Chennai Express is a 2013 Indian Hindi-language action comedy film directed by Rohit Shetty and written by Sajid-Farhad and Yunus Sajawal. Produced by Gauri Khan, Karim Morani, Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur, the film stars Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul Mithaiwala, a man who accidentally boards the eponymous train and journeys from Mumbai to Rameswaram, falling in love with the daughter of a local don, played by Deepika Padukone. Chennai Express had Nikitin Dheer and Sathyaraj play supporting roles. It was released with subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish and Malay
Development and casting
Mayank and Rohit Shetty had originally planned to team up with Shah Rukh Khan for a remake of the 1982 film, Angoor. After the 2011 blockbuster Singham, Shetty had begun writing the script of the film but left it half-finished. The script of Chennai Express was ready for Khan as a back-up, because of the difficulty of obtaining the actor's filming dates. Upon reading the script, Khan liked the idea and agreed to star in it before the Angoor remake, causing Angoor's remake to be postponed. Shetty said the film is "a hard-core commercial film with a romantic angle. The story is about this man's travel from Mumbai to Rameshwaram and what happens during the journey. About 68 minutes of footage were enhanced with CGI by Reliance MediaWorks.
Chennai Express was initially written as a backup project for Khan (pictured).
Khan was the first actor to be approached with the script and was the first lead actor to be signed for the film. Rohit Shetty stated that despite the title, Khan would not play a South Indian in the film. The casting of the lead heroine was the subject of much press speculation; Kareena Kapoor, Asin and Deepika Padukone were rumoured to be involved. Shetty denied those rumours, stating that the cast would be finalised in April 2012, and that he was going to cast an established actress in the role.In October 2012, it was confirmed that Deepika Padukone had been signed to play the female lead opposite Khan, and photographs showing Padukone and Khan shooting were released.This was Padukone's second film opposite Khan, with whom she made her Bollywood debut in the 2007 blockbuster Om Shanti Om.Starting with this film, which was released on Women's Day, Khan wished to have the name of his female co-star appear above his own in the credits.
Sathyaraj was cast to play the role of Padukone's character's father, making his debut in Bollywood. Actress Priyamani was signed in January 2013 for an item number in the film.Other personalities from Tamil cinema, including Delhi Ganesh and Mohan Raman, appear in minor roles. The film was initially titled as Ready Steady Po. However, to emphasis on the connection with South India, the film was retitled as Chennai Express with the planned title used as the tagline.
Filming and post-production
The Munnar Hill station in Kerala, one of the film's major locations
Filming on the project began at Mehboob Studio in Mumbai on 5 October 2012. additional filming was done at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station with a minimal crew. Stills of the lead actor were unofficially released in mid-October 2012. In November 2012, the cast and crew went to Goa to begin filming the scenes set there. Vasco Da Gama Railway Station was used to portray as Kalyan Junction railway station. A romantic scene on board a train passing next to Dudhsagar Falls was also shot. In December 2012, the crew went to Jakarta to film certain scenes.
In January 2013, a shoot was supposedly scheduled to take place in Ooty, but since Khan felt that Ooty was too far from Mumbai, several locations from Ooty were reconstructed on the outskirts of Panchgani in Wai by the art director Narendra Ruharikar. It took over 40 days and ₹ 15 million to build the required sets. Filming in Wai took the entire month of March 2013. A 10-day shooting schedule in Munnar, Kerala, began in mid-April 2013; scenes were filmed at Devikulam Lake, Meesapulimala, Wagavara and Kannimala. Filming was stopped for several days because of heavy rainfall, resulting in the schedule being slightly extended until end of the same month. A press conference was held in Munnar. In May 2013, scenes were filmed in North Goa.Padukone finished shooting on 25 May 2013.Khan flew to Hyderabad in May 2013 to film his remaining scenes. The film has several Tamil dialogues, but to retain context no subtitles were used.
Chennai Express was produced by Gauri Khan, Karim Morani, Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur under the Red Chillies Entertainment banner. It was released internationally by UTV Motion Pictures