Madgaon Express review: A belly-aching comedy that makes the trip to the theatre worth it

Sakshi Sharma
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Madgaon Express

Madgaon Express

Madgaon Express review: Kunal Kemmu's buddy comedy film brings back the nostalgia with this laugh-out-loud kinda situational comedy that doesn't try too hard with gags! 

We've been craving a good situational comedy for a while now, one that doesn't try too hard to make us laugh with its unfunny gags, demeaning and sexist jokes, and nothing more to say. In that sense, Madgaon Express was a pleasant surprise because it's not just a comedy based on three friends taking a trip but a situational comedy that will make you laugh while also making you nostalgic. One can say that this film is a spoof of DCH and ZNMD combined and is the perfect blend of old-school comedy with a new-age perception. 

The story isn't something you haven't seen before; instead, the film heavily relies on the millennial's collective experiences of growing up with films like Dil Chahta Hai. That gave us all our childhood dreams of going on a trip to Goa with our friends, which was never fulfilled as the trip never really panned out either because of our parents or because of life happening to us! We have three chaddi-buddies here, Dhanush aka Dodo (Divyendu Sharma), a poor unemployed living with his dad, Ayush (Avinash Tiwary), a typical hero-looking successful bachelor living in New York, and Partik (Pratik Gandhi), a pampered-child living in Cape Town taking his family business ahead. And these three, just like us, after drifting apart and many failed plans over the years, met each other again in 2015 and planned to go to Goa. However, there is a slight twist as Ayush and Pratik are fooled by Dodo, who takes them to Goa via the Madgaon Express train. On the platform, Pratik accidentally exchanges his bag with a smuggler. Hence, upon reaching Goa, the trouble starts unfolding. 

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This film hits much closer to home for all millennials because while it borrows from cult-status friendship films like DCH and ZNMD, it converts the aspirational aspect of these beloved films to a relatable lived-in reality. Kunal Kemmu understands that life isn't like cinemas, so he shows that going to Goa doesn't look exactly like it does in films! Not everyone can go for go-karting alone, drink beer in the middle of the afternoon, or bask in the sun's glory isn't what we imagined. Given that Madgaon Express is also an Excel Entertainment production, borrowing from its previously produced films makes it more accessible for the film. Lakshya's BGM plays as a background score when Dodo gives an inspiring desh bhakt speech to NRI returns Ayush and Pratik when they complain about the unhygienic part of traveling in a train's sleeper class. 

As a debutant director and writer, Kunal reigns in his experience from working in films as an actor or takes inspiration from other films. Goa starts to look filmy when the drugs hit, and in a Hangover style, an eventful night leads to a confusing morning where the three find themselves in a bed full of cocaine to deal with. You can also see glimpses of Go Goa Gone, Lootcase, Godfather, Dhoom, Golmaal, Dhamaal and many other films. The film draws its humor from slapstick comedy and being silly and old-school, where stereotypes and nonsensical things bring laughter without devaluing anything. It's the sort of sense of humor that we are too shy to admit we miss! The awakening of Pratik Gandhi's split personality where he goes from a pampered cry-baby to a Singham/Rambo in a second as soon as he gets in touch with cocaine, the Komdi fisherwomen mafia gang wearing shoes, sarees, and guns on their waist and scaring everyone, gangsters who kidnap while taking an afternoon nap after eating a heavy meal, guns that backfire, men dressed as women and much more. Even Nora Fatehi's arc goes beyond just being a hot girl dancing where she's a simple girl stuck unnecessarily between all of them. 

But amidst all the humor, the film also has a heart that connects you to each character. Dodo has a heartfelt confession about living a life full of lies, posting photoshopped pictures on social media, and how hard it has been keeping up appearances. A mama's boy, Pratik, confesses how difficult it is for him to fall in love with a girl from a different religion. Ayush confesses about never experiencing the love and loneliness of living alone. Even the madness caused by the rivalry between Kanchan Komdi and Mendoza Don has a crazily touching backstory. 

The cast is extremely funny and diligent at executing their characters. Divyendu reminds of his liquid days (Pyaar Ka Punchnama), and it's highly interesting to see Pratik Gandhi and Avinash Tiwary in such comically light and different roles. But Chhaya Kadam (Kanchan) and Upendra Limaye (Mendoza) steal the show away. Even Remo D'souza is in for a cool cameo! Punchlines and pop culture references are derived from weird, wacky situations and not the other way around in this film. Call it an old wine in a new bottle, this film's nostalgia will hit you hard, and maybe that's why this was an experience we craved for a long time! 

Madgaon Express is currently running in theatres! 

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Farhan Akhtar Kunal Kemmu Avinash Tiwary Pratik Gandhi divyendu sharma madgaon express