Ready Steady Poda

Chennai Express hit theatres this week, on the occasion formerly celebrated as SUV Nikaal, Bhai Ka Pikchurr Aayela Hai. The release brought joy to millions, because it meant that Shahrukh would finally stop with the zillion promotions that made the Ra.One marketing blitz look like a Baba Bangali poster.

Now here’s the problem with talking about Rohit Shetty films: Your criticism doesn’t matter, just like his scripts. I’ll make all the jokes I want, knowing full well that Rohit Shetty will read them on a golden toilet while pooping diamonds. (Although I don’t think these guys read anyone apart from the venerable Mr. Adarsh, who probably described the film as “DROOLTASTIC AMAZEBALLS ROHIT BHARO MAANG MERI BHARO!”)

Chennai Express runs for 143 minutes, where each minute feels like an hour spent with your nose wedged into a Dadar armpit. Thankfully Deepika looks smashing, whether she’s in a saree or a lungi. And because of that, I’ll be reminded of her every time I see a lungi, which will make things awkward between me and my nariyalwala.

The story follows a perfectly logical sequence of events: First, Shahrukh appears on screen. Well, not all of him. Just his spongy fefda being squeezed. There’s tar oozing out, along with a carton of cigarettes that he probably inhaled whole. Very realistic performance.

Shahrukh plays the 40-year-old Rahul, who tells us that he is single partly because his Dadaji blocked all his attempts at sexytime. The last time an old guy did that to Shahrukh, Aishwarya became a ghost and we witnessed the debut of Uday Chopra’s nipples.

Dadaji pops it pretty soon, and Dadi tells Rahul that he wanted his ashes to be scattered at Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu (pronounced ‘Kozhikode’). But this clashes with Rahul’s Goa plan, so he tricks Dadi into believing that he’s going to Rameshwaram by getting on – in his words – “koi bhi South India jaane wali train”. That train will also be taken by Deepika, or Meena, the daughter of a don called Durgeshwara Azhagusundaram (pronounced ‘Ooty’), who had run off to Mumbai to escape an arranged marriage to upcoming don, Tangaballi (pronounced ‘Giant protein shake in a kurta’).

The two meet in what is a funny take on the much-flogged DDLJ train sequence, giving you just a sliver of hope. Five seconds later, hope shoots itself in the face as SRK goes full hamtard, and you realise that this is the worst thing to have happened to the Indian Railways since Naxalites and IRCTC.

There’s a dazzling display of comic wizardry throughout the film. Much of it is based on linguistic mix-ups that you’ve never heard before. For example, what happens after Shahrukh is asked something that sounds like, “Tamil teri maa?”:

a) He spreads his arms

b) He reflects on what his films have come to, weeps, and spreads his arms

c) He says, “Meri maa ke baare mein kya bola?”, causing waves of laughter to erupt from people whose parents are siblings.

At one point, Shahrukh meets a midget wandering about in the forest, as if he were a Tamil Tyrion (Of House Lannistiyer. Sigil: Green card.) He communicates by making tock-tock noises, and this is hilarious in the Shettyverse because the Shettyverse is in Malana.

There’s also a great moment when Shahrukh lends Deepika his phone – a Lumia – but not without going off on a spiel about its awesome features, like the fact that it’s not a Blackberry. If Dharavi kids had pooled in and offered money, they could’ve gotten Shahrukh to belt out a Tum Toh Thehre Pardesi on the train, complete with clacking stones and TB.

This is the kind of achievement that some PPT-loving brand manager will flaunt for years to come. It’ll definitely go in his matrimonial ad:

WANTED: Fair, super-educated but homely girl for marketing manager who made the biggest superstar on the planet hawk his brand in the middle of a movie. DOWRY SAJA KE RAKHNA.

Chennai Express is supposedly an homage to DDLJ, in the same way that getting AIDS is an homage to Freddie Mercury. Some of the inside jokes are about films like Baazigar and Dil Se – reminders of what once set Khan apart from everyone. At almost 500 a ticket, this Shettyfication of Khan should come with a free drink or six. Or as a philosopher down South once said, “Apdi pode pode pode.”

(Note: This is my HT column dated 11th Aug 2013.)

