The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train Review: Bollywood formula betting reduced thrills

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Desi film on the foreign book. The novel The Girl on the Train was published in the UK-US in 2015. This novel by Zimbabwe-born British author Paula Hawkins was based on the lives of three women amidst domestic violence, alcohol and drugs. In 2016, it was made a psychological thriller film in the US and was successful at the box office.
Now writer-director Ribhu Dasgupta has made it in Bollywood style in Hindi. The question is when the English film is available on Netflix and other platforms, why was it made in Hindi. While the writer-director has kept Meera (Parineeti Chopra) and other characters and events in Britain.

Had the story been moulded in the Indian country-time-environment, it would have been understood that Dasgupta has tried something new, but it is not so. He only made the characters of Indian origin understand that the film was made in Hindi. Whereas there is nothing here that the home audience can connect with. Parineeti Chopra’s stardom or acting talent is also not such that a hook is born in her mind to see her. The director has given the delicate beauty actress Kirti Kulhari such a bad manly get-up that laughs. It would have been better to have this role done by a male actor.

As writer-director Ribhu Dasgupta made the first film named Michael ten years ago with Naseeruddin Shah. He was the director of a few episodes of the super flop serial Yudh about Amitabh Bachchan. He then remade a Korean film with Amitabh as a trio (2016). Ribhu also directed the flop series Bard of Blood by Shahrukh Khan’s company Redchili’s which came on Netflix in 2019. He could not do anything better in The Girl on the Train.

The film does not tie anywhere and the focus is more on the camera than its script. Advocate Meera divorces Parineeti from her cardiologist husband Shekhar Kapur (Avinash Tiwari) as Meera has started drinking too much after the death of her unborn child in an accident. After drinking it, he does not know what to do. She also leaves the practice and roams the entire day from here to there on the train. From the train, Meera sees her old house and there is a pleasant Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari).

On seeing her, Meera remembers her beautiful days. After the accident, Meera has become a victim of a disease called Entrograde Amnesia. In which the memory of a thing/incident remains for some time only. Then one day she finds that the police are behind her because Nusrat has been killed. Nusrat was pregnant. In CCTV, Meera is seen angrily thrashing at her door and the blood clots found in the forest behind Nusrat’s house and the evidence found near the corpse bear witness to her being there. But Meera does not remember anything. What is the truth, the girl on the train reveals this mystery to us.

The Girl on the Train is a successful novel and Hollywood film, but Ribhu’s remake does not impress. The reason for this is that the era of watching Indian characters on foreign land has passed with Shahrukh Khan’s dull stardom. The problem of domestic violence, alcohol and drugs in the film is so glaring that its effect does not arise in the story itself. The dialogues of the film are peculiar.

As the pregnant Meera tells her husband, “I don’t want a baby, Bachchan.” Meera is a fan of Bachchan. In one place, divorced Meera’s friend tells her, “Divorce is a sign that the woman is strong and will not tolerate the husband’s useless things.” Divorce is not the only reason. It is clear from the dialogue that the director has seen the divorce superficially. The thrill of the film is destroyed in Bollywood formulas, bad scripts, light dialogues and long scenes.

Even after completing ten years in the film industry with The Girl on the Train, Parineeti has no such character to be remembered for her ability. In this film, she is seen almost full time with Kajal-walled eyes and a fluffy face. The problem, confusion or discomfort of not remembering things does not stop in their face.

Aditi Rao Hydari’s career never picked up from Delhi 6 (2009) to Dasdev (2018) and today she has become a second-lead heroine in films. Here too, his share was not much to do. Avinash Tiwari definitely impresses but there is no place for actors like him in Hindi star films. When so-called A-grade actresses are not found for alleged A-grade actresses like Parineeti in heroine-oriented films, then heroes like Avinash are taken.