Rail - Movie Review

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 17:15
Rail (2016)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Rail
Cast: Dhanush, Keerthy Suresh, Karunakaran, Thambi Ramaiah, Ganesh Venkatraman
Music by: D. Imman
Cinematography: Vetrivel Mahendran
Edited by: L.V.K. Doss
Banner: Aditya Movie Corporation
Producers: Aadi Reddy, Aditya Reddy
Written and directed by: Prabhu Solomon
Release date: September 22, 2016
Running time: 168 min

The entire story of 'Rail' unfolds inside and/or above a train. The lead pair, played by Dhanush (as Balli Sivaji, a vendor with the railway department) and Keerthy Suresh (as Saroja, a touch-up girl for an actress), are traveling in the Delhi-Chennai Express along with 740 other passengers.  

Hailing from a low-class background, Balli and Saroja start off wooing and shooing away the other, respectively. Saroja has a horrible voice (for a change, a heroine, that too a poor girl, has no talent), but she wants to make it big as a singer. Balli fakes it, gets her introduced to lyricist Sirivennela (friend Karunakaran doubles up as one), but soon the relationship falls apart when the girl realizes that Balli is a lier.  

Told in parallel along with this story are a few others: a Union Minister is in the train as he wasn't paid for a plane ticket by his unfriendly political bosses; head vendor Thambi Ramayya wants to woo actress Sirisha, but he ends up being taken for a ride by his angry subordinates out to teach him a lesson; a hot-headed, racist NSG commando (played by Harish Uttaman) makes Balli an enemy.  

These disparate stories keep us guessing as to what is in store. It's a drunk employee of the Railways who changes the game for the commuters of the ill-fated DC Express.  What is the solution and who will deliver it?  That's the climax.


'Rail' has an inherently exciting plot line. Prabhu Solomon, who made lovable films like 'Prema Khaidi' and 'Gajaraju', not only has well-written characters, but also gets the nuances right in the first half. Directors like him are expected to infuse comedy for good, but that comedy has to be organic. In 'Rail', the idea of comedy is stretched to absurd proportions. Take the example of Ganesh Venkatraman's character. As the clock ticks, he questions a fear-stricken Saroja for no logical reason. The reason he gives is baffling: the media has given its verdict on her and so, why take chances?

The director shows maturity in handling the railway control room proceedings immediately after the interval. However, as the film progresses, even this element is given a short shrift. The scene shifts too much and too often to a funny TV debate involving silly political spokespersons, taking its toll on intensity.

If this is not enough, the OB van of a TV channel is going as fast the train which is at its maximum speed! The director has a reason here too! He wants the audience to be entertained by the threatened passengers who are entertained by the LIVE telecast of what is happening to their train outside their sight. Meanwhile, his playful subordinates looking for an opportunity to torture Thambi Ramayya waste their time even as the clock ticks and guess what, professional cops indulge their circus!  

The film scores high in terms of Keerthy Suresh's very measured performance.Be it as a girl in pain of having been cheated by a stranger she thought is her friend or as a damsel incapable of saving many lives, she is very good. Dhanush is okay but here he doesn't deliver a 'Raghuvaran B.Tech' or even an 'Anekudu' kinda performance. Vetrivel Mahendran's cinematography and D Imman's BGM are good. The computer graphics part fizzles out.

Bottomline: 'Rail' is a romantic thriller gone wrong. The director thought the purity of two lovers brought out by the climax is enough to convince the audience. So he filled up with silly comedy track and made the movie with cheap graphics. Bore!

Reviewed by: 
Vishwanath V