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Crew review: Three gutsy women own their roles

Centred around the lives of three members of a flight crew, the film also impishly captures the quirks and pet peeves of airline travel

Screengrab of a scene from Crew with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon and Tabu.
Screengrab of a scene from Crew with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon and Tabu.

The sisterhood in Crew – a heist comedy centred around three members of a flight crew, each contending with their own financial preoccupations – is made undeniably attractive by powerhouse actresses Tabu and Kareena Kapoor Khan. 

Tabu plays Geeta Sethi, a former small town beauty queen married to a home chef (Kapil Sharma). Geeta is mostly concerned that her airline employer is not releasing her Provident Fund dues. A career stewardess, she rues that in her middle-class life, where she is incessantly asking passengers if they prefer “veg or non veg”, she has simply gone from “Beauty Queen se bai” (from beauty queen to maid). Tabu really owns the part as a senior staff member and as a working wife with a house husband – the domestic role reversal is delightful to watch.

Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Jasmine Kohli on the other hand, is persistently seeking get-rich-quick schemes, usually involving sleight of hand. Ready with her quick wit and jibe, Jasmine is never without a plan B. Aspiring for a life of luxury, Jasmine is also trying to be entrepreneurial and build a business. “If I have to shed tears, I’d rather do it in a Beemer than on a bus,” she says. If only her bank balance supported her designer aspirations. 

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The youngest member of the crew, ‘Divya Rana from Haryana’ is played by Kriti Sanon. Her dream of becoming a pilot was thwarted, having her slip into a tight red skirt and ridiculous headgear, to work in sleazy Vijay Walia's (Saswata Chatterjee) Kohinoor airlines. No subtlety here. 

In the company of Tabu and Khan, Sanon’s performance gets a boost. A sharp, smart montage establishes the routine of a crew member’s work, and also some of the less glamorous aspects of their profession. 

Curiously Divya, Jasmine and Geeta always manage to get rostered on the same flight, which also ferries an aging and ailing older pilot. During one such journey, they discover an international smuggling operation and the dazzle of wealth lures them in. 

Can crime pay? Will the return of Divya’s old flame Jaiveer (Diljit Dosanjh), as the local customs officer, prove to be a potential disaster for the crew's criminal plans? Will the runaway airline owner – who renders hundreds of employees jobless when he declares bankruptcy – get his just deserts?

Director Rajesh Krishnan keeps the narrative moving at a steady clip and impishly captures the quirks and pet peeves of airline travel. Haven’t we all rolled our eyes at travellers who stand up while the seatbelt sign is still on or noticed the robotic demonstration of security instructions before take-off? 

Writers Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri set up an interesting space for the story, but it careens off course in the latter hour of the 123-minute run time when the crew’s conscience gets a jolt. Crew would have benefited from a crisper screenplay, fewer product placements and eliminating a couple of spare characters, such as Geeta’s good-for-nothing brother and Divya deceiving her parents about her job.

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There is also an overuse of repurposed old songs such as 'Sona kitna sona hai' (from Hero No. 1, 1997) and ‘Choli ke peeche kya hai’ (from Khal Nayak,1993). The most catchy original track ‘Naina’ is pushed to the end credits. 

While for the most part the characters are in work clothes, their civilian looks are shockingly tacky. But Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kriti Sanon own even these wardrobes, relishing the opportunity to play ballsy women who are ready for a bumpy landing.

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