Starring Parineeti Chopra, is now streaming on Netflix and the film is based on Paula Hawkin’s popular 2015 novel-of-the-same-name. Here’s The Girl On The Train Review.
The book had previously been adapted in Hollywood, with Emily Blunt’s memorable portrayal of the protagonist earning her a BAFTA nomination in 2016. In comparison, Ribhu Dasgupta’s Bollywood adaptation strays largely away from the original novel and can only be said to be based loosely on its plot. The novel, or Emily Blunt’s film for that matter, is a pure psychological drama, while Parineeti Chopra’s The Girl On The Train rather ends up becoming a murder-mystery thriller. Which, in my opinion, takes a lot away from the story.
What the Plot Is About
Mira (Parineeti Chopra) is a fearless lawyer-turned-alcoholic who spirals into depression after a car accident that leads to her miscarriage. Post this traumatic incident, Mira is reduced to a shadow of her old self — her husband Shekhar (Avinash Tiwary) divorces her and she is also diagnosed with a form of amnesia where she cannot retain any fresh memories.
The only bit of sanity Mira has left in her life is her routinely journey on the train that used to take her to her workplace before the accident. Everyday on her train trip, Mira passes her old house, which is now occupied by Nusrat (Aditi Rao Hydari) and Anand (Shamaun Ahmed). We see Mira growing a deep fixation on Nusrat, for she becomes the symbol of everything Mira is not: she is calm, happy and has a loving husband.
But soon, this image of Nusrat that Mira had formed inside her head breaks when she catches her in a compromising position with her psychiatrist Dr. Hamid (Tota Roy Chowdhury). We find out that Nusrat is also unhappy in her marriage, and soon after Mira stumbles upon this truth, a crime is committed. Mira is framed for Nusrat’s murder and now she has to try her best to not just save herself, but to also bring justice to Nusrat. Hot on Mira’s heels is the ballsy Inspector Kaur (Kirti Kulhari), the third woman of the story who completes the triad.
It’s refreshing indeed to finally have a murder mystery where women take the centre stage: they are the victims, the suspects and the investigators. Men, for once, stand back, although providing enough fodder to keep the story going. Each woman is presented in contrast to the other and while initially you’d think that they all are complete opposites of one another, they are actually quite similar in their pain and vulnerability once the outer layers are peeled off.
The Girl On The Train Review: A Great One Time Watch
The costumes and make-up are also used in interesting ways to show how they help cultivate a voyeuristic gaze in the case of women: Nusrat is decked up in lighter colours as she pretends to give off the picture of belonging to a happy family while Mira’s kohl-smeared eyes and black cardigans are evocative of her conceding to a dark fate.
But all of this doesn’t free The Girl On The Train from its blind spots, which are honestly quite big to let go of. There are many random characters introduced in the film who don’t aid to the plot development in any way and neither does the setting of London serve any purpose whatsoever. The climax was albeit surprising for me since I did not see it coming, but overall the film never manages to create the kind of intrigue that is needed for a murder-mystery to succeed.
There are also unnecessary song sequences included which pushes the film to its two hours runtime. On the whole, I will recommend The Girl On The Train to those looking for a one-time thriller watch, but with a fair warning: put aside all the expectations of it coming anywhere close its cult-classic Hollywood counterpart.
Views expressed are the author’s own.