Madgaon Express Review: Silly Done Right

Madgaon Express understands that its charm lies in its inherent silliness and then works around as pure unadulterated entertainment, which makes it imminently watchable, applauds Mayur Sanap.

I admit I enjoyed Madgaon Express more than I expected.

The zany comedy, which marks the directorial debut of actor Kunal Kemmu, has nothing particularly novel about its premise. Guns, goons, drugs, and a group of slackers — we have seen it all before.

A film like this is nothing more than an adult cartoon. Watching it from a critical perspective, dissecting it for realism, would be disservice to the experience that it offers.

This film, though, understands its charm lies in its inherent silliness and then works around as pure unadulterated entertainment, which makes it imminently watchable.

Fuelled by their common yearning for years, three childhood friends — Pinku, Ayush and Dodo (played by Pratik Gandhi, Avinash Tiwary and Divyendu) — embark on their dream vacation to Goa.

‘Goa jaana hai, yaar! Ab nahin jayege to kab jayenge?‘, they say while dreaming about ‘booze, babes, beaches.’

Earlier in the film, the title track of Dil Chahta Hai is played in the background. And why not, the choice of song might be deliberate as the film is backed by Farhan Akhtar, who defined friendship goals to an entire generation with his 2001 cult film.

The twist in the tale occurs when this all-boys trip turns into a nightmare as they stumble on a stash of cocaine in their hotel room, leading to a chain of bizarre events.

The chaotic adventure ensues as the trio gets entangled into the mishmash of a drug scandal, gangsters and police chases while they desperately look for a way out.

Kemmu, who previously flexed his comedic muscles in his acting outings, has also written the film.

It is interesting to see how he wields his comedic chops in a completely different form. His script is in-tune with the deliciously wacky premise that is jam-packed with timely jokes, sight gags and set pieces that would tickle to the audience’s sense of the preposterous.

It’s like a cross between a Pineapple Express and Lootcase (which stars Kemmu in the lead role), with numerous hilarious put-downs and sarcastic snapshots that are in-tune with the absurdities of the premise and its characters.

For all the drugs and a fair amount of gore in it, Madgaon Express is never crude or lewd. In fact, the film is strangely sweet, even when its eccentric characters are bleeding to death.

The film steers way from using profanities even when you see an outburst of the characters almost giving in to the same.

It maintains the pace of comedy pretty well, only except towards the finale where bullets and bone-crunching override the feel-good factor. But even then, the film keeps the humour blazing with crackling one-liners.

A big part of what makes Madgaon Express work is the lead cast. The individual performances are terrific but it’s the team dynamic that truly rocks.

If the attempt is to establish these characters as the banner’s hit comedy franchise Fukrey, the work is definitely well done.

Pratik Gandhi is endearing, and breathes so much innocence into his character as a wealthy NRI Gujju.

Avinash Tiwary takes a little while to warm up to his role, but when he finally gets there, it works really well.

Divyenndu flashes his wide grin as the sweet, stupid, emotionally puerile lad, who has a faster rate of churning lies.

They have a peachy chemistry, something that allows for the silly comedy going on while also giving us heartfelt moments of male bonding.

In the midst of humour and mishaps, these young adults, behaving as headless chickens, are also realising a strong friendship between them.

The supporting cast makes it all the better.

Upendra Limaye is a total hoot whose Mendoza Bhai is the extension of his bombastic avatar from Animal.

Chhaya Kadam, whom we last seen in Kiran Rao’s sublime Laapataa Ladies, displays her natural comedic flair as lady gangsta named Kanchan Kombdi and she dominates some really funny moments in the film.

For a change, Nora Fatehi gets a legit role to play and she is suitably affable.

Overall, Madgaon Express is an entertaining ride that is filled with light-hearted banter and a healthy dose of laughter. One would certainly want to see the return of principal characters, if a sequel is planned.

Madgaon Express Review Rediff Rating: