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Bollywood's FABULOUS train journeys!

By SUKANYA VERMA
Last updated on: February 24, 2021 09:42 IST
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On the silver screen, the significance of trains can be traced all the way back through its use in innumerable movies.

As means of transport or metaphor, the romance of trains is unmistakable in Hindi cinema.

Sukanya Verma looks at its many, many, MANY memorable moments on celluloid.

 

The Girl On The Train

In the Parineeti Chopra-starring adaptation of Paula Hawkin's best-selling novel, the actress plays an alcoholic whose regular commute on a metro train ensues in some alarming discoveries and drama.

 

Sultan

Salman Khan races against a chook chook gaadi as part of his gruelling fitness schedule in the wrestling drama Sultan.

 

Veer Zaara

Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta's cross-border romance finds itself derailed as soon as Manoj Bajpayee makes his entry at the railway station embodying the quintessential spoilsport of Yash Chopra's melodramatic love story.

 

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Shah Rukh Khan stretching his hand out for Kajol to board a train in England and India is part of Bollywood's iconic imagery.

It has inspired countless clones but nothing quite like Aditya Chopra's blockbuster original.

 

Pakeezah

Train and its whistling sound is a recurring motif in Kamal Amrohi's classic and symbolic of the journeys and hope its leading lady Meena Kumari experiences. Especially after Raaj Kumar glances at her gorgeous feet and leaves behind a note of admiration.

 

Sholay

Ramesh Sippy's Sholay is bookended by the arrival and departure of trains.

But it is the action-packed sequence where Thakur's discovery of Jai and Veeru's courage and conscience in face of a daaku attack sets the stage for his future vendetta.

 

Dil Se..

SRK and Malaika Arora dancing atop a train to Chaiyya Chaiyya flanked by a bunch of dancers in colourful costumes raised the benchmark for imaginative choreography.

 

Jab We Met

Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor meet on a train and kick-start an exciting journey to nowhere only to realise their destination is one and the same in Imtiaz Ali's roaming romance.

 

The Lunchbox

'Kabhi kabhi galat train bhi sahi jagah pahuncha deti hai.'

Few have reflected on the routine and purpose of trains as poetically as Director Ritesh Shah embodied in Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui's seemingly ordinary journeys in congested locals.

 

Rafoo Chakkar

Who can forget Rishi Kapoor and Paintal gate-crashing a ladies' compartment dressed up as college girls and shaking a leg to Chhuk Chhuk in a Some Like it Hot rip-off?

 

Ghulam

Or Aamir Khan taking his perfectionism to reckless levels and jumping off the tracks seconds before a rushing local for a daredevil sequence of Ghulam?

 

Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja

Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja bombed at the box office, but no one can accuse Producer Boney Kapoor of stinginess.

The man spared no expenditure on this ambitious masala about a pair of swindlers falling in love and pursuing a common enemy. And it's pretty evident in the scale used to film its daredevil train robbery scene.

 

Mumbai Meri Jaan

The spirit of Maximum City is conveyed in Nishikanth Kamat's acclaimed drama inspired by the 2006 Mumbai train bombings and its impact on the lives of daily commuters and those around them.

 

The Burning Train

Long before Titanic there was B R Chopra's grand multi-starrer about a swanky super-fast train going in disaster mode and threatening the lives of the passengers on board.

 

Do Anjaane

If not dishoom dishoom, a moving train acts as a setting for crime passed off for an accident. Be it a vile Prem Chopra pushing a drunk Amitabh Bachchan off the train in Do Anjaane or Raj Babbar doing the same to Rajiv Kapoor in Lava. In both occurrences, the villains are after the hero's girl.

 

Kick, Dhoom 2, Coolie, Bodyguard, Jagga Jasoos, Gunday, Ra.One, Khakee

Nothing like the swaggering hero making his entry or coming to the rescue by strutting on top of the train, balancing around it or flexing his muscles before it to give the baddies the blues.

Salman Khan lives up to his dabangg image before a train and above in Kick and Bodyguard.

Hrithik Roshan makes train robbery plans against a stark Namibian desert in Dhoom 2.

Shah Rukh Khan saves a Mumbai local from derailment in Ra.One.

Akshay Kumar wards off armed goons while clutching to a moving train in Khakee.

Amitabh Bachchan gets a cool introduction as the original Coolie No 1 in Coolie.

Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor display muscle-ripping bromance perched on a smoky train in Gunday.

Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif sprint on top of a running one in Jagga Jasoos.

 

Jaani Dushman, Lekin, Angoor

Not just action the train is a perfect place for spooky elements too.

Amrish Puri scares the daylights out of his co-passengers when he transforms into a furry monster in Jaani Dushman.

Vinod Khanna has his first ever ghostly encounter with Dimple Kapadia in Lekin.

Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma's jump scares are prompted by a pulpy horror novel in Angoor.

