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"Madgaon Express" Review: Hilarious Movie Reviving the Comedy Genre in Bollywood

Remember back when we were young and there was no OTT to watch movies endlessly? When we used to make picnics out of a day out in the theatres? When we used to forget all our troubles and just live through the movies? Those were the days when watching a movie made us feel as one, & gave us a sense of camaraderie because in those 2 hours, no matter our differences, we would all cry & laugh at the same moments at the same time.

It’s been a while since I have experienced that in the theatres. And finally, a movie came out that was such a heartwarming theatre experience, where we not only laughed together but almost roared with laughter that people had long forgotten yet longed to experience in movie theatres. I’m talking about the latest directorial debut by Kunal Kemmu, Madgaon Express. And in today’s blog article, we are going to review it.

Rahul Desai says in this Film Companion article, “You know how some movies leave you with a throbbing headache? Madgaon Express left me with a bellyache - but in the best way possible. The buddy comedy made me laugh so hard so long that it felt like I was avenging all the years of laughing at unintentionally funny films. It's been a while. Maybe it says something about the emotionally fraught times we live in.”

Madgaon Express horizontal poster


SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to experience the storyline before watching it, don’t proceed. However, if you wish to know my thoughts on the movie without any spoilers, jump over to My Thoughts.



Inspired by the iconic trip movie Dil Chahta Hai, Kunal Kemmu said in a Bollywood Hungama interview, “...It became a thing friends would go and be like those three characters and recreate those moments. So, for me, initially, it was like I want to recreate these moments but what if all of these moments went wrong.”  

And the movie stays true to that. The story revolves around a trio of friends - Dodo, Pinku & Ayush and their desire to go on a Goa trip since their high school graduation. After years of parents’ disapproval, moving abroad, & growing up, they finally go on the trip as adults. But this trip is nothing like the filmy movies they watched growing up. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong - from their bag getting switched before boarding the Madgaon Express, to finding drugs under their bed to two warring dons & the police getting hot on their heels to catch this trio.

My favorite dialogue in the film, “Pehle puri zindagi Goa aa nahi paa rahe the, ab yaha se jaa nahi paa rahe hai” (Translation: First, we couldn’t get to Goa, now we can’t get out) perfectly embodies the crux & mood of the film.

This 145-minute film is written & directed by Kunal Kemmu & produced by Excel Entertainment aka Farhan Akhtar(creator of Dil Chahta Hai) and Ritesh Sidhwani. It is adorned by a cast ensemble including Divyendu Sharma(Dodo), Pratik Gandhi(Pinku), Avinash Tiwari(Ayush), Upendra Limaye, Chhaya Kadam, & Nora Fatehi along with special appearances by Remo D’Souza & the director himself.

So, let's get on with the movie review!


When we think of ensemble comedy-dramas in Bollywood, a ton of movies that come to mind - Golmaal, Housefull , Welcome, & many more. However, in recent years, there has been a dearth of comedies that make you laugh just because they are funny and not because they are trying to be funny; and there is a big difference between the two.

Like Farhan Akhtar said in a Bollywood Hungama interview, “...some famous director said doing comedy is serious business….because it's not easy everyone feels doing comedy is like the easiest thing to do but it's probably one of the most difficult things to do. Because (A) keeping a straight face…the more people in the film do not realize that they are being funny, the more fun the audience will have, right? So you have to play everything like it's happening to you seriously. If you know in the back of your head you're doing something for a laugh, more often than not you'll fail. So it has to be serious.”

Clean Comedy & Use of Body Humor

Coming back to the point, Madgaon Express is that clean comedy that you can watch with friends, family, or even by yourselves when you need a pick-me-up! Kunal Kemmu’s writing has to be given due credit here because a big part of how a comedy is experienced is dependent on its dialogues. And you can really see Kemmu’s own experience as an actor in such comedy films in yesteryears shining through his writing here.

His use of body humor is impeccable whether it’s Pinku falling out of a car, Pinku’s reaction to drugs, a woman flying out after firing a gun, Pinku’s getting seriously hurt in a gang fight, etc. Now that I think of it, Pinku’s character bore the brunt of a lot of the physical body humor in this film, turning out to be extremely hilarious for the audience.

