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Madgaon Express Review – Kunal Kemmu, where were you all these years?

Madgaon Express never takes itself seriously enough to commit to anything, which is why it succeeds in almost every aspect.

3.5/5rating
Madgaon Express Review – Kunal Kemmu, where were you all these years?
Madgaon Express Review

Last Updated: 10.03 AM, Mar 22, 2024

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Three teenage boys, freshly impacted by Dil Chahta Hai, dream of a perfect Goa vacation but never really manage to go on one until they are all in their early 30s (Avinash Tiwary, Pratik Gandhi, and Divyenndu). After misplacing their bag and encountering a drug, they become entangled in the web of two drug syndicates, with the police pursuing them all. How will these three manage to come out safe from this comedy of errors that forms the narrative of Madgaon Express. 

Madgaon Express Review: 

The impact of Dil Chahta Hai on our lives is immense. I have a picture of myself with two close friends on Fort Chapora, and the legacy of the movie will continue to endure. Pal movies that come after that are all inevitably compared to the Farhan Akhtar directorial, and there is no way that is stopping anytime soon. How can a movie about friends on a trip to Goa avoid drawing comparisons to the classic? Ask debutant writer-director Kunal Kemmu, who, with the same production house that made the Aamir Khan starrer, made an antithesis to the movie and made it so hilarious that even Nora Fatehi kind of felt the perfect casting. 

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Madgaon Express, which marks the entry of Kunal Kemmu into a new dimension of his career, is a story that walks on a very thin rope where the chances of going wrong are much greater than those of going right. Because the game is filled with stereotypical characters, the task is to make something very fresh out of it. There is no doubt that the makers were so confident about this product that it looked like a normal comedy on the face of it, but there is nothing normal about it. Kunal, who himself has worked in some of the films made in the same genre and blueprint, has been a part of Dhol; he is an active member of the Golmaal franchise; and if those films have helped him in anything, it has to be this day where he makes a movie that is a homage to those and progresses in the right direction. 

Right between the pool of films that want to give some message, here is Kunal Kemmu not wanting you to take the movie seriously at all. He is only committed to creating a comedy that is relevant and beyond the WhatsApp jokes we have moved away from now. Even when the jokes go the WhatsApp way, he knows what timing can make them work. Madgaon Express is entertaining to the core and holds your attention from the word go. The humor is so cunning and well-placed that you have to surrender. Even in the portion where the screenplay flickers a bit, and it does, the humor is very much intact, and by then you have hooked your hopes, and Kunal collects his movie and gets back on track. 

The power of Madgaon Express lies in the fact that it is talking to its viewers, minus all the calculations that many recent movies have looked at and faltered. It is a movie that is made with a whole lot of heart and jokes.  But that doesn’t mean emotions are sidelined. The way Kunal looks at the loneliness of his three lead men is commendable. The casting at this point feels impeccable. You know these three men are capable of acting in emotional parts, but when they show their magic at comedy, you are caught off guard. Avinash Tiwary’s charm does work here, and the way Kunal uses it is interesting. Pratik Gandhi is surprising, as Pratik is a man who is oppressed by his family. Divyenndu wins the biggest piece of the pie as he gives one of the best performances of his career. The range is from Mirzapur to Madgaon Express and everything in between.

Kunal Kemmu’s directorial vision is seen in how he places Nora Fatehi. You know acting isn’t one of her strongest virtues, but the way she is positioned in the script makes her part and her look so apt. Madgaon Express works primarily because it is relatable. It is aspirational, but it also knows the audience it wants to tap into. It is not taking bites bigger than what it can chew, and that is how one must approach genres that deserve a less-is-more approach. 

The climax, however, feels a little underwhelming given the chaos that is created. But I also understand that Kunal is looking at this movie as a piece of real life, and the climax will not be the generic jazz we have seen all these years. Even when the movie dibs a bit post-interval, it still has light moments that keep you hooked, and that should be appreciated. 

Ankur Tewari has a song that does wonders for Divyenndu's character, and the rest of the songs land well. The all-together vibe of Madgaon Express is vibrant, and the slapstick humor, even when it feels like it is already seen, is still hilarious. This is one of those movies where you are not told to kill the logic but are also supposed to suspend your disbelief. 

Madgaon Express Review: Final Verdict

Kunal Kemmu needs to tell us why he never tried his hands at this before, because if he can create this with his debut film, it should have happened long ago. Madgaon Express is a film that deserves attention, and you need to book that ticket right away.

Madgaon Express releases on March 22, 2024 in theatres near you. Stay tuned to OTTplay for more reviews and and everything from the world of streaming and films.

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