The Girl on the Train review: Fails to pack a punch

The Hindi film version of Paula Hawkin’s now cult classic, ‘The Girl on the Train’ not only veers away from what the basic idea of the novel is, but also makes it worse by making a ‘Bollywoodised’ version with shaadi and disco songs. This story is not an easy one to translate on screen, and the struggle to fit it into a stereotypical format shows.

Ribhu Dasgupta, who has written and directed the film, might have worked hard to make this palatable for Indian audiences, but what turned out was a mishmash of a film, that doesn’t really go beyond the surface.

Parineeti Chopra plays Meera Kapoor, an out of work lawyer who’s succumbed to alcoholism because of some tragic incidents in her life. Now estranged from her husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary), she pines for a normal life like she had in the past. Meera travels in a train that takes her through the place where Shekhar lives with his second wife. While trying to figure out Shekhar’s life, Meera gets fascinated by the seemingly perfect life of Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari), who stays with her husband, Anand, a few blocks away. Wittingly or unwittingly, Meera starts getting herself involved in Nusrat’s life.

The plot takes a twist when Nusrat goes missing. Even though Meera ends up being the suspect, she tries putting the jigsaw puzzle of Nusrat’s life together. Kirti Kulhari plays the female cop, who is in charge of Nusrat’s case.

Ribu’s narrative lacks the punch and the passion that a thriller of this kind badly requires. Even though Parineeti struggles hard to fit into the role of an alcoholic and an amnesia patient, it is rarely convincing. Perhaps a better execution would have helped her. Add to that dispassionate performances of smaller characters, the film never reaches the potential it is intended to reach. Avinash Tiwary has a charming presence but that’s about it. Kirti and he seem to be struggling to fit into the flawed narrative. Aditi Rao Hydari has a small role, but gives decent performance.

(The writer is Director - Quest Films/Quest Digital)

Title: The Girl on the Train

Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Avinash Tiwary, Aditi Rao Hydari, Kirti Kulhari, Tota Roy Chowdhury

Director: Ribhu Dasgupta

Platform: Netflix

Stars: three

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