UTV Motion Pictures today released the first trailer for the upcoming Rohit Shetty film, Chennai Express
starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone and it looks far better than I'd anticipated.
Shetty is known mostly for his gonzo masala action comedies like 2011's Singham, the Golmaal series, and Bol Bachchan, but Chennai Express looks like a slight departure from him due to one major factor, the inclusion of Bollywood's singular superstar, Shah Rukh Khan. SRK's participation in Chennai Express means that Shetty will have to class the joint up a little, as this star brings his own major cache along with him to the set, not to mention the fact that Chennai Express is being co-produced by SRK's Red Chillies Entertainment. The result is bound to be very interesting, and very likely extremely entertaining.
Chennai Express is a remarkable project for a number of reasons. The first reason is that this is the first Rohit Shetty film not to star Ajay Devgan. SRK is leagues beyond Devgan in terms of box office power, and Shetty has catapulted himself into the big leagues with his string of successes, so this may just be evolution. Devgan is still scheduled to appear in the fourth installment of the Golmaal series next year, so it doesn't seem to be personal. Another remarkable thing about the production is that it marks the first teaming of SRK and starlet Deepika Padukone since their record smashing Om Shanti Om in 2007. The last, and most interesting, fact to me is that this is the first major film to open on the Eid holiday without Salman Khan in four years.
Salman Khan has owned the Eid since the release of Wanted back in 2009. He followed that up with Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011), and Ek Tha Tiger (2013), all massive hits. Sallu's absence from the film calendar in 2013 opens up that spot for someone else to take a chance, and there are really only two people capable of opening a film of that magnitude, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. It's SRK this time around and it looks pretty solid.
Recent converts to Bollywood might be fooled by SRK's recent performances in melodramas like Jab Tak Hai Jaan, My Name is Khan, Chak De! India, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, etc... However, once upon a time SRK was a master of masala action, and for my money, it doesn't get much better than '90s SRK when it comes to pure entertainment value. When the guy stops trying to act, he can really perform, and Chennai Express looks like a return to those early days of endlessly entertaining films like Darr, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Karan Arjun, Ram Jaane, and Koyla. The mere sight of SRK walking away from a giant explosion with a half bloodied face gets me giddy. Needless to say, I'm really excited for this film. It looks like it plays to SRK's long abandoned strengths and the production value looks quite good.
Chennai Express opens worldwide on Eid, August 8th, 2013.
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