Margao Express review: Kunal Khemu deserves appreciation for his directorial debut


Margao Express Movie Review: Excel Entertainment set a new precedent for new-age buddy films with Dil Chahta Hai and then followed it years later with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Yes, there is an atmosphere of uncertainty but don’t worry because Margao Express has arrived. But truth be told, Kunal Kemmu’s directorial debut doesn’t quite fit into this list of modern films about friendship because it is so much more than that. While it certainly glorifies friendship, it also has the drug mafia and the world of crime and smuggling, set in the less glamorous backdrop of Goa, woven seamlessly into the story, which adds a lot of freshness to the story.

Margao Express is something we have never seen before and thank God for it. In fact, it is even difficult to mold it into a certain style. The film is weird, noisy, and chaotic, and unapologetically revels in its own weirdness. All the characters are strange and you wouldn’t want to encounter most of them in real life. It almost feels as if Kunal decided to tell a story without following any set structure of storytelling and yet there is a method to the madness. It’s so everywhere and such an incredible mix of so many things that you can’t help but burst out laughing every now and then, and that’s the biggest triumph of Margao Express.

The film revolves around childhood friends – Aayush, Pratik (fondly known as Pinku) and Dhanush (called Dodo by his friends) – who have been on a trip to Goa since their school days. Had a desire to. But they grow up and their lives take different directions, with Ayush moving to New York and Pinku moving to Cape Town with his family. While they build credible careers and live their best lives, Dodo is stuck in Mumbai where he works as a pizza delivery boy.

A few years later, they reconnect on social media and plan to reunite by taking a trip to Goa soon. Thus begins the most adventurous journey that turns their lives upside down. It also gives them the opportunity to accept each other with all their flaws. While Ayush appears to be the smartest and most honest person, Pinku is an over-protective, hypochondriac and accident-prone Gujarati man who exaggerates anything and everything. Dodo, on the other hand, is a typical juggler who causes more harm than good every time he gets into trouble.


Adding to the mix are some crazy characters like drug dealer Mendoza, smuggler Kanchan Kombady and Tasha, a young girl who claims to be the solution to all kinds of messes. Ayush, Pinku and Dodo get embroiled in a cat and mouse race as they stumble upon a bag full of cocaine while traveling to Margao in a train with Mendoza, Kanchan Kombady and Tasha, adding to their misery.

Kunal deserves praise for doing wonders with his very first project as a director. He writes a script that is every bit as hilarious and is filled with lots of funny one-liners, witticisms and situations. There is hardly any joke that doesn’t land. It is heartening to see that physical comedy has re-entered mainstream Bollywood and has successfully managed to tickle us all. Even with a runtime of 2 hours 25 minutes, Margao Express keeps you engaged throughout its roller coaster ride and the pace of the story almost never slows down.

However, its music is its weakest link. While Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara produced chartbuster albums that achieved a cult status over the years, Margao Express hardly has a song that will stay with you. In fact, its best musical piece is the instrumental theme of Dil Chahta Hai which is reminiscent of the OG Buddy film and the indelible impact it left behind. However, for all those old-world Bollywood lovers who enjoy song-and-dance sequences packed into the narrative without any rhyme or reason, this film will make for a great nostalgia trip.

It is said that good acting has the power to make a good film incredible and such is the case with Margao Express. Divyendu plays Dodo with madness and despite his quirks, you will find yourself rooting for him. After creating a stir with his character of middle-class Liquid in Pyaar Ka Punchnama, he once again proved that his comic timing is impeccable.

Pratik Gandhi, who plays the character of Pinku, keeps stealing the show from time to time. You will get to see a different side of the actor who has proven his mettle for sensitive and intense character portrayals. Pinku, who is otherwise the delicate darling in the gang, turns into a fierce lion every time he accidentally smokes cocaine and the ruckus he creates will make you LOL or ROFL. His Pinku gets the most delicious character and it will be interesting to see Pratik play more comic roles in the future.

Avinash Tiwari’s Aayush pales in comparison to Pinku and Dodo. Having said that, he gives his all to the character. He often acts as the mediator between his friends – one impulsive and the other, very careful and measured – and all their scenes are pure gold. Their cordiality is visible. Unlike the other two, his comic timing is more subtle and he complements them perfectly.

It has a supporting cast – Animal fame Upendra Limaye as Mendoza and Chhaya Kadam as Kanchan Kombady – who will grab all your attention every time they appear in the frame. It is such a joy to watch the charming and energetic Kanchan Kombady and her gang dressed in Nauwari saree, nose ring and aviators terrorizing and fighting a gang of people armed with guns and knives! I wish we could see such powerful women lighting up our screens more often. Mendoza, on the other hand, appears to be an extension of Animal’s Freddy Patil, but we’re not complaining. He is equally terrifying and riotous.

And in Madgaon Express, Nora Fatehi has got a chance to play the character of another glamorous girl. Unfortunately, his character is half-baked and doesn’t leave much room for acting. Renowned choreographer and director Remo D’Souza is seen in the perfect role of Dr. Danny, who cures patients from drug overdoses without bringing them to the police. He sports cornrows, looks hot and does a little action too. Spoiler alert: Kunal is also seen in an irrelevant cameo, but he irritates you whenever he appears onscreen.

If you want to have a really good time with your friends in theaters and laugh out loud with them, then Margao Express is for you. It celebrates its own destruction and madness. Just let your hair down and let this rollercoaster joyride take you over. you will not regret it. Because such films are not made again and again. And you won’t want to miss seeing Divyendu and Pratik draped in sarees, in action and inadvertently redefining the norms for leading men in Bollywood. As for Kunal, we are waiting to see what he creates next.

Leave a Comment