 

Swades, Ishaqzaade, Kahaani, Aap Ki Kasam

When NRI Shah Rukh Khan buys water off a local boy from the train window in Swades.

When Parineeti Chopra discovers Arjun Kapoor was playing with her emotions after consummation of their sham marriage inside an abandoned compartment in Ishaqzaade.

When 'Bob Biswas' nearly pushes Vidya Balan before the Kolkata metro in Kahaani.

When Rajesh Khanna's lifelong regret finds a sad analogy in wandering train tracks in Aap Ki Kasam.

Trains in movies can lead to moments of meaning, mayhem and melancholy.

 

Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, Shakti, Wanted, Baaton Baaton Mein

Mumbai locals are an ever ready backdrop for their chaos (Ek Chalis Ki Local) and casual charm (Baaton Baaton Mein) as well as the hero to teach eve teasers a lesson (Shakti, Wanted).

 

Kachche Dhaage, Gadar Ek Prem Katha, Bunty Aur Babli, Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan

Family that travels together, stays together no matter how bumpy the ride gets.

Be it the step brothers in Kachche Dhaage, the Partition plagued folks of Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, the con couple of Bunty Aur Babli or a gay one hiding their romance from a conservative family in Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan.

 

Mera Naam Joker, Parineeta

The exuberance of toy trains is cheerfully captured in the hopeful songs of Mera Naam Joker and Parineeta.

 

Rajnigandha, Rang De Basanti

If Rajnigandha explores the hidden implications of Vidya Sinha's empty train dream, Rang De Basanti's sepia hued flashback recreate the events of the Kakori train robbery to effective results.

 

Saathiya, Dillagi, Guru

The Romance of trains -- this is what they mean.

While Dillagi and Guru give it a shot, Saathiya embodies it better than any.

 

Delhi 6, Love Aaj Kal

Good ol' Delhi metro finds a youthful expression in Sonam Kapoor's happy-go-lucky travels in Delhi 6 and Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone's chilled out camaraderie in Love Aaj Kal.

 

Darr, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, Yes Boss, Vijeta

Not just Indian trains but even Swiss rail cuts a memorable picture in the great Bollywood fantasy. And film-maker Yash Chopra has a great deal to do with it.

 

Ajnabee, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai

Long before Dil Se.. made it popular, top of the train imagery was associated with Rajesh Khanna-Zeenat Aman's care-a-damn antics and Rishi Kapoor consoling Padmini Kolhapure to the tune of R D Burman's melodies in Ajnabee and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai.

 

Tanu Weds Manu, Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwani, Rangoon, Chennai Express, Chamatkar

Strangers bonding and bantering over long train trips is vibrantly highlighted in Bollywood every now and then.

 

Masoom, Sadma, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Yuva, Dil Chahta Hai

It's only when the train is ready to depart, characters are hit with some sort of epiphany.

In Masoom, it leads to tearful goodbyes that become surprise reunions.

In Sadma, irony is at its bitterest.

In Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, friends realise they mean more to one another but move on anyway.

In Yuva, a wife's outburst underlines her indignation over a lost cause.

In Dil Chahta Hai, a metro's closed doors makes them realise their true feelings about each other.

 

Mashaal, Gully Boy, Barsaat, Toilet-Ek Prem Katha

Ally of lovebirds since time immemorial as far as Bollywood goes, trains offer a safe space for song and dance, hanging out, eloping from protesting step dads or even relieving oneself in absence of a proper loo as demonstrated in films like Mashaal, Gully Boy, Barsaat and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.

 

Aradhana, Teesri Manzil, Mere Huzoor, Parichay

Retro imagery is full of fun train-themed serenades and meet-cutes like Rajesh Khanna crooning Mere Sapno Ki Rani to Sharmila Tagore hiding her face in an Alistair MacLean in Aradhana, Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh's hilarious quarrel in Teesri Manzil, Jeetendra's romantic appeal to catch a glimpse of Mala Sinha in Mere Huzoor or jumping off the train to live happily after with Jaya Bhaduri in Parichay.

 

Half Ticket, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, Devdas

 

The black and white era wasn't indifferent to the allure of the train.

Be it in Kishore Kumar's frolicking adventures as Munna in Half Ticket, Dev Anand and Asha Parekh's flirtatious overtures leading to the title song of Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai and Dilip Kumar's agonising final journey in and as Devdas.

 

Devdas

Of course Sanjay Leela Bhansali's version of Devdas is an exercise in opulence. And so even the sight of him suffering in a train compartment must be nothing short of resplendent.

 

Train to Pakistan, 1947-Earth, Kalank, Raat Akeli Hai, Gangs of Wasseypur, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa

From the horrors of Partition to intrigue filled whodunits to generation spanning mobster drama to coming-of-age romances, the train has contributed to Bollywood's cinematic glory in a myriad of moods and manner.

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SUKANYA VERMA / Rediff.com