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The Girl On The Train (2016) vs The Girl On The Train (2021 Indian Remake)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film (2016)
The Film (2021)

SUMMARY

A comparison of the 2016 English and 2021 Indian adaptation Paula Hawkins’ novel of the same name that follows a divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a family in house she believes has the perfect life she can't obtain.

The Girl on the Train (2016)The English version of The Girl on the Train in 2016 and the Indian “Netflix Original” from 2021 both follow the same plotline based on Paula Hawkins’ novel of the same name.  The story has to do with a divorced woman that takes the train every day and sees a house that catches her attention and the people staying there.

In both movies the female protagonists’ husbands betray them with marital infidelity and divorce them. They live with their new wives in the house where they used to live before, living the perfect life. Both Rachel in English version (played by Emily Blunt) and Mira from Indian version (played by Parineeti Chopra) place much importance on the existence of a baby in their life and they become depressed and alcoholic, thus losing their husbands and jobs. However, they are unable to move on with their lives, as they become obsessed with their exes, to the point of calling them at night and stalking them on social media. At the same time the people in their favorite house look very happy and they invest emotionally in them, as they become devastated and enraged by the possibility of the perfect wife cheating on her perfect husband. They feel like they relive their own betrayal and their world is shattered to the point that they think of hurting this woman. Next day they wake up wounded, alone,  and unable to remember what happened. They try to figure it out before the police can be alerted.

Nevertheless, there are some differences, which mostly have to do with some details. In the case of the English version Rachel worked in public relations and is depressed because she couldn’t have a baby. Rachel lives near her friend who cannot handle her after a while, because of her way of living. She appears very obsessed and disheartened, and the character is creepier than the Indian one. Rachel’s ex-husband has a baby now with his new wife at their previous home and there is a scene where Rachel almost kidnaps the child. The narration starts from the present and then we see through flashbacks moments from her past life. The perfect housewife, Megan, who goes missing is a nanny and the face of the lover at the balcony cannot be recognized from the audience, who knows about the case, as much as the female protagonist does. She has an affair with her psychiatrist, which does not happen in the Indian case. The investigation clues are mostly counted on interrogation and spying, but the movie still remains character-centered. Cinematography includes mostly gray and brown tones, which creates a sad and claustrophobic atmosphere. The end turns bloody, but still everything happens within the law.

In the Indian version, Mira is a lawyer, she got pregnant and lost the baby after a fatal car accident. Her ex-husband is living with his new wife at their previous home, but they do not have any children. The narration starts in the middle, then we see Mira’s past life and then the current plot begins. The housewife of her favorite house, Nusrat, is a nurse and the face of the man in the balcony is seen and the man can be recognized from the audience. Unlike the English version, she is just friends with her psychiatrist. Many clues in the case are found through cameras and generally the movie is more centered around the police investigation. Cinematography and atmosphere are not as muted and depressing as the English version and the use of songs and certain unique elements make the situation look more endurable. The most significant plot difference has to do gangsters. Also there are two villains who want to trap the female protagonist in the case and she gets anonymously blackmailed. Mira got betrayed by her husband in a worse way than in the English version and the end is very bloody and it has the sense of personal revenge.

If we compare and contrast these two films, it is obvious that the English version is better than the Indian one. Unfortunately, the 2021 movie is very pretentious and a bit chaotic sometimes. Parineeti Chopra would be ideal for a romantic film or a comedy, but definitely not for this. There were times that I did not know if Mira is a character in a romantic comedy or actually a mystery one and generally the whole concept reminded me of a bad quality of a soap opera. The aesthetic and the premise was totally ruined. At the same time, I would like to praise Emily Blunt for this exceptional performance as Rachel in 2016 version. Even though it is a long movie and the first half seems slow, it is worth having some patience, mostly because of the performances, the suspense of the second half and the ending. In general, The Girl on the Train as a film relies a lot on the protagonist and direction. At the Indian case, direction makes it more pleasant to watch, still it feels superficial and fails on acting part, which is the reason why I would not recommend it.


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The Girl on the Train (2021) is streaming now on Netflix

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