Director: Ashok Kohli
Cast: Leander Paes, Jimmy Shergill, Puja Bose, Shilpa Shukla, Gulshan Grover, Sudhanshu Pandey
b! Says: ½*
Rajdhani Express ruins Leander Paes for you
Sportsman or actor, every celebrity hits a low point in one’s career and when you touch rock bottom, retirement should be a serious option. However after watching ’Rajdhani Express’, we wonder if Leander Paes should be let off so easily for ruining the wonderful memories people have of him in one master act. Ashok Kohli directed ‘Rajdhani Express’ is an epic failure and we’re uncertain about how long Paes’s debut film will stay ‘Open’ at cineplexes.
Keshav (Leander Paes) boards a Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani train. His cabin companions are Priyanshu Chatterjee, Puja Bose and Sudhanshu Pandey. Their 17-hour-long journey gets interesting when they start playing a game, revealing their darkest secrets. Disgusted by the way he is being treated by his co-passengers and angered by humiliating memories of the past, Keshav pulls out a gun and threatens the lot. Will their train reach Mumbai without any casualties?
Five minutes into the film, you wonder why India ‘s ace tennis star even agreed to be associated with it. Paes hardly drums up more than a single expression (a constipated one, at that) throughout the entire film’s length. The initial excitement of seeing a sporting star on the big screen quickly subsides and with this movie, Paes does more harm than good to his legacy.
Other characters in the movie make little sense as well. Jimmy Shergill, who plays an ATS deputy commissioner (who thinks it’s important to trim his moustache in the middle of a case), is wasted. His character is unimpressive and unimportant to the storyline. His subordinate, Shilpa Shukla, does little more than hand Shergill’s character a file or two. Pandey, Bose and Chatterjee all play their parts decently, but sadly for them, the story is weak and so it all falls flat. Gulshan Grover as T.T. Sharma tries to put a smile on the audience’s face, but it’s too late to save this film by then.
After a disastrous debut at the box-office, we can’t help but think that, like on the tennis court, few will come forward to partner with Paes in Bollywood. Safe to say, a certain Mr Bhupathi is having the last laugh.
Do NOT watch ‘Rajdhani Express’. It will destroy your memories of a once-hero called Leander Paes.