Director: Baba Yadav
Story AR Murugadoss
Music : Jeet Ganguly
Cast: Jeet, Subhashree, Sudipta Ballav, Mousumi Saha, Saurabh Chakraborty, Arindam Sil, Biswajit Chakraborty, and others
By Shoma A. Chatterjee
Game is the Bengali copyrighted version of the Tamil film Thuppakki, the biggest Tamil hit of 2012. It is about the story of an Indian army intelligence officer deputed as an undercover anti-terrorist squad leader to uncover attacks and destroy the ‘sleeper cells’ deployed by a terrorist group planning to bomb 12 different locations in Kolkata.
Abhimanyu (Jeet) unravels the secret locations but finds it difficult to locate the leader of these ‘cells’ and the kingpin behind the entire operation which comes across only in the climax. Abhimanyu sets up his own group of 11 and himself making a dozen to deploy each one after a single location earmarked for the bomb explosions. The romantic flavour comes in the conventional mode of a proposed arranged marriage to the beautiful and bold Trisha (Subhashree) who is a champion boxer though we do not see her in action except in the beginning. She is initially fleshed out to be an unconventional spoilt daughter of adoring parents but later on, she is nothing much beyond a clothes hanger to showcase a massive wardrobe and a hollow foil for the solid Abhimanyu. The first half is filled with dynamic action, chases, leaps, somersaults and what-have-you to a bus explosion that kills dozens of school-going children and Abhimanyu’s painstaking research to unravel the locations, the strategy and the timing of the 12 explosions. Jeet, with a strapping body ready for action, is realistic in the action scenes though the film opening with a song-and-dance by the soldiers does not quite jell with the spirit of the film.
The second half with dream scenes shot in boring foreign locations are too synthetic for the mainstream audience but just right for the front benchers and the audience in suburban towns and villages. Somehow, the ebullience and the electric chemistry in the first half tapers away in the second. Saurabh Chakrabarty as the kingpin of the sleeper cells is handsome has a great body and should look out for producers lining up at his door for big roles. He has wonderful screen presence and a silent, dark look that makes the character convincing. Sudipta Ballav as Abhimanyu’s good-hearted and chubby policeman friend is disarming and natural. Jeet has learnt the rare art of projecting a sterling appearance by matching it with corresponding action and shines as Abhimanyu though ‘slipping under the skin of the character’ is not demanded by this kind of film. There is a raw energy that drives the film towards it predictable climax. The ‘sister-kidnapping’ strategy as a process of blackmail could have been replaced with something more logical, intelligent and credible because terrorists generally keep away from kidnaps specially of girls because it renders them susceptible to greater media exposure and therefore identification followed by easy capture.
Jeet Ganguly’s Ore manwa is catchy and hummable enough to carry along with you and make it your ring tone or caller tune but this kind of film could have done well with lesser song-dance sequences. The biggest flaw lies in the ready, continuous and magical flow of firearms on either side – the undercover operationists and the army intelligence. It reminds one of P.C. Sorcar’s famous “Water of India.” Game, in terms of entertainment and action is game for everyone – a well-planned strategy for commercial success and audience pull for weeks, perhaps.