Madgaon Express Review: A Deliriously Funny Bro-Mantic Laugh Riot

Madgaon Express Review: As the loquacious Dodo who has too much to conceal from his friends as matters spiral out of control, Divyenndu is a veritable livewire.

Madgaon Express Review: A Deliriously Funny Bro-Mantic Laugh Riot

A still from the film. (courtesy: YouTube)

The film could well have been titled Madcap Express. Actor Kunal Kemmu's directorial debut, Madgaon Express, is a wild and wacky comedy of errors that rarely, if ever, pauses for a breather. The film is deliriously funny as it moves effortlessly and incessantly between slapstick and sparkling silver-tongued wit.

Emerging from a bloated movie industry that has all but forgotten the art of genuine humour, and coming in an era of overwhelming cynicism, the bro-mantic laugh riot written by the director himself, is a free-flowing blend of Go Goa Gone and Dil Chahta Hai while steadfastly being its own beast.

Madgaon Express, produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani's Excel Entertainment, harks back in significant ways to the spirit of their Dil Chahta Hai. In terms of style and substance, however, it is a film that wants us to dismiss our worst reverses with peals of laughter, which, not no tangentially, is what the doctor would perhaps order as salve for the tough, fraught times that we live in.      

The film revolves around three 1990s Bombay boys. Living is a far less stressful era, they, lured by the simple promise of beaches, babes in bikinis and booze, dream of going on a trip to Goa. Their parents put a spanner in the works. The desire remains unfulfilled.

Post-college, in their early 20s, they decide to defy their families and throw caution to the wind. Their enthusiasm backfires. The trip to Goa is shelved yet again.

After the noughties, the three men - habitual fibber Dhanush "Dodo" (Divyenndu), tough, brooding lad Ayush Gupta (Avinash Tiwary) and momma's boy Pratik "Pinku" Garodia (Pratik Gandhi) - go their own ways. Ayush ends up in New York City and Pinku heads out to Cape Town. The two achieve success and make money.

Dodo stays stuck in his middle-class Mumbai pad with his father who has no patience for his wayward ways. The young man aspires to become somebody someday. Lost in the identity-concealing labyrinths of the social media, Dodo receives a reality check in the form of an ultimate from his dad. Find a job within a week or be prepared to live on the streets.

The cavalierly photoshopped world of exciting outings and celebrity sightings that Dodo has built for himself on "Crazebook" is in danger of coming crashing down. When all seems lost, his two old pals reconnect with him and announce their plan to land in Mumbai and spend time with him in his penthouse for a few days.

Therein lies the rub. Like his high-flying lifestyle and the C-Class limousine that he flashes in his social media posts, the plush pad that he claims to own is a figment of his imagination.

He has a lot to hide. So, Dodo suggests that the trio drop the idea of spending time in Mumbai and head to Goa instead to fulfil a dream they have nurtured since they were in school. But he gets off on the wrong foot.

   Trouble erupts even before the trip begins. The asthmatic Pinku's duffel bag gets unintentionally exchanged at a cigarette kiosk on the railway station platform. When they realise the mistake, they are already on their way to Madgaon. The bag that Pinku now has in his possession contains wads of currency notes and a gun. Both are real.

So are the chaos and confusion that hit Ayush, Pinku and Dodo once they are in Goa. A stash of cocaine, a pretty girl, Tasha (Nora Fatehi), who needs a steady supply of drugs for her parties, an all-women gang led by a curmudgeonly Kanchan Komdi (Chhaya Kadam), drug dealer Mendoza (Upendra Limaye) and Doctor Danny (Remo D'Souza), who helps Pinku when he is laid low by an accidental overdose, combine to trigger a series of mishaps.

To make things worse, the police plunge into the imbroglio. The three clueless lads take to their heels. Kanchan and Mendoza join the chase, throwing everything into a tailspin that shows no signs of ending.

Madgaon Express is one rigmarole that never seems close to overstaying its welcome, with even the post-climax scenes - they interrupt the end credits in a novel, cockeyed fashion - springing loads of surprises and forcing the audience to hang on until it is all done and dusted.

Apart from a script that never stops delivering generous doses of hilarity, the comic timing that the three actors achieve gives the riotous farce its vibrancy. Each of the three principal actors successfully employs his own style to fit the character he plays. In the guise of the stoic sceptic, Avinash Tiwari exudes strength and solidity, transmitting mirth with his measured underplaying.

Pratik Gandhi is the quintessential softie, accident prone, allergic to dust and vulnerable to the worst misfortunes in the unlikeliest of places. He fleshes out the bundle of susceptibilities with skill and sensitivity. As the loquacious Dodo who has too much to conceal from his friends as matters spiral out of control, Divyenndu is a veritable livewire. His comic abilities are the sturdiest of the wheels on which Madgaon Express runs.

The supporting actors - Nora Fatehi, Chhaya Kadam, Upendra Limaye and Remo D'Souza (in what is billed as a special appearance) - are all perfectly in sync with the inspired lunacy of Madgaon Express, a ride that does not run out of steam even when certain elements in it might appear to be tilting ever so slightly towards the over-consciously gimmicky.

Hop on. It is worth the price of the ticket. All the way.


Divyenndu, Avinash Tiwary, Pratik Gandhi, Chhaya Kadam, Upendra Limaye, Nora Fatehi


Kunal Kemmu