Review: ‘Crew’ (2024), starring Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon, Diljit Dosanjh and Kapil Sharma

March 31, 2024

by Carla Hay

Kriti Sanon, Tabu and Kareena Kapoor Khan in “Crew” (Photo courtesy of FunAsia Films)

“Crew” (2024)

Directed by Rajesh Krishnan

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India and in the Cayman Islands, the comedy film “Crew” features an all-South Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Three flight attendants, who are tired of being underpaid and overworked, become involved in gold smuggling, which leads to various shenanigans and mishaps.

Culture Audience: “Crew” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and high-energy slapstick comedies revolving around misadventures and female friendships.

Rajesh Sharma in “Crew” (Photo courtesy of FunAsia Films)

Entertaining and breezy, “Crew” is a unique crime caper about three flight attendants caught up in gold smuggling and getting ahead in a system that wants to hold them back. The cast members’ chemistry and comedic timing are fantastic in this lively story. This is a slapstick comedy that isn’t meant to be entirely realistic, but the movie has realistic themes about worker exploitation and corporate greed.

Directed by Rajesh Krishnan, “Crew” was written by Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri. The movie’s three central characters are flight attendants who work for a fictional Mumbai-based company called Kohinoor Airlines, which is the largest airline company in India. All three of the flight attendants also happen to be best friends of different age groups. And all three of them have become frustrated with their flight attendant jobs because they think they are being underpaid and overworked. Kohinoor Airlines has been steadily reducing the salaries of flight attendants and other lower-level workers while expecting them to work the same number of hours.

The three central “Crew” characters are:

  • Geeta “Geetu” Sethi (played by Tabu), a married woman in her 50s, is a former beauty queen, who has been a flight attendant for the past 20 years. Geeta is happily married to a supportive husband named Arun Sethi (played by Kapil Sharma), but she’s gotten a little bit bored with her life. She worries that she is “past her prime.” Geeta’s dream is to open a restaurant in Goa with Arun. Geeta has anxiety issues and frequently pops pills to calm her nerves. Despite being neurotic, Geeta often likes to act like a wise, older sister to her two best friends.
  • Jasmine Kohli (played by Kareena Kapoor Khan), a bachelorette in her 40s, has a complicated history with money and is the most materialistic of the three friends. After her parents divorced when she was a child, Jasmine went to live with her mother’s father Nanu (played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda) and developed a close bond with him, but Jasmine has lingering insecurities because of feeling abandoned by her parents. Jasmine’s parents sent her to an elite private school, but she felt that her parents’ financial support could not substitute for the emotional support that she wanted from them. She’s had a rebellious streak since her teenage years. Jasmine’s dream is to be the CEO of her own marketing company.
  • Divya Rana (played by Kriti Sanon), a bachelorette in her 30s, is the “golden child” of her family. She has always excelled in everything that she’s done, except for one thing: fulfilling her dream of becoming an airline pilot. Divya graduated from a well-known airline pilot program she couldn’t get a job as an airline pilot, mostly because of sexism. Divya’s father is an airline pilot, but somehow Divya has been able to fool her family into thinking that she has a become pilot for Kohinoor Airlines. Divya can be hot-tempered and is the one most likely of the three friends to get into physical fights in self-defense. (For example, she strong-arms a rude passenger who slaps her on her rear end.) Divya is very close to her gay brother Chintu (played by Mohit Gupta), who used to be a computer hacker.

The beginning of the movie shows that a Kohinoor flight has returned to a terminal because of “technical difficulties.” The real reason for this emergency turnaround is that Geeta, Jasmine and Divya are suspects in a conspiracy to illegally smuggle gold bars out of India. The three pals have been detained and escorted to a room for questioning. The interrogation is led by a sub-inspector named Mala (played by Trupti Khamkar), who is eager to have these three women arrested.

Much of “Crew” consists of flashback scenes showing how Geeta, Jasmine and Divya ended up at this point. The trailers for “Crew” already reveal that it all started two years ago, during a flight where an elederly male passenger named Rajvanshi (played by Ramakant Daayama) dropped dead of an apparent heart attack near the flight attendant station. Geeta, Jasmine and Divya discovered that he had gold bars strapped underneath his clothes.

At the time they found these gold bars, all three of the women were having financial issues where they wanted extra money that they didn’t have. Geeta wanted money to open a restaurant. Jasmine was several months past due on her rent. Divya had a student loan debt that she had to pay back in two days. And so, the three friends decided to steal the gold bars without telling anyone else. Of course, this small fortune in gold that gets stolen eventually has people who go looking for it.

The three flight attendants are also feeling financially insecure because there have been news media reports that Kohinoor Airlines is on the verge of bankruptcy. Kohinoor Airlines chairman Vijay Walia (played by Saswata Chatterjee) is vehemently denying the reports and is still living a lavish lifestyle, as if everything is going well with the company. Kohinoor Airlines has a pension program for staffers called the Provident Fund that has been getting a significant portion of employee salaries who want to invest in the fund.

Geeta’s husband Arun has a sister named Sudha Mittal (played by Charu Shankar), a former flight attendant, who is married to Kohinoor Airlines’ human resources chief Pruthviraj “Minoj” Mittal (played by Rajesh Sharma), who is a talkative and corrupt buffoon. Pruthviraj reveals some information to Geeta that changes the trajectory of the story. It leads to some very amusing twists and turns—some more unpredictable than others. Diljit Dosanjh has a standout supporting role as a customs officer named Jaiveer Singh, who had a fling with Divya when she was in college, and he wants to start dating her again after not seeing her for years.

The madcap misadventures and snappy dialogue in “Crew” are consistently funny. Although many of the scenarios are intentionally exaggerated, the friendship of Geeta, Jasmine and Diya is believable—which is essential in order for this movie to be entertaining. Tabu, Khan and Sanon are in top comedic form in “Crew,” which also has hilarious performances by many of the supporting cast members. (There are some emotionally serious moments too.) Even though it’s very easy to predict how “Crew” will end, the unexpected turns in certain parts of the story creates enough suspense that will keep viewers interested in seeing what will happen next.

FunAsia Films released “Crew” in select U.S. cinemas on March 29, 2024, the same date that the movie was released in India.

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