Madgaon Express is one madcap ride

Avinash Tiwary, Pratik Gandhi and Divyenndu Sharma in Madgaon Express. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Hats off to you, Kunal Kemmu. I had already gauged the power of your pen when you wrote the dialogues (which were filled with a treasury of unforgettable one-liners) of one of our greatest comedies, Go Goa Gone, all of 11 years ago.

What took you so long to go further? As a first time story and screenplay writer and a debut director, you have found, I dare say, your true forte (You also turn lyricist, composer and singer here!). Never mind that, as a dialogues writer, you continue to shine. Also, you have proved your worth as a child actor and hero (as in Kalyug as well as the diametrically-opposite Golmaal franchise) and in this film, your acting cameo is achingly funny.

For viewers, Madgaon Express is truly worth the ticket. It shines as an entertainer that is youthful and contemporary and yet avoids all the ‘No-Nos’ like sleaze and unpalatable violence. It gives us clear indications that Kunal Kemmu has been clearly inspired by Go Goa Gone and yet taken it as ‘true’ inspiration—that means, simply, a base on which to structure a new but almost equally rib-tickling movie. Admittedly, the second half could have been tighter and shorter, but the end result is good and the post-climax featuring Kunal himself downright hilarious.

The story begins in Mumbai, where three adolescents dream of visiting Goa for all that it offers. But matters fructify only much later. Dodo (Divyenndu Sharma), a lower middle-class Maharashtrian from an uber-conservative family, is forlorn, split from his two bosom buddies, Pinku (Pratik Gandhi) and Ayush (Avinash Tiwary). Both are now based abroad and doing well. The ingenious Dodo (what a paradox, that!) creates a virtual universe around him online, in which he is an ultra-prosperous man with limousines and a palatial home. He remains in touch with them through his laptop.

When the three plan a reunion in Goa (obviously!), Dodo ingeniously deflects them from seeing his luxurious home and books second-class railway tickets to the destination via Madgaon Express, telling them that he wants to relive their past days when they first wanted to visit the place.

At the station, Pratik’s handbag (largely containing his allergy-to-dust medicines!) gets exchanged with that of a man who is carrying a gun and cash. This, together with their first visit to a pub, gets them into unspeakable and crazy situations in Goa. A dishy young girl named Tasha (Nora Fatehi) decides to help them.

The shenanigans soon go on to include a don named Mendonca (Upendra Limaye), who is estranged from his wife, Kanchan Kombdi (the latter word meaning chicken!), who runs a rival crime syndicate of female gangsters. The owner of the handbag is also after the three boys, and the frenzied craziness gets more and more dizzy…

Unadulterated in its intention to entertain, Madgaon Express revels also in uninhibited performances by the cast—Divyenndu steals the histrionic show, Avinash Tiwary is superb as the understated Ayush, while Pratik Gandhi, as the over-the-top Gujarati, Pinku, is also impressive, especially in the sequence where he consumes drugs by default.

The formidable Upendra Limaye (recently of Animal fame) and Chhaya Kadam (as his wife) are fantastic. Sameer Patil as Dodo’s father, Raviraj Kande as the man with the gun and Vipul Deshpande as the inspector also impress in their limited roles.

Thankfully, the music is of the lip-sync kind with ingenious placements like dream sequences. And the background score (Sameer Uddin) is also pleasantly in sync with the screwball happenings.

I would not miss this mad expedition where the difference between a dream vacation and the nightmarish result is just a difference in degrees—but all 180 of them!!

Excel Entertainment’s Madgaon Express  Produced by: Ritesh Sidhwani & Farhan Akhtar  Written & Directed by: Kunal Kemmu  Music: Ankur Tewari, Sharib-Toshi, Kunal Kemmu, Sagar Desai, Sameer Uddin & Ajay-Atul  Starring: Divyenndu Sharma, Pratik Gandhi, Avinash Tiwary, Nora Fatehi, Upendra Limaye, Chhaya Kadam, Sameer Patil, Alpana Buch, Raviraj Kande, Vipul Deshpande, Aradhana Sharma, Monnica Rae Laher, Sp. App.: Kunal Kemmu, Remo D’Souza & others





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