- Released on Netflix 26th February 2021
Ribhu Dasgupta’s remake of The Girl on the Train is a perfect example of how you shouldn’t add unnecessary masala. For those who are not aware the movie is based on the book of the same name written by Paula Hawkins. The book has already made been made into an English movie starring Emily Blunt. Ribhu Dasgupta takes the original source material and adds his own twists and turns. But the problem is that none of the twists are convincing. In fact it dilutes the impact of the book, which focused on the psychological trauma and the emotional abuse that the victim is unwittingly surrendering to. In totality this Hindi version feels choppy and is a huge letdown for those who enjoy murder mysteries.
The plot of the book revolved around an alcoholic Rachel who is recovering from a broken marriage and alcohol addiction. Her condition causes her to forget things in a state of inebriation. Every day she takes the train to London and passes by her former husband’s house, the husband now lives with his new family wife Anna and daughter Evie. While she is travelling Rachel catches glimpses of a seemingly perfect couple Scott and Megan from the window of her train. Things take a drastic turn when Rachel witnesses something shocking. This is the synopsis of the book.
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In the Hindi version Parineeti chopra plays Mira Kapoor. Mira Kapoor is an out of work lawyer and spends much of her time drinking and obsessing over her ex- husband Shekar played by Avinash tiwary and also his new wife. Mira’s alcoholism is out of control and as a result her work has suffered. The only thing which brings Mira solace is observing a woman called Nusrat on the balcony whom she sees everyday as she takes the train. She begins to fantasize about her and slowly she gets consumed by her. For Mira Nusrat represents what she has lost. But one day she sees her with a new man and Meera suspects her of having an extra- marital affair. She feels lot of anger towards Nusrat and in a drunken stupor decides to confront her. The next day news comes that Nusrat has died and Mira becomes the prime suspect.
The biggest problem with The Girl on the Train is the director’s inability to build on the source material. This can be best seen with the characterization of Avinash Tiwary. In the book the character of Rachel’s husband’s was built very well and as a result the character’s change over into the grey zone didn’t feel abrupt. But here the character has been sketchily written. The reasons for the behavior of Avinash Tiwary’s character isn’t convincing at all.
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You don’t at all understand why Shekar had to manipulate Mira into being an alcoholic. The relationship between them is hardly explored. Another thing is Shekar has an affair with another woman while he is married twice. Therefore he could have easily had an affair while he was in marriage with Mira. As a result of these factors the characterization of Avinash Tiwary just doesn’t make any sense.
The unnecessary deviations from the book don’t help the films cause either. The entire character of Kriti kulhari who has vendetta towards Mira just doesn’t make any sense. The character’s belief that her father was innocent and that Mira purposefully sent him to jail borders on naivety.
Honestly the film would have worked better if the director had struck to the original source instead of the unnecessary deviations. Because of the contrived ending and the implausible twists the emotional impact of the book is completely missing.
Parineeti chopra delivers a sincere performance and does her level best to elevate the material. Kriti Kulhari and Avinash Tiwary are let down by the poorly written characters. Aditi Rao hydari as Nursat doesn’t create any impact whatsoever. Her glazed look is a pain to watch. Others don’t even try.
On the whole The Girl on the Train is a train wreck which is best avoided.