Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bobby Deol, Omi Vaidya, Vinod Khanna
burrp! says: **1/2
Abbas-Mustan duo, like so many other Bollywood directors, is known for making unofficial Hindi adaptations of Hollywood movies. Players is an official remake of The Italian Job starring Edward Norton-Charlize Theron made in 2003. But is in fact, a mish-mash of both the Italian Job movies – the 2003 one and the 1969 one starring Michael Cain.
But the Bollywood version is so much more entertaining because of its sheer ridiculousness.
Bachchan plays Charlie who is a CA moonlighting as a thief extraordinaire along with his accomplice, Basu. At least, that’s what the makers want you to believe. But most malls have better security than Le Monte – the showroom from where he steals a priceless necklace in the first 15 mins of the movie. Johnny Lever is the man in-charge there who cracks typical marriage jokes and that’s when we know that the makers aren’t even trying to make a smart heist film.
So what’s the con? Russia, after several decades, is returning the gold that Romania had entrusted them with. The gold, now valued at Rs 10,000 crores, is going back by train.
Charlie needs a team, “a team of the best players in the world”. He seeks the help of his guru, Vinod Khanna, who is in prison. When he’s not making tokris to earn an honest living in prison, he’s teaching the entire police force about the workings of a criminal mind. (Example: The police are trying to solve a case of a missing necklace and have before and after pictures of the living room. Khanna tells them that they’ve overlooked the true crime. The thief has stolen a painting and replaced it with a fake one. He knows this because he noticed the difference of a stroke between the signatures in the pictures. He can also tell them that the thief is a woman. How? Because a vase has been rearranged! The police force nods in respect.)
So, yes, Charlie needs a team. And he gets one. Aside from Basu, who has the ability to seduce anything that moves and is also an auto expert, Charlie recruits Ronnie (Deol) an illusionist, Bilal (Kher) a bomb expert and Sunny (Vaidya) a cosmetologist. They need one more player, the world’s best hacker, Spider (Mukesh) who has in the past hacked into NASA satellites. The only hitch is, no one can find him. ‘Incidentally’, Khanna’s daughter Naina is a computer expert and has made Spider her case study. She agrees to help Charlie track him.
Anyway, they find him and the team is finally set. They manage to loot the train but Spider betrays the team by taking all the gold and attempting to kill the rest. That is the first half. The second half shows how they recover the gold and take revenge on Spider.
There is a line in the movie that perfectly describes Abbas-Mastan’s style of filmmaking; “Kahaani mein twist lane ki tumhaari aadat ho chuki hai”. It seems like the directors sit and think, “What should be the next logical scene?” And then they go and shoot the exact opposite.
The dialogues in the first half are completely inane. Stating the obvious also seems to be the theme here. One dialogue that really got me laughing was the one that Neil Nitin Mukesh mouths: “Russia hai toh mafia toh hoga hi!”
The second half is where the absurdism really starts. Vaidya and Kher start a fight to distract the guards and become Dharmendra (“kutte kaminey, main tera khoon pee jayunga”) and Shatrughan Sinha (“Jali ko aag kehte hai, bujhi ko raakh kehte hai”). Johnny Lever comes again as a mechanic, twin brother of the Le Monte store in-charge, clearly a reference to Abbas-Mustan’s 1998 film Soldier. Lever-the-mechanic has two white kids and a white wife and they all speak chaste Hindi and have Indian values. He has also employed a white guy who brings him tea in a white dhoti-kurta with a red tea-towel and calls him Ramukaka.
Abhishek is okay. Basu is hot throughout the movie and completely overshadows the much younger Sonam Kapoor who is steadily becoming worse with each role. Her seductress act only manages to amuse us. Sonam: No amount of foundation can hide those dark circles. And if you do get another movie please avoid those tight leather pants.
Vaidya is stuck in a rut and still reminds us of his 3 Idiots role. The only actor who managed to impress us is Mukesh who has so much potential. We loved his over-the-top baddie expressions. It reminded us of the good ol’ days when Bollywood had villains like Mogambo.
The movie has been shot very stylishly of course although most action scenes defy the laws of physics. Players is an action-thriller-comedy. Go watch it because it will make you laugh. As long as you don’t expect it to make sense, you’ll have fun.
If you want to check show timings, watch the trailer or simply write your own review, Click Here: Players