The Girl on the Train premiered on 26th February 2021 on Netflix. Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, the film is the official Hindi adaptation of the 2016 English film of the same title which was further adapted from a 2015 novel by British author Paula Hawkin with the same title. The 120-minute-long Hindi adaptation stars Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Rao Hydari, Kirti Kulhari, Avinash Tiwari, and Tota Roy Chowdhury alongside other cast members.
Trauma And Its Aftermath
The Girl on the Train revolves around the life of Lawyer Mira Kapoor (Parineeti Chopra) who has a seemingly happy life but soon after she suffers a miscarriage, her downward spiral with alcohol abuse begins which inturn sabotages her relationship with her husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwari). As the story continues, Mira forms an uncalled for relationship with Nusrat John (Aditi Rao Hydari), a girl whom she encounters every day as she travels on the train.
She is perfect to Mira until one day when she sees something she never thought she would and seeks out answers. An alcoholic with retrograde amnesia, Mira, furthermore, gets embroiled in a murder conspiracy and her amnesia is here only to make matters worse causing her to doubt her own violent abilities. This happens all the while falling further down in the spiral of murder mystery and loss.
For those of you who have read the novel, it mostly relies on an unreliable narrator who herself is unsure of the truth and the stories often change, but The Girl on the Train does not work through this dispute between true and false, and the entire storyline becomes a hollow journey of nothingness (I wish the movie was as existential as this sentence!) While I understand the fact that stories and adaptations are to be reconstructed according to their demographic, the Hindi adaptation in no way does that but at the same time loses its substance in an attempt to do so.
The film is feeble in terms of its execution and does no justice to neither the 2016 film nor the novel. There are some major absurd points in the film like police randomly stopping Mira on the road and having a full-blown conversation there, Mira talking in Hindi as she vents in a people’s anonymous self-help group in London, Mira roaming around with an uncovered, big bloody wound and nobody even pointing it out even once, as if that’s something normal, and last but not the least Mira going to the crime sight, railway station, dealers, and literally everywhere and still not getting caught! Slick.
The Girl on the Train can be put under the banner of films that has a good supporting cast but bad execution and script.
Aditi Rao Hydari is a talented actress and has proven herself over the years but Rao Hydari has very little role to play here. Her character carried a lot of potential for an extended well-placed storyline but that didn’t happen and she is just… gone too soon!
Parineeti Chopra as Mira Kapoor is bland. For a role that requires a lot of conviction, Chopra is surprisingly flat in her overall character tone and depth. Her character is oftentimes over-the-top and takes away the basic essence of grief and loss from the storyline. And undeniably at numerous points her dark and messed up makeup does the job than her. For the most part of the film, she carries just one expression and says dialogues in a flat and disappointing tone ever.
Avinash Tiwari as Shekhar Kapoor does his part well. An abusive and manipulative husband who is diabolical, Kapoor does justice to his role and character ideology. You can see the fear, conviction, anger through his eyes and expression, he does not necessarily have to say the words out loud.
Kirti Kulhari as Inspector Dalbir Kaur Bagga tries to bring as much strength and power to her role as she could and for the most part, she does it too but then somehow at some points the entire power drops and she is just there as an Indian working on a high position in the police force. Which does nothing for her role!
The Girl on the Train Ending
The Girl on the Train ends on a very filmy note (typical Bollywood). The ending twist was unnecessary and made no point in the entire idea of the film. For a film that takes into account cheating, loss, abuse, grief, murder, etc. the film misses the mark badly. All’s well that ends well ending makes no sense when your entire adaptation was as hazy as Mira’s amnesia. There’s no justice, no emotional growth, no aftermath, nothing!
The film is just there wasting your 120 minutes with unnecessary songs which have more value individually and if they would have released later as a film album it would have made more sense. But when you add sad songs which don’t even go with the entire thriller vibe it all falls down. There is something absolutely powerful yet painful about the relationship that forms between Nusrat and Mira which represents the effect of trauma and grief which is annoyingly underdeveloped.
Stream It or Skip It
SKIP IT! The Girl on the Train is a failed attempt at both an adaptation and a thriller. So much could have been done in terms of the execution of the film but yet nothing was made out of it. But instead, viewers are presented with an uncooked and time-consuming story with underutilized cast talents.
The Girl on the Train is now streaming on Netflix.
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