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Whodunit falls flat

anuj kumar
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lacklustre plot Abhishek Bachchan in ‘Game'
lacklustre plot Abhishek Bachchan in ‘Game'

W e know ad filmmakers have this remarkable ability to tell a complete story in 30 seconds. But this talent could become a liability when an ad filmmaker attempts a feature film and that too a thriller. Director Abhinay Deo had shared so much in his smart promos that his ‘game' got revealed much before the film's release. The smartness fizzles out when it is stretched to two hours. The debutant director doesn't have a strong enough screenplay to let the moments, little twists and turns cast their spell.

The purpose of the whodunit is lost and it becomes a test of patience when by the beginning of the second half you can anticipate who is going to be the killer/mastermind. Deo does very little to surprise you apart from showing his flair for rich visual tapestry, which becomes a liability, a superficial cover for lack of clever plotting.

To give its due the premise retains its charm for it involves four strangers with frayed nerves indulging in deception to hide their murky past. It all leads to murder and revenge is at the centre of it all. However, script and screenplay writer Althea Delmas Kaushal lets his director down by opting for a clichéd narrative, which Bollywood used to play decades back. Even CID has moved beyond left hand, right hand and double role kind of stuff. The police officer's assistant is predictably dumb; the female journalist contemplates in a bath tub and the politician over a drink.

Four people of Indian origin from different parts of the world whose respective lives are on the boil are called to a gorgeous Greek island by a business tycoon (Anupam Kher). Number one (Boman Irani) is a prime ministerial candidate in Thailand, second (Jimmy Shergill) is a superstar in Mumbai, third (Abhishek Bachchan) is a drug lord in Istanbul and the fourth Shahana Goswami) is troubled journalist in London. As they come to face the quartet realises that the business magnate's intentions are anything but friendly.

In comes a vivacious club dancer, (debutante Sarah Jane Dias in two song, three scene kind of role), who also traverses cities and around whom the plot revolves. Completing the picture is Kangna Ranaut as the glamorous investigating officer, who seems to have more knowledge about style scene than crime scene.

No, one didn't go to watch this game for realism but one can't cross potholes in an uninspiring script on the shaky bridge of styling. The locations overpower the characters with actors getting very little substance to play with. There is more to characterisation than choosing the right outfits and the shades. Not a single dialogue (by none other than Farhan Akhtar) packs a punch. Irani and Shergill manage to give the incoherent characterisation, a degree of menace but Bachchan fails to rise above the script and the director's proclivity for shooting everything like a fashion portfolio or a tourist brochure. His entry is solid but after that he outlives his welcome. Sarah has a great screen presence but she has hardly been tested in terms of performance. Shahana is wasted as she repeats her kohled-eyed edgy look without any real purpose. Kangna, once again, gets hold of the shallow mood and plays along rather nicely and is pretty good to look at in this postcard, which is not well-addressed!

anuj kumar

Game Genre: Thriller Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Kangna Ranaut, Sarah Jane Dias, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher Plot: Four strangers are called on a Greek island by a billionaire for a bloody deal. Bottom line: Games kids play!

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