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WELCOME ON MUMBAI XPRESS FOR A FUN RIDE
WELCOME ON MUMBAI XPRESS FOR A FUN RIDE

By Pankaj Shukla

Critic’s I-view

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It was way back in 1981 that a new hero from south conquered the Bollywood box office and hearts of millions with a tragic love story called 'Ek Duje Ke Liye'. The name was Kamal Hassan. Since then viewers of cinema in the cow belt have been affectionately associated with this emotional man, who is in news for his personal life as he remains with his reel life. It was four years back in 2001 that Kamal Hassan made his last Hindi film 'Abhay'. After that he was in the center of controversy for his film 'Virumandi' and then he made a comedy film 'Vasool Raja MBBS', a remake of hit Hindi film 'Munnabhai MBBS'.

Kamal Hassan's tryst with comedy continues in his new bilingual 'Mumbai Xpress'. He comes back with his 'Abhay's heroine Manisha Koirala. Kamal has done comedy in many of his Hindi films, either dubbed or made in original, in the past too. His 'Chachi 420' is still a hit among kids as well as the grown-ups. So, his fans have a lot of expectation from ' Mumbai Xpress'. Even at 51, Kamal Hassan has that punch in his acting that makes millions to sit and take note of him. Being a perfectionist he tries to emulate all that he can to make his role in the film look real. However, this time his character of a gangster with golden heart required a lot more of gimmicks besides some brilliant acting.

Kamal Hassan is undoubtedly one of the finest actors of the Indian film industry. In his new film, Kamal Hassan chooses a bunch of skilled professionals. Produced by Sahara One Motion Pictures 'Mumbai Xpress' is a take-off from his old films like 'Appoo Raja (dubbed version of 'Apoorva Sahodarargal') and 'Pushpak' (fist silent movie made in the talkie era in India). Director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao who was also the captain of these two films rejoins Kamal Hassan in 'Mumbai Xpress'. This film falls in the genre of comedy of error kind. Characters may not be as shining as today's world demands, but the basic idea is to make people laugh on the funny situation created by the mistakes of these characters. 'Mumbai Xpress' revolves around a kid called Daddu or Damodar. He is the son of single mother Ahilya (Manisha Koirala) who has brought him up on her own.

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The boy is kidnapped one day and this seems to be last crime of Digamber (Saurabh Shukla), because he did not think even in his weird dreams that this child will make his life upside down. Digamber hires a stunt man Avinash also called 'Mumbai Xpress' for his help. Avinash works in a touring mela and is least interested in all this.

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But as the saying goes that what has to happen will happen. So, things start falling down. Add nitty-gritty's of a police officer (Om Puri) that has been 'very' close to the mother of the kidnapped child and you get a picture where one cannot make out as to where the head and the tail of the story goes. All mayhem leads to another and things seem to be getting out of control. What follows is a thing to watch and not to be revealed here?

Made as bilingual in Hindi and Tamil, 'Mumbai Xpress' has turned his followers angry down south. News of protests has just come that his fans are angry over the name of the film. Maybe they thought 'Chennai Xpress' would have been more appropriate as he is the leading star from Tamil Nadu. But controversies and Kamal Hassan are synonymous. So, Kamal tries his best to win over his lost fans because of his two consecutive major flops 'Abhay' and 'Hey Ram'. If we talk about it's making, it's an average film to pass three hours at the weekend. The film may not be at par with 'Pushpak' and 'Appoo Raja', but one has to hold his stomach while laughing. And, that is only as long as Kamal Hassan is on the screen.

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The film drags as soon as the focus shifts to other characters. Saurabh Shukla and Om Puri try their best to keep tracks with Kamal Hassan, but Kamal Hassan being Kamal Hassan, it's impossible to emulate him. Manisha Koirala doesn't have much to do in the main story line; she just looks like a prop being used to glamorize (?) the content. But, the boy is marvelous. He may look like a dumbo in the beginning but as the story unfolds, you come to know that Kamal doesn't choose his colleagues just for the sake of it.

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Technically, 'Mumbai Xpress' is a brilliant film except for its music. Illayraja is yet to know what the entertainer from Bollywood requires. There is a lot of gizmo and techno music in his composition to do justice to the lyrics written by stalwarts of Hindi cinema. We don't know how the song was picturized on Rakhi Saawant and Moon Moon. It's not there in the film thanks to objections raised by the Censor Board. Made as fist digital film, 'Mumbai Xpress' falls short on the music front. Dialogues written by Saurabh Shukla do have punch but his lines too need to be fine-tuned to suit the taste of the family audience. On the whole, 'Mumbai Xpress' is welcome for those who have felt bored by the so-called artificial films. 'Mumbai Xpress' is more close to life and it's here where lies the hope for this film.

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