The Burning Train (1980)


India
Moserbaer DVD

On the cover from left to right: Dharmendra, Danny Denzonga, Vinod Khanna, Jeetendra,
Hema Malini and Parveen Babi

Text below written 2016-03-19


A Great Action on a Train movie in the so popular catastrophe genre, The Towering inferno on a running train.
For some strange reason this all star cast film flopped when shown in the cinemas 35 years ago. Strange because
the film is really entertaining and surprisingly well made regarding the special effects at the time in Bollywood.
Sure, there's a lot of miniatures of trainwagons and used in the final, BUT there's also footage of a REAL burning
train in movement and that's really cool. Someone actually put a wagon on fire as this was way before CGI was
possible to use, and anyway not even today the most snotty Hollywood CGI effects crews can create believable
fire effects as it always look like shit.

The scene where the firefighters are hosing down the fast moving burning train was sensational, and then i always
have been fond of scenes with burning suits and the burning waiter he was impressive. Today, the CGI cretins are
much too lazy to use stuntmen for these scenes as they well know that kids world wide, adjusted to computer gaming,
will enjoy CGI digital crap effects for burning things, fires, explosions, bloodletting and fire from weapons.

One thing though, if you jump from an express train in full speed you don't just get some bruises and rise brushing off
some dust on your clothes, according to the law of physics You Die.

The film is 3 hour long and it starts with much romance and comedy when the 2 buddies Ashok (Dharmendra) and
Vinod Verma (Vinod Khanna) meets their soon to be girlfriends Seema (Hema Malini) and Sheetal (Parveen Babi,
1949-1005) the female Mega Star in the 1970's and beginning of the 1980's along Zeenat Aman. Babi's story is a
tragic one with schizophrenia and more and more odd behaviour that estranged her with the movie people and she
died poor and alone far away from the spotlights of Bollywood only 55 years old.

Vinod and Sheetal

Vinod's an engineer who has won Indian Railways competition of constructing a new fast train, the Super Express
project, that manage the route Delhi - Bombay in only 14 hours instead of as before 23. Another constructor Randhir
(Danny Denzonga), he's not happy loosing the contest and also Vinod got the beautiful girl who Randhir wanted to
marry. DD wears a thin moustache just like any revolver man dressed in black in a spaghetti western movie, so we
know he's the Bad Guy and yes, he plants a bomb on the train and also puts the brake system out of order.

As in any Catastrophe film action we get to know some of the about 500 passengers on the train, the Super Express
that left New Delhi with lots of pomp and circumstance. There are Seema, Ashok, the pickpocket Ravi (Jeetendra),
the fleeing bride Madhi, Raju - Vinod's son, 2 diamond smugglers, a burning dining-car waiter, a dead locomotive
driver, a pregnant woman soon to deliver .... what else, this is a catastrophe movie, the betel chewing woman Ramkali
and .... yes, a bunch of cute kids naturally.
Ashok, not on the train from the start, get's to know about the bomb and hunts the fastmoving train in a car and on a
motorcycle to reach the train and at a station stop he can enter the train. But, soon afterwards the bomb explodes and
the train start to run amok. Hmm, maybe it would've been more advisable to use the phone and call a station ahead of
the train, where the passengers could've been evacuated when stopping. But, there's action film rules, so ...

There's cool titles to this film, a bit psychedelic and with spaghetti western-esque music where voices can be heard
chanting the english title. widescreen format (not sure about the specs and if the full frame is shown) hindi 5.1 or 2.0
with english subs and song/dance number with subs too. There's a small transparent logo in the upper left corner

This is a low price edition that costed just 45 rupees, nearly nothing. Soon there will be no DVD's any more due to the
new streaming consumption habits. I heard from a friend visiting China recently that there's hardly any DVD's to buy
anymore, and with cheap discs like this not even the pirates find it worth their time.
As an old record and VHS collector i love to hold an (un-scratched) disc in my hand and the sleeve in my other and to
put in my player. Production of DVD and Blu-ray discs will be a handiwork as forgotten as the usage of the slide-rule


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