But I am getting ahead of the discussion here.
Title: The Burning Train
Cast: Dharmendra, Hema, Danny, Vinod Khanna, Vinod Mehra, Pravin, Mac Mohan, Ifthekar, Om Shivpuri, Sudha Shivpuri (uncredited), Anand Balraj (uncredited), Navin Nischal, Jeetendra. Neetu Singh Kapoor, Rajendra Nath, Nasir Hussain, Jankidas, Satyendra Kapoor, Indrani Mukherjee, Keshto Mukherjee, Mukri, Paintal, Gufi Paintal, Madan Puri, Shammi, Yunus Parvez, Ranjeet, Sujit Kumar, Asha Sachdev, Simi Garewal.
The cast list, long as it is, is only partial; I have tried to include all characters that stood out for me. Despite the number of people, it is nothing short of astounding that the script metes out strong and well etched parts for each person- everyone has a part to play, and they deliver!
The movie starts off in Delhi, where Dharam and Vinod are just begining in their careers- Dharam is a business man, while Vinod is an engineer with the Indian railways, obsessed with making India's fastest and most luxurious train.
They meet Hema and Pravin, love happens, and the couples sing songs on their tandems.
Pravin and Vinod marry, much to the dismay of Pravin's suitor Danny (SO adorable, with a really mad face and a funky white streak in his hair).
However, Dharam loses his business, money and Hema (who has a secret of her own, and leaves him).
Years pass, and Vinod at least is doing well at work- his train is ready, and his team at work (Boss- Iftekhar, Colleague: Vinod Mehra, Sub: Mac Mohan) are geared for its launch.
Too bad the wifey isn’t pleased- Pravin is done with being ignored, and is at the brink of suing for divorce. In fact, she sends their son on the train to Bombay, the day it is being launched.
EVERYbody except the 2 Vinods and Pravin are on this train....
The passenger to keep our eye on is Danny, who is REALLY mad that not only did Vinod marry Pravin, but also topped him on the train project- apparently Danny's design was dumped for Vinod's.
Therefore, Danny decides to sabotage the train. He gets on as a passenger, strategically places some bombs, and takes off mid journey, at a railway station.
Unfortunately for him, another passenger who disembarks with him is Dharam.
Dharam had left the train because Hema was on it as well, with Navin Nischal, whom Dharam assumes is her husband/lover.
At the bar, drunk Danny reveals his blast-off plans to Dharam, who is good and mad and kicks his ass.
Then, in a brilliant chase, Dharam gets back on a train, which is supposedly now going at a speed of 100km/hr- don’t ask me how, just watch, and clap in glee, as I did.
Back on the train, Dharam is joined by Jeetendra, Neetu, Navin and the rest of the passengers, as they literally race- against time and the fire that has been started by a negligent porter on the train.
Who will survive? And How will it all end? Does the train stop or explode??? Can Vinod get his kid back and his marriage together?? Will Dharam and Hema survive the train????? :)
You have to WATCH!!!
Having watched this at least a dozen times in my life, and having planned to watch it again soon, there are many reasons why I love this movie:
1- Its a Disaster Movie! - which genre I love, from the Towering Inferno through Deep Impact through The Day After Tomorrow (yes, even that). Too bad Bollywood never made enough of these.
2- Vinod and Pravin! A hotter pair is hard to imagine, and they are stellar here, though Hema and Dharam, and Jeetendra and Neetu look really adorable as well.
3- As opposed to most movies with huge ensemble casts, this one is spot-on with its screenplay, where no character goes ignored for long- credit is due to Kamleshwar (screenwriter) and the editors' team. No actor is shortchanged, which is more than can be said of many a movie.
4- RD Burman's songs are all brilliant, and bring up the movie's oomph quotient.
5- The first half of the movie is almost entirely shot in Delhi- Cannaught place, Rail Museum, Lodhi Gardens, Buddha Park, Chanakya Puri- the Malaysian embassy is used as Dharam's house :) Never has my Delhi-love been so satisfied!
6- The movie has IT- the stars' energies, that something that makes this an edge of the seat thriller- some curve balls are thrown at the viewer that are unexpected, which makes the experience totally brilliant. I will admit that the climax is a bit of a let down, especially with the long shots of a toy model train (gasp!), but acceptance is key here, and I have tons of acceptance for this movie :D
I can keep on going with more and more reasons to watch the movie- but in the end, it is up to you, the viewer to decide for yourself. When it came out, it was instantly panned by the critics, but critics- what do they know?