Movie Review: Ek Chalis Ki Last Local

Dhai Ghante mein Dhai Crore, reads the tag line. I’d say Dhai ghante mein paisa vasool. Director Sanjay Khandoori delivers a hit with his maiden flick. From just Rs 70 in his pocket to being the waaris of Rs 2.5 crore!! In the inner recesses of your mind you can hear Eurythmics belting “sweet dreams are made of these… who am I to disagree.”

Yes, who am I to disagree? Khandoori touches a raw nerve and brings back memories; of trains missed and long waits at platforms. But this is not all about a wait at the platform. It’s about the city that never sleeps as Abhay Deol (Nilesh) finds out after he misses his last local to Vikhroli.

What unfolds next glues the viewer to the seat and evokes bouts of laughter as well as fear, as the good mixes with the bad and the ugly. There are encounters, junkies, gambling bouts, deserted streets, eunuchs, corrupt cops, a prostitute and what have you… It’s like the perfect Bambaiya bhelpuri with the right mix of meetha and tikka!

You don’t doubt Neha Dhupia’s (Madhu) motives but the truth unfolds beautifully for the viewer, and like a bolt from the blue for Abhay, who has just killed, albeit accidentally, someone who was trying to rape Neha. In fact, Neha does not miss her last local; hers is just a ploy for her ‘business’ which begins after the last local leaves.

Clearly, this has to be her best performance to date. But a little force in the scene where she explodes after being slapped by Abhay about how the men are responsible for being where she is today would have pepped the scene. That apart, she moves from frame to frame with ease. And when she double-crosses the person who has paid the ransom for her life, to save Abhay, who she has now fallen in love with, you applaud the genius of the writer. Also, the scene where Abhay is unwittingly trapped with his benefactor for a bout in the bed!

Abhay Deol is first class. At the risk of being ridiculed, I’d bracket him in the same league as Kay Kay Menon. This Deol boy has just begun his baby steps in Bollywood, but he is set to rock the industry. Never once swaying, he performs his role with innocent ease and this is something only a talented actor can do. To sum it up, he packs a mean punch in his performance. His eyes following Neha’s derrier, bosom and finally the lip-lock… he gets it all right.

There’s a Nana Patekar duplicate who imitates the original to the ‘T’, while the Rajnikant look-alike cuts a sorry figure. Ashok Samarth as Malvankar the corrupt cop, again is first rate, so is Snehal Dhabi as Habiba Bai the eunuch with considerable clout in the underworld. The dialogues by Raghuveer Shekhawat and Khandoori are peppered with bambaiya flavour. Spot on.

If you loved Bheja Fry, you will love this flick. Don’t be late for a ride on this last local! As for the producers, the cash register has just begun jingling.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Martin D’Souza

This first appeared on on May 18, 2007


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