"Don't underestimate the intelligence of common man," you literally want to bawl right back at Shah Rukh Khan as he repeats his statement (used excessively in promos) 'don't underestimate the power of common man' for the nth time during the film. Chennai Express maybe the big ticket, mega-budgeted flick that releases on Eid but the film clearly isn't a gift from SRK to his fans, instead is a mockery of his own once upon a time enjoyed stardom!
A take on Chetan Bhagat's 2 States, Chennai Express in short is a film about a North Indian guy Rahul (naam toh suna hi hoga?
) falling for a South Indian girl Meena (Deepika Padukone) amidst odd circumstances. How he overcomes all obstacles to win his love is what pretty much the film is all about.
The film starts off with a major fight sequence of the climax and a voice over of Shah Rukh Khan in a Surinder Sahani-esq of Rab De Bana Di Jodi tone follows soon after that takes you into a flashback and guides you pretty much throughout the film as if you wouldn't understand the story (or the lack of it) and screenplay otherwise.
One usually doesn't expect a great story in Rohit Shetty's films but when you have the superstar Shah Rukh Khan joining teams with him, it does bring about some anticipation but sadly, this film only disappoints for neither is it romantic nor funny.
The story is utterly hackneyed and stereotypical deriving inspiration from SRK's prior cult romantic films itself like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, so you have the same Raj-Simran train sequence turned into a spoof and repeated so many times that it fails to even make you smile. There are constant references to his other films as well Dil Se or My Name Is Khan but largely one sees the brutal assassination of DDLJ through and through.
Moreover, in the name of comedy, there's such extreme scales of buffoonery and hamming that after a point it becomes unbelievable that it's the same Shah Rukh Khan onscreen who once had the potential to mesmerize the audience completely.
Rohit Shetty doesn't quite get his backdrop right as well. Instead of Komban Village which gets the mention every second scene, Shetty conveniently re-uses the setting of Singham or Bol Bachchan both of which were shot in Wai as well just like Chennai Express.
Known for his stunts and action, Shetty does the typical car blowing scenes aplenty in this film but doesn't really give an over-the-top fight stunts to SRK like he did in case of Ajay Devgn in the past. However, that doesn't mean it's a good thing for Shetty instead just recreates the same old climax fight sequence of DDLJ albeit in a shoddy manner.
What's most disappointing is watching Shah Rukh Khan ham like never before. Right from spoofing his own films to flaring his nostrils, going cock-eyed, doing his famous sideway tilt SRK stuffs everything in one film and unfortunately nothing leaves an impact with the audience.
Deepika on the other hand is the only good part about the film. The dimpled beauty doesn't lose her character or her accent even for once in the film (except for the songs which again isn't her fault but the director's) and also gets her comic timing right. One sequence that can leave you in splits is her sleep-talking scene.
Nikitin Dhir as the antagonist doesn't get much to do but he does a decent job in getting his look right. Mukesh Tiwari gets completely wasted.
Music by Vishal-Shekhar is average and the Lungi Dance by Yo Yo Honey Singh which comes right at the end is the only number which will make you dance on your seats.
Final verdict, Chennai Express is unfunny and probably one of the weakest Shah Rukh Khan films.