Mumbai Xpress is a 2005 Hindi-language comedy film directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, starring Kamal Haasan, Manisha Koirala, Om Puri, Vijay Raaz, Ramesh Aravind and Sharat Saxena. The film is written by Kamal Haasan himself, while Saurabh Shukla handled the film's dialogues and Ilaiyaraaja composed the film's score and soundtrack. The film was a simultaneous make of the Tamil-language production Mumbai Express with a different star cast except the lead pair.
Three amateur thieves plot to kidnap the son of wealthy Mehta (Saurabh Shukla) from school. They do a trial run. However, on the eve of the kidnap, the guy whose job is to operate a crane in this plan is hospitalized. The services of Avinasi a.k.a. Mumbai Xpress (Kamal Haasan), a deaf stunt man performing daredevil bike acts is roped in. Twists and turns take place where the other two gang members are hurt and invariably Mumbai Xpress is left to perform all the tasks by himself. He kidnaps the wrong boy, Daddu (Hardhik), the illegitimate son of Ahalya (Manisha Koirala) and police officer Rao (Om Puri), but manages to get a huge ransom from Mehta by default. A brawl takes place between the original kidnap planners - Digambar (Vijay Raaz), Johnson (Dinesh Lamba) and Avinasi - in handling Ahalya's child but Avinasi delivers the child unhurt to his mother. He secretly listen to Ahalya's tele-con with Rao where Rao wants to settle both the ransom and sever his ties with her. Ahalya pleads and coaxes him to help her get the ransom which Rao is willing to pay. The child takes a fancy to Avinasi and wants him to be the man in their life, and gets him to agree. Ahalaya wants either Rao's or Mehta's money which Avinasi is holding, whereas Avinasi is in love and wants to be that protective person. Rao appoints Mehta to handle the ransom and what follows is a series of mix-ups.
In October 2004, it was reported that Kamal Haasan had agreed to act in Singeetham Srinivasa Rao's next venture, a Tamil-Kannada bilingual comedy film titled Mumbai Express. Kamal Haasan was set to fund the film and Crazy Mohan was approached to write the dialogues, though the writer later pulled out of the venture. Madhuri Dixit turned down the opportunity to star in the film, as did Tabu citing date problems. The film was officially announced on 8 November 2004, where Kamal Haasan revealed that the film would be made in Tamil and Hindi, with the former version also featuring Nassar, Pasupathy and Vaiyapuri while the latter would include Mahesh Manjrekar, Om Puri and Saurabh Shukla in its cast. The team faced further problems though trying to find a heroine for the film with Bipasha Basu and then Kajol also turning down the opportunity to star in the bilingual. Finally in mid November 2004, the team agreed terms with Manisha Koirala and the actress flew to Chennai to take part in a photo shoot. Tinnu Anand was initially chosen to play an insurance agent in the film, but he later pulled out and Ramesh Aravind, who played the role in the Tamil version replaced him. Vijay Raaz also subsequently replaced Manjrekar, while a ten-year-old boy, Hardhik Thakar, was also added to the cast.
During the making of the film, Kamal Haasan suffered a minor injury which resulted in severe bruising, though his co-passenger on the motorbike in the stunt escaped injury. The film was briefly delayed when Vijay Raaz became caught up in a drug scandal in Dubai. Sahara One bought the film's distribution rights in Hindi, while a Telugu version was also planned to be dubbed from the Tamil version of the film.
Even though the film won good reviews, it was a box office failure incurring losses amounting to ₹9.1 crore to Raaj Kamal Films. The cinematography was done experimentally with digital movie camera and mainly due to the Digital film implementation resulting in slight dark output which left the viewer uneasy. The film although widely considered a loss was a great victory technology-wise in the Indian cinema industry.
National Award winning critic Baradwaj Rangan praised the movie in his review as "one of Kamal Haasan's most tight-knit, most convoluted screenplays, where every pratfall, every pun, every preposterous moment seems to have been spat on, polished, and precisely positioned into an overall jigsaw pattern". He added that "Mumbai Xpress isn't exactly an all-out comedy. Like Pushpak, it's the blues with belly laughs, a stack of serious issues coated with smiles."
As per " Ibosnetwork ", India's leading box-Office portal, Mumbai Xpress collected ₹4.00 crore (US$620,000) in Hindi Belt alone, while Box Office India certified the film as a 'Flop' as it netted only ₹3.50 crore (US$550,000) from North indian region.
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