Movie : The Train
Cast: Mammootty, Jayasurya, AR. Rahman
Can a movie be made by creating a narrative, portraying 129 phone calls made between its lead players? If you have the least doubt on the feasibility of this idea, ask Jayaraj. He will answer it by asking you to watch his latest movie ‘The train’.In its attempts to keeps the budgets low by shooting one actor at a time, connected only by phones and messages that flow far and wide,’ The Train’ is another superficial attempt by the director to create a doze of freshness, which fails to translate into an interesting movie.
Based on the infamous chain bomb blasts that shook Mumbai and its railway stations killing hundreds a few years ago, the movie tells the life of few Malayalees who had the ill-fate to be in the receiving end of all agonies. In the five main tracks, told without much competency, we have Jayasuriya as karthick, an aspiring singer who dreams of lending his voice to a track set to music by AR Rehman. On the very day of the blasts he gets an offer to attend an audition for a Rehman song and embarks on a train to Chennai. And there is one girl who is diverted to life by a unintended call from Karthick, who later loves to meet him on the same day. One child locked in the safety of a big metro flat is on the attempt to somehow bring his grandfather, now staying in an old age home, to attend his birthday. In the third track is Suhana (Sabitha jayaraj) who is trying to get the pension money from the authorities, to pay for the tickets and to send her grandfather to Holly Hajj. In the same Mumbai metro are a group of eight, all set to create humgama by planting ‘pressure cooker bombs’ in seven moving trains. And there is this shrewd, upright ATS officer Kedarnatah( Played by Mammootty), who is always after suspicious faces in his lookout for those who create troubles in the city. ‘The train’ thus goes on a flashback through the lives of these few on the very day of the blast, from morning six to the evening six, till the actual blasts happen.
Following the likes of some well made Hindi movies on the similar subject like ‘Mumbai Meri Jaan’, the parallel narratives in ‘The train’ are something that interests a few and disinterest much of the viewers at the same time, as they just doesn’t turn out as exciting as the one-line concept. The problem here is that we don’t feel any life in some off these tracks, which seems stretched and unwanted after a promising start. 95 percent of the shots in the movie have only one of its players on screen at a time and they communicate with each other all through phones. All major incidents in the movie are this routed through phone calls—the bomb planting, investigations, and all to the extent that if this gadget was never discovered, this movie couldn’t have happened.
Most of the shots in the movie are recorded in real lights and the cameramen Seenu Murukkumpuzha and Thanu balak would have been to their worst nightmares to have shot the movie with such limited lights and time. Even in that conditions, they deliver a much quality product, as far as the visuals are concerned, though there are jarring tonal shifts, poorly lit sequences, and many rough out of focus edges. It is high time that director Jayaraj must give away his shoddy shooting methods to cut down budgets and concentrate on making quality frames that shows the richness of movie making.Otherwise, Jayaraj will end up making maximum films, but most will be exercises in boredom and monotony, like the case with ‘The train’.
In the acting front, Jayaraj has used mostly unknown actors to fill the frame, except for Mammooty and jayasuriya. The megastar is wasted in an unwanted role, which could have been done by any other actor. We bet, with the shooting pace of Jayaraj’, Mammootty would have completed his portions in the movie in just below a week’s time or even much lesser. But when the product with such an ordinary role appear on screen as a Mammooty film, it is the commercial value of the actor that gets deteriorated. jayasuriya is cast in a better role as the wannabe playback singer.Angale Sabarwal is ok as Karthick’s love interest. Sabitha jayaraj don’t have any emotions on her face, while the rest of the cast including Jagathy, Saikumar and co just manages to be in the roles, they are on.
The highlight of the movie is the six good songs by Sreenivas, all of which are special in some manner But apart a couple, Jayraj has used the most in the unwanted areas, which has resulted in poor appreciation for the music department. Gopisundar’s BG scores are effective in some sequences. The editing department by Vivek Harshan seems to have overworked to create some kind of flow for the movie, bust fails due to the demands of needed shots.
In the Box Office , ‘The train’ may fall off from its rails within a couple of weeks run. Considering the wide array of experience the director has in directing every genres in Mollywood, ‘The train’ could have been much, much better if it were visualized with more interesting, well developed characters and sequences.