I’ve often been asked, what makes a film different from another film bearing a similar storyline? My reply is, the execution of the subject makes all the difference. Recall DOOSRI DULHAN. Now recall CHORI CHORI CHUPKE CHUPKE. The issue – surrogate motherhood – isn’t new, but if handled expertly, it would make for an interesting viewing. Sadly, LIFE EXPRESS fails and fails miserably. The serious issue has been tackled carelessly, callously and amateurishly and for this reason, it comes across as an exercise in boredom. In fact, the film falls flat at the screenplay level itself and since the direction [Anup Das] is equally unimaginative, even the talented actors in the cast fail to redeem the enterprise. LIFE EXPRESS tells the story of an urban couple, Tanvi [Rituparna Sengupta] and Nikhil [Kiran Janjani], who have no time to spend with each other or start a family. It also tells the story of Mohan [Yashpal Sharma] and Gauri [Divya Dutta], who lead a poverty-ridden life in a village. The ambitious Tanvi aborts the plans of having a baby since she feels that the impending pregnancy will make her skip her job for a few months and in turn, she would lose out on the golden opportunities in her career. Subsequently, a common friend suggests the concept of surrogate motherhood and they decide to go for it. Just when you thought that Hindi cinema is evolving and first-time directors are ready to experiment with hitherto untold stories, a film like LIFE EXPRESS makes you change your opinion. The director had a solid plot on hand, but first the writer ruins it with an impoverished screenplay and subsequently, the director wrecks it by showing no maturity, as far as execution of the material is concerned. In fact, barring the sequence in the end – when Divya makes Rituparna realize the importance of being a mother – the writing is lackadaisical and boring at most places. Besides, the story also unravels at a snail’s pace. Who’s got the patience? The songs are also a sore point. Rituparna Sengupta is a fine actor, but is bland here. Kiran Janjani is miscast. Divya Dutta is the sole actor who acts convincingly. Yashpal Sharma, as Divya’s husband, is okay. Dayashankar Pandey provides some comic relief. Vijayendra Ghatge, Anjan Srivastava and Alok Nath are wasted.
On the whole, LIFE EXPRESS is a lifeless experience.