Favorite Scenes

In terms of the scenes, I loved the scene where Dodo asks a bartender why Goa isn't Goa-ing like in the movies, and the bartender responds by saying it’s because this is real life, where there’s no background music like in the movies. Right after, Dodo gets offered ecstasy pills by a cameo character for him & his friends, which in turn, does take them into song & dance. I think that was a very interestingly funny scene.

Moreover, they make many interesting references to classic comedy films like The Hangover, Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, & even The Godfather.

The Acting

Divyendu Sharma (Dodo) started his career with comedy films and it shows in the way he portrays Dodo in this film in a hilarious yet relatable manner. On the other hand, it was the first time we saw Avinash Sharma(Ayush) & Pratik Gandhi(Pinku) in such major comedic roles. While the former was given a comparatively “normal” role to balance the other two out, the latter was given a pretty extreme character who went from the “oh-too good mama’s boy who follows all the rules” to “confident daredevil” in a split second.

But I must say, having seen Pratik Gandhi in so many Gujarati & Hindi projects before, it was very refreshing to see him in a role like this, which opened up a whole new side to his acting range.

Two other extremely notable actors without whom this movie would have been absolutely incomplete are Upendra Limaye (Mendonza bhai) & Chhaya Kadam (Kanchan Kombdi). Whether it's the way they portrayed their dongiri or the way they made you chuckle every time they were on screen, they made quite an impression on the audience which I hope to see in future memes.

Moreover, despite being a comedy, I appreciated the way they treated Dodo’s relationship with social media & the impact of its constant comparison model on him.


Madgaon Express cast ensemble


While the movie had impeccable comic timing, there were a few aspects that were not as good or could’ve been better. One of them was the abrupt placement of the songs. The songs felt abrupt and at the same time too thought out instead of fitting naturally with the story.

In the main trio, while I absolutely loved each of their portrayals, I felt like Avinash Tiwari as Ayush fell a bit short compared to the other two. Maybe this is because he was intended to be the “normal” one of the trio to balance it out, but I wish we could’ve seen more of him in the overall storyline. Especially since we have seen him killing it in movies like Tu Hai Mera Sunday, Laila Majnu, etc.

In the supporting cast, there were two characters that felt a bit incomplete to me. First one being Nora Fatehi’s Tasha. This was probably the first time I liked her acting more than her dancing, as I felt that not only were her beautiful dancing skills underutilized but also her songs with Dodo and Avinash seemed avoidable.

The second one would be Remo D’Souza’s special appearance as Dr. Danny. While his being a special appearance means that he's not a major part of the plot, I felt like his character existed only to make the climax make sense. I did like the few scenes he had though, & hope to see more of his acting, especially in action, in the future.



All in all, I think this movie has a bunch of brilliant yet underrated talent in one cast ensemble & Kemmu used each one of them in the right ways. In my opinion, while the story mainly revolves around the trio, without the rival gangs aka the entire ensemble, this movie would just not hit the same.

Besides this, what I loved about this film is that it’s a clean comedy using situational comedy & impeccable comic timing as its strongest weapons. It was refreshing to see a comedy film which was neither completely senseless nor used sexual innuendos to forcibly make it funny & anti-family friendly.

Instead, it’s the kind of movie you can watch in the theatre with your family, then again with friends, & then binge-watch it at home whenever you’ve had a long day and simply need a laugh.

Like Shilajit Mitra said in The Hindu, “This film is a party, not a trip.”



Madgaon Express is currently playing in theatres.

And I HIGHLY recommend you go watch it in theatres. You will not regret it.

It is expected to release on Amazon Prime Video around May/June 2024. Until then, here’s the trailer!


In summary, from Dodo’s moving monologue before boarding the Madgaon Express to the riotous climax in the same infamous Express, this film is one to look out for!

With our hectic lives, a dose of comedy is a must. Anita Hassanandani Reddy

And now to you, have you seen this movie already? Which is your all-time favorite comedy film? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please drop a like and share it with your family and friends, and for further blog updates follow me on my Instagram handle @helzeeblog , on Wix and also on YouTube. See you next time! Till then, always remember, Be brave. Be strong. Be great.💛


~ helzeee 💛


About Me

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Lifestyle | Self-growth

Storyteller at my core & writer at my front, I'm here to share stories with you that help you see the magic in the world.💛


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