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Teen Patti

In 2008,‘21’ gave us a bunch of MIT students trained to be card sharps cleaning up at casinos in Las Vegas. In 2010,'Teen Patti’ gives us a bunch of BIT ( this institute,unlike the former,is fictional) students trained to be card sharps cleaning up at sleazy Mumbai gambling dens.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Published: February 26, 2010 2:54:13 pm

Cast:Ben Kingsley,Amitabh Bachchan,R Madhavan,Shraddha Kapoor,Raima Sen,Siddharth Kher,Dhruv Ganesh,Vaibhav Talwar,Saira Mohan

Director :Leena Yadav

Rating: **

In 2008,‘21’ gave us a bunch of MIT students trained to be card sharps cleaning up at casinos in Las Vegas. In 2010,’Teen Patti’ gives us a bunch of BIT ( this institute,unlike the former,is fictional) students trained to be card sharps cleaning up at sleazy Mumbai gambling dens.

Yadav,in her second outing after ‘Shabd’,puts in Bollywood flavour into her borrowed storyline by adding in starry cameos,a sultry song with a siren flashing the barest back we’ve seen in a while,and sub-plots involving romance and jealousy. But,at its core,’Teen Patti’ is a rip-off.

So this is what we get. Amitabh Bachchan,playing math whiz-cum-maverick professor Venkat Subramaniam at an institute which shows him no respect. Ben Kingsley,a counterpart in the UK,who invites him,out of the blue,to explain his ‘brilliant’ theory of probability. The two venerable gentlemen sit across a table,and allow the film to unfold in flashbacks,telling the story of the misunderstood prof and his little band of students,primed to read cards and signal in hand codes,and rake it in,until they run into unfactored equations.

The trouble with ‘Teen Patti’ is not that we’re all too familiar with its central idea. It lies in the patchy way the plot is laid out,and in the characters who do not,at any point,feel completely filled out. In too many places,the design is allowed to scream for attention,overwhelming the people,and the action,such as there is.

In their extended palaver ,Kingsley throws away a line about ‘ us geniuses,borderline madmen’. He keeps it down,mercifully,but Bachchan plays it to the hilt,with all the flourishes maths geniuses are supposed to possess : getting terribly excited and voluble about his discovery,gathering his chosen few around,and sounding off. Madhavan,as his younger associate,is a little better,but not by much,even if he gets to get it on with svelte Saira and two-time fiancée Raima. Of the newcomers,Shraddha Kapoor stands out because she is the only girl : the rest are simply not demarcated enough,even though you can see that they’ve all tried hard.

‘Teen Patti’ is all show,not enough go.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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