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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Game

'Game’ is a good Bollywood example of a bad Hollywood film.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Published: April 1, 2011 4:40:17 pm

Director: Abhinay Deo

Cast:Abhishek Bachchan,Anupam Kher,Sarah Jane Dias,Kangana Ranaut,Jimmy Shergill,Shahana Goswami,Boman Irani,Gauhar Khan

Rating:*1/2

‘Game’ is a good Bollywood example of a bad Hollywood film : all slick surface,nothing underneath. What sets out to be a racy thriller soon turns into a series of picture postcard locations where a bunch of people come and go,fruitlessly and cluelessly,leaving you in a state of weary astonishment : is this really from the House of Farhan and Ritesh,proud producers of new age Bollywood?

Actually,I’m being unfair to bad Hollywood thrillers. Some of those are capable of giving you a fast ride,if nothing else. But ‘Game’ is a bumpy,pot-holed mess,featuring a bunch of characters all dressed up and left to fend for themselves. An immaculate nightclub owner in Istanbul (Bachchan) who dabbles in stunning strip-tease artists and drugs,a shady politico-type (Irani) based in Bangkok who wants to win the next elections,a crime reporter (Goswami) in London whose first appearance involves pulling at a hip flask as she slumps over the wheel of the car she’s crashed,and a top Mumbai filmstar (Shergill) who also likes driving when he’s smashed. This foursome is the guest of a tycoon (Kher) who lives on a Greek island,and who has reeled them in for a spot of revenge and retribution.

This is one of those films that must have sounded good on paper. We all want to see gorgeous scenery. Eye candy,both male and female,never hurt,either. Combining these elements in a murder mystery can have palatable results. But not here,no. After said tycoon comes to a gory end,leaving his expensively dressed assistant (Khan) in a teary heap,a globe-trotting sleuth (Ranaut) from something called the International Vigilance Squad,no less,shows up,only to let all the prime suspects leave,so that she can snap at a minion : I want all of them under surveillance! Bright girl.

Much scurrying about continents ensues after the four scatter in all directions,including lots of flashbacks featuring a dead girl ( Dias),who,when she was alive,swayed charmingly around poles in sheer black net. But at no point do we know anything about the characters other than what they wear. Or not. The women flash miles of leg. The crime reporter is given thick raccoon eyes. The filmstar sports a huge diamond bauble. And you can cut your finger on the crease of the natty nightclub owner’s pants,even as you wonder when he will show his true colours.

If you’ve read your Christie,you know that the least likely person will be the killer. But we’ve long lost interest by the time ‘Game’ fetches up to the climactic point,only wanting an answer to a pointed question asked,too late,in the film : what the b—y hell is going on? That mystery remains unsolved.

shubhragupta@expressindia.com

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