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29 responses to “Ready Steady Poda

  1. “..nose wedged into a Dadar armpit..”Hilarious,

  2. Awesomesauce.EPICNESS!

  3. You are going to accomplish what Khans unstoppable marketing blitz couldn’t… make me watch the movie! Rates among the funniest, doing my best to share this. P.s. – All those golden toilets now come with crore-alerts that ping as the wonderboys poop and boy is Rohit’s commode pinging!

  4. I am a big SRK fan (yes even of the arms wide open sequences and all the hamming), still have to accept some of his recent movies have been all marketing, and no show. But this time, between the first half of Chennai express, and your blog about the same, I think I’ve got my money’s worth! 😛

  5. Why this perennial hatred towards Uday Chopra’s nipples? His acting talents are as diverse as Manmohan Singh’s speeches.

  6. Whatever the review, I went in with no expectations and actually had a good laugh and came out, glad it was not what passes off as comedy these days – double entendre dialogues!!! the end was cliched of course, but well…. the rest was still fun… Deepika surprises with her excellent comic timing and SRK – well he always overacts and still did like him too!!! fun movie!!

  7. Hmm. Acha likhte ho. Aur acha likh sakte ho, par yeh bhi badhiya likhe ho!

  8. Ashish,
    This was a really, really hilarious read dude. You almost killed me – I was LOL reading this review of yours. Keep it coming.

    Cheers!
    Harsh

  9. Genius.

    Best. Review. Ever.

  10. the movie is already bad, but this column is even worse!

  11. At one point, Shahrukh meets a midget wandering about in the forest, as if he were a Tamil Tyrion (Of House Lannistiyer. Sigil: Green card.) He communicates by making tock-tock noises, and this is hilarious in the Shettyverse because the Shettyverse is in Malana.

    — Hillarious Indeed. Thanks to you codebooks will need to change. Malana will be known as Bonda-Vikalp or some such Dhingnna-Falaana.

  12. Dude, you crack me up and how!!
    “SUV nikal, bhai ka pikchur…” and “rohit bharo maang meri bharo”
    Epic stuff.
    Keep writing.. 🙂

  13. “that this is the worst thing to have happened to the Indian Railways since Naxalites and IRCTC”.

    Well, if you did sit through the entire length of the film like I was forced to, these retards also tried to mock Rajnikanth in the end.

  14. Gems! Total gems! So many funny quips and analogies scattered throughout your hilarious review! Oh, how they tickle! 😀

  15. “Protein shake in a kurta” did it in for me. Crying out loud funny!

  16. Hilarious Stuff… Thankyou now i wont watch the movie even if someone offers me a free ticket. 🙂 Superb writing.. Keep it up..

  17. I bow to thee! Haven’t laughed this much in a while!

  18. The fact that this made laugh even more than watching Comedy nights with Kapil (read never) was enough to conclude to that this article kicked ass. The opening scene description is now my facebook status and i totally gaining popularity

  19. I would say a typical Rohit Shetty film

  20. “This is the kind of achievement that some PPT-loving brand manager will flaunt for years to come. It’ll definitely go in his matrimonial ad”

    Tell me about it. You should see the multiple orgasms the team is having in the office.

  21. I am a SRK fan but his recent movies have been quite a disappointment..for Chennai Express I had no expectations at all but had a few laughs while watching it. Your review has just added to the laughter. These lines are real gems:-

    And because of that, I’ll be reminded of her every time I see a lungi, which will make things awkward between me and my nariyalwala.

    Well, not all of him. Just his spongy fefda being squeezed.

    If Dharavi kids had pooled in and offered money, they could’ve gotten Shahrukh to belt out a Tum Toh Thehre Pardesi on the train, complete with clacking stones and TB.

  22. I promised myself I’ll be cynical and reserved about about reviews-that-think-they-are-oh-so-funny. I failed.

  23. well thinking of picking/posting your lines and DEFINETLY putting your name along with it 🙂

  24. I am sitting here laughing my lungs out at your witty comparisons and sarcasm! Good work dude

  25. I am really late here, but, amazing post.

    Especially,

    If Dharavi kids had pooled in and offered money, they could’ve gotten Shahrukh to belt out a Tum Toh Thehre Pardesi on the train, complete with clacking stones and TB.

    That day is not very far, I tell u.

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