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The Adventrues of BETRAYED PLAYERS!
Jan 07, 2012 11:03 AM 14639 Views





Pick up a DVD of Abbas-Mustan’s film and high chances are that it’s adapted from a Western film. Yet, one won’t find any reason to complain because, as my buddy Pranay Mathur @pranay22 rightly said, “They are the only one in the industry who copy well!” They don’t merely make a scene-by-scene imitation; they Indianize the plot well so that the masses as well as the classes, the rural as well as the audiences can fully comprehend what’s going on, even if the plot is a bit technical or complicated in other ways. Their previous film Race had a series of double crossings and yet was easy to understand and highly entertaining and thrilling as well. Their latest film, Players, declared as the official remake of the both the successful versions of The Italian Job too falls in this category. Sadly, it’s neither Abbas-Mustan’s best work till date nor as good as their previous film Race. However, the film has lots of twists and jolts to keep you hooked. Even those who have seen the original films will be in for a shock!

The story of the movie: With the help of his mentor Victor dada (Vinod Khanna), Charlie (Abhishek Bachchan) assembles the team of best players – con artiste cum automobile expert Riya (Bipasha Basu), ex-magician Ronnie (Bobby Deol), polygot bomb expert Bilal (Sikander Kher) and prosthetics expert Sunny (Omi Vaidya). Victor dada couldn’t find world’s best hacker, Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh). But Victor’s daughter Naina (Sonam Kapoor) comes to the rescue and Spider too gets added to the Players’ group. The motive: stealing gold worth 10000 crores from a train that is on its way to Romania from Russia. It is a damn risky job but the Players successful rob the gold bars. However one of the gang member double crosses and betrays badly. To find out what happens next, watch the film.

Players in many ways is a typical Abbas-Mustan film – some of the lead characters are Catholics, film is shot in most lavish locations, the lead actresses are glamorous and sensual, sidekicks raise lot of laughs throughout and last but not the least, there’s double crossing and betrayal involved. However, certain factors of the film dissatisfy. The entire Vinod Khanna episode was a bit childish (esp he addressing the cops and the way they responded). Sonam’s entry sequence was startling not because of any suspense but because of bad VFX (its clear Sonam isn’t driving the car…although the middle finger scene few moments later was quite cool!). Thirdly, the songs are anything but great…and there are 3 of them in the film! I don’t mind thrillers having 4-5 songs but the music should be likeable. In case of Players, the music is unexciting but thankfully, 2 of 3 songs are situational.

Notwithstanding the flaws, Players does have a lot to offer. The film gets on track as soon as the gang members are introduced. Spider’s entry was terrific! The film gets better as soon as the Players reach Russia and the train robbery sequence gives a high! Easily the best scene of the movie more so because it was original and didn’t feature in both versions of The Italian Job! The twist at the intermission point gives a shock. The second half too has its share of exciting sequences. The best part here is that the good players and the bad player are equally strong and are constantly double crossing, not realizing that at the same time, they too are getting double crossed. The final robbery was too good but even better was the twist and turns post-robbery. Having said that, the final scene of the film was a bit dumb!

Players doesn’t boast of award-winning performances but nevertheless, is rather decent. Abhishek Bachchan was a making a bit of effort to come across as cool in Game. