THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. (2021) BASED ON THE 2015 NOVEL BY PAULA HAWKINS. DIRECTED BY RIBHU DASGUPTA. STARRING PARINEETI CHOPRA AND KIRTI KULHARI. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. © I must admit that I haven’t read the famous book on which this Indian Hindi-language film is based, nor have I seen the 2016 film also based on the 2015 book. In other words, I’m coming new to this whole franchise, and, to me, this Hindi-language version started out strong but pretty soon degenerated into a bit of a mess, too full of far-fetched notions and unbelievable coincidences. It tells the story of Mira Kapoor, a beautiful young married barrister living in London with her handsome cardiologist/doctor husband, Shekhar. She takes on the job of prosecuting a big tough Hindi gangster called Jimmy Bagga, even though she’s been warned off the case by means of a brick through the window of her fabulous apartment. When the gangster is sent to prison, Mira’s life takes a definite turn for the worse. A terrible traffic ‘accident’ sees her lose the child she desperately wants. She turns to the booze for comfort, only to lose her disgusted husband Shekhar to another woman as a result. She has awful trouble remembering things and even has to be treated for amnesia. She hasn’t worked since the accident, and yet she takes a train journey across London every day to the Lord knows where for some reason. That’s when things turn confusing and sinister. She starts to notice, out the window of her train, another young woman who looks exasperatingly similar to all the other women in the film. God forbid they should cast someone with short or dyed hair who could be more easily differentiated. Even if this weren’t a Hindi-language film but an English-speaking one, nearly every single actress would still be brunette and skinny with long lightly wavy hair. It gets pretty tiresome. Like, aren’t there any other types of women out there? The young woman, from what Mira can see of her, seems to have the ‘perfect’ life that Mira herself has just lost. She has the lovely house beside a forest, a lovely husband and a lovely hobby, i.e., dance. There’s always a danger, of course, of assuming that someone else has a ‘perfect life’ just because that’s what it looks like from the outside. Appearances have a nasty habit of being deceptive sometimes. One fine day, Mira sees something from her train seat that completely jars with her idea of what this unknown woman should be doing in her life. When, shortly after this incident, the unknown woman ends up dead and Mira is somehow the prime suspect, Mira has to comb through her patchy memories to find some of the missing puzzle pieces. Otherwise, her future could be even worse than her present… I loved the character of the lady cop investigating Nusrat’s death, until the film’s denouement when her true identity is revealed. A bit far-fetched, I thought. Also, who is the young lad in the field with the ponies, and why does he have the dead Nusrat’s phone? When Mira goes on the run with a gun- that rhymes- the plot just becomes wildly unbelievable. The upbeat ending doesn’t fit with what comes before at all. I personally think the film is a bit cluttered. In its efforts to keep providing the audience with shocking twists and turns, it becomes messy and fantastical. Still, it’s entertaining enough, and, if you’ve got two spare hours to fill where you don’t want to have to think too deeply about stuff, it might just do the job. And I absolutely love the Bollywood singing-and-dancing element. Enjoy and Happy Christmas!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books: