murder, the works.) Mistry and Hyderabadwala haven’t even bothered to change the tagline from Derailed: “Some lines should never be crossed.â€? Yeah – and some movies should never be watched.

Copyright ©2007 The New Sunday Express

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi