Director Ribhu Dasgupta’s take on the popular story is refreshing justifying the genre in the most of its length
The story is already popular. A novel and then a Hollywood film starring Emily Blunt. For those who have consumed the two would probably not find this Hindi film distinct in terms of content. For those who are totally new will definitely like this offering. The Girl On The Train in its Bollywood avatar is very good to watch, with many elements of a Bollywood film in place rightly. Still, it never takes the charm off the thriller genre and the murder mystery it primarily is. Also, please note that the makers have brought in an angle of their own, not present in the Blunt starrer. So it would be very interesting to watch this one nevertheless.
Watch the trailer here:
A troubled divorcee fixates on a seemingly ideal couple from afar (on her journey in a train) until a shocking observation sends her spiraling straight into a knotty murder case.
Adapted by Dasgupta himself, the film does interest you in its entirety. The dialogues are penned by Gaurav Shukla and Abhijeet Khuman with additional screenplay by Viddesh Malandkar. The most appealing part will remain its brisk screenplay wherein things are constantly offered to you without lingering on any one thing particularly. The girl meets the boy, they get married, a conflict is thrown at them, and the twists keep coming in- all of it in no time. Ofcourse, it does get a little slow mid way but never takes away the intrigue factor out.
The story talks of amnesia, murder, conspiracies, existential crisis, alcoholism, betrayal, tropes of human nature and seamlessly blends into a tale of grit and thrill. The film here, through the back and forth method of non-linear editing gives you that rush, accomplishing the essence of the original story. This stays as a good part that in an attempt to Bollywoodise the content, the core spirit of the story isn’t faded off. To show all these tricky emotions on screen is not a cakewalk, and by nature of the crisp writing, they all come across as matters of flair.
The twists in the plot are too many. Even till the last sequence of the film, you have a turn in the narrative, which most probably you don’t see coming. Ofcourse, of the major ones in this category is a little predictable, but only if you are a keen viewer of global thriller genre. By way of how things have been shown, you may guess some information. But even then, the other ones thrown at you frequently keep you in a spin all through, making you enjoy the drama well. You are invested nicely. The mission is thus accomplished.
Try it or not, you will be drawn to the colours and lighting in the film, for most of the part, setting the moods and tones right. The visual appeal of the film being stylised with high definitions for the sequences enhance the flavour and how you absorb the film. This has also been enabled through a smart camera at work with angles that complement the written twisted and dark plot points.
Parineeti Chopra, barring only a couple of scenes, is very very good. Far from the otherwise portrayed bubbly image of hers, she comes across as a fierce woman at times, a vulnerable one at other. As an actor, she gets a chance to display a wide range of emotions within the same bracket, and she makes sure she fits in all of them.
Aditi Rao Hydari has a relatively smaller role but she makes her marks with her vibrant persona. You like to see her on screen, as always and you wished there was more of her. She performs ably. Kirti Kulhari is also very good in the role of a policewoman. She has her defining moments as an upright cop.
Avinash Tiwary just keeps getting better with each film of his. He does fewer films, but he strikes gold whenever he does one. Also, over time now, he has shown us what all he is capable of. Just look at his filmography so far and you will realise that all his roles have been different from each other. Here also, he is too good.
Tota Roy Choudhary has a brief appearance and he is just okay.
There are three songs within the narrative and the best part is that while they play in the backdrop, they help to take the film forward. Good use of poetry and soothing music makes you want to stay while the song is on. You don’t lose the connect. Background score by Gilad Benamram is also good. It could be better however with a little more power in some sequences where it was needed.
Cinematography by Tribhuvan Babu Sadineni is one of the striking aspects of the film. The lighting and colour palette is something that you just can’t fail to notice. For the major part of the film, it rightly suits the story’s mood. The characters get more rooted because of how the background is at play. There are some shots where you may feel the usage of a particular colour doesn’t fit. But overall thankfully, that’s not the case. Production design by Sunil Nigvekar is also highly stylised as per the need of the film giving you visual richness. The usage of mirrors, stairs, the space within the houses- are all very thoughtfully utilised. The costumes also give the film an edge. A major portion of storytelling seems convincing because what is seen on screen is really alluring.
Editing by Sangeeth Prakash Varghese moves the non-linear way going back and forth almost all throughout the film. It works for the benefit of the film as you are not able to decide what is happening now or what already happened. Just like the characters, you too are confused about a lot of things and want clarity. Good editing engrosses you in the plot.
It’s a good watch in a risky genre. Those who like this genre will like this film for sure. Ofcourse, it’s not the most extraordinary piece you’ve seen. But it is a satisfying watch.