Parineeti Chopra started off brilliantly with bubbly and light-hearted roles and this became her trademark. After a hiatus, she is back and her 2.0 cinematic avatar promises to be unlike anything she has done in the past. The Girl on the Train is the first film of her new era. The film was scheduled to release in theaters on Mother’s Day 2020. But due to the pandemic, it has made its way to Netflix. So does The Girl on the Train manage to impress the audience and have a thrilling time? Or does it fail in its attempt? Let’s analyze.
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Girl in the Train is the story of a troubled alcoholic who gets involved in the murder of a girl he hardly knows. Meera Kapoor (Parineeti Chopra), who lives in London, is happily married to Shekhar (Avinash Tiwari). Mira takes up the case of an African man who is killed in a shootout. He then receives threats from the family of accused Jimmy Baga. Nevertheless, she proves in court that Jimmy is the killer. Jimmy Baga is sent to jail. On the same day Meera learns that she is pregnant. 6 months later, Mira is in a happy place as motherhood is something she deeply aspires to. Unfortunately, Meera and Shekhar get into a car accident. Meera has a miscarriage. Her doctor tells her that she is not fit to conceive again. Meera breaks down and turns to alcohol to deal with the loss. She drinks so much that she becomes violent and suffers from blackouts. And then the next day he doesn’t remember anything. While he is intoxicated, Meera assaults Shekhar and also insults his boss, due to which Shekhar is fired. Shekhar finally divorces Meera. Meera also loses her job. With nothing else to do in life, she begins traveling by train from London to its suburbs and back. On the way, she crosses the place where her house with Shekhar is located. However, right next to Shekhar’s house, Meera sees Nusrat John (Aditi Rao Hydari). Meera keeps watching her whenever her train passes near her house. Meera sees Nusrat leading a lovely married life with Anand Joshi (Simon Ahmed). She also sees Nusrat dancing carelessly in the world. Meera wishes that she would have a life like Nusrat. However, one day Meera sees Nusrat hugging someone who is not her husband. The way Nusrat hugs, she realizes that she is having an affair. Meera broke down. The perfect image of Nusrat that she had created in her mind has been shattered and this has angered her. She feels that she should not cheat on her husband as she knows the pain. This is because Shekhar also started an affair with Anjali (Natasha Benton), with whom he is now happily married. So Meera decides to teach Nusrat a lesson. She goes to the latter’s house but the house remains locked. Then she sees him in the nearby forest. Meera accuses him and then blacks out. Meera wakes up at her home with a wound on her forehead and no memory of the previous night. Nusrat goes missing the next day. Officer Kaur (Kirti Kulhari) comes on board to investigate. During his investigation, he learns that Meera had come to meet Nusrat in anger and hence, Meera becomes the prime suspect. A few days later Nusrat’s body was found in the same forest. What happens next becomes the rest of the story.
The Girl on the Train is based on the 2016 Hollywood film of the same name, which was adapted from the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins. The Hindi remake is not a scene-by-scene remake of the Emily Blunt-starrer and the makers have added new characters and plot points, which will surprise those who have watched the original film. Ribhu Dasgupta’s screenplay (additional screenplay by Videsh Malandkar) is average. Although it is entertaining and fast-paced, there is no character development of the supporting characters. The dialogues of Gaurav Shukla and Abhijeet Khuman are excellent.
Ribhu Dasgupta’s direction is not good. Talking about the merits, he manages to woo the audience. There is a lot going on in the film and he does not let the audience’s attention wander even for a moment. There was a lot of non-linear narrative in the original flick. Ribhu simplifies this to a great extent. Some of the scenes are extraordinary and at the same time, he manages to extract the best performance from his actors. On the flipside, he mainly puts all the attention on Parineeti Chopra’s character. The original film also focused on the supporting characters and their backstories, and the dynamics between the various characters. Here, it doesn’t suffice. Even those who haven’t seen the original will feel the loophole and won’t be able to connect with some of the characters. Also, the ending has been changed from the original film and novel. Ribhu has added a double twist. The effort doesn’t really work because the original, second twist is flawed and full of cinematic liberties.
Parineeti on The Girl On The Train: “I just fell on the floor and I burst into tears, I started…”
The girl on the train starts an interesting note. In the first 20 minutes, the makers presented the trajectory in Meera’s rollercoaster life. The parallel track of Nusrat’s disappearance is also interesting. As the film progresses, more and more characters are added to the story. But one realizes that they don’t have much to do. This hinders the effect to a great extent. Still, various developments in the last 45 minutes are on the edge of seats. The ending should have been the best part of the venture, but instead, it’s devoid of logic.
Parineeti Chopra has acted brilliantly and will definitely benefit from this film. She surprises the audience as she has never entered the field before and she manages to put on a solid performance. As a chronic alcoholic, she is good enough. Kirti Kulhari shines with her screen presence and dialogue delivery. Aditi Rao Hydari is lovely and one wishes she had a bigger role, especially since her character is crucial to the plot. Avinash Tiwari is dependable as always. Natasha Benton and Simon Ahmed don’t get any scope at all. The same goes for Tota Roy Chowdhury (Dr. Hamid). Visakh Vadgama (Kunal; junior police officer), Diljohn Singh (Rajeev), Monisha Hassan (Zehra; Shekhar’s boss) and Suresh Sippy (Meera’s doctor) are fine.
Music is surprisingly good but it doesn’t have a shelf life. ‘Chhal Gaya Chhalla’ Quite attractive. ‘Meanwhile friends’ Well woven with the narrative. ‘Tu Meri Rani’ worth forgetting. Gilead Benaram’s background score adds to the thrill.
Tribhuvan Babu Sadaneni’s cinematography is simple yet effective. Sunil Nigvekar’s production design is rich. The costumes of Subodh Srivastava and Sanam Ratansi are very attractive and yet realistic and harmonize with the respective personality of the character. Mithali Vakil’s makeup is commendable, especially the wound on Parineeti’s forehead. Music Editing by Prakash Varghese is slick.
Overall, the girl in the train is an average fare. It impresses because of its fast-paced narrative and performances, especially Parineeti Chopra. But the lack of character development and flawed climax proves detrimental.