The Girl on the Train: Dull Script, Subpar Acting


R E V I E W – M O V I E 


Fiana Islam


Parineeti Chopra’s The Girl on the Train is the Hindi adaptation of the bestselling novel by the British author Paula Hawkins of the same name. Although Emily Blunt has done a remarkable job as the protagonist Rachel in her 2016 Hollywood movie adaptation, Parineeti, by all means, has delivered a below-average performance despite having a healthy plot.

As a psychological thriller, director Ribhu Dasgupta’s The Girl on the Train in a way shifts the narrative from the main story of the original novel, along with mixing up some key characters. Parineeti Chopra plays Mira, a London settled lawyer who seems to struggle with her alcoholism and amnesia due to her divorce and sudden miscarriage. From the train ride that Mira takes daily to reach nowhere, she observes a girl from the train window called Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari) in one of the urban houses and feels this weird obsession for her happy life. Nusrat here is a foil character to Mira. She seems to have everything Mira wanted in her life with her ex-husband. Mysteriously, Nusrat gets murdered, and Mira becomes the prime suspect. The story moves on with the investigation of the murder case.

After releasing some good thrillers like Michael (2011) and Te3n (2016), director Ribhu Dasgupta has offered the audience a mediocre movie, and honestly this time his own narrative other than the original one looks decent. Despite the dull script or the characters’ below-average acting, The Girl on the Train is not “unwatchable”. There is no tension that appears as any murder mystery movie would have, but you will be able to finish it in one shot — all because of the overall ordinary yet dramatic execution.

As a protagonist, Parineeti’s hard work seems to evaporate in this movie quite visibly. Though in her debut film Ladies vs Ricky Bahl (2011) and others, she delivered a fantastic performance, an experienced actress like her failed to present the talent as Mira due to lack of proper direction. Her portrayal of an alcoholic lady was quite forced and over-exaggerated. To fit herself in an intoxicated role, she didn’t necessarily need to proceed with the permanent basis kohl-smeared eyes and polished outfits. But hats off to the makeup artists and the costume designers because the slightest details that they used to connect the themes with the characters are quite metaphorical.

Aditi Rao, in her flawless and innocent role of Nusrat, is always seen to dress in the light and soothing colours; whereas Mira shows herself in the most possible dark attires to hint her messy life. Moreover, detective Kaur’s (played by Kriti Kulhari) head turban too has a great significance which unfolds in the end. 

Well, let’s not spoil that. 

Mira’s ex-husband Shekhar is played by Avinash Tiwary, mostly known as Satya from Bulbul (2020). Unlike his other movies, like Ghost Stories (2020) and Laila Maznu (2018), this is the first time Avinash has played a role that consists of both the victim and victimiser; undoubtedly exciting and convincing. 

This adaptation mostly lacks a thoughtful script. The overall background narration in Parineeti’s voice doesn’t sound like her voice at all; this could be because of the deliberate lifting of her bubbly tone to a serious one. Some of the dialogues and scenes altogether are so minimising and unassembled. In one bar scene, Mira’s friend insisted her to have some alcohol to lighten up the mood, despite knowing that she already is a troubled alcoholic. In another one, Mira meets a random street punk and asks his help, and this guy, who has no prior introduction in the movie, replies, “Anything…just say the word.” Who does that? 

The music of this movie is simple and attractive. The background sound effects produced by Gilad Benamram are fairly thrilling and captivating. Songs like “Chhal Gaya ChhallaandMatlabi Yariyan” are well sung and descriptive, in accordance with the movie sequence. 

Overall, the filmmaking is not that bad. For a Bollywood remake, The Girl on the Train could be a lot better, maybe with some desi settings and screenplay without exploiting the plot. The potential it had is noticeable. With the acting, storyline, and songs, it might not fulfill all the expectations up to the mark but I would say it is still subtly enjoyable.  

A solid 3/5 from me. 

 


Fiana is a human-ish writer by day and a Scorpio coven witch by nightfall. Reach out to her @_ffikipedia_ to share any thoughts. 

 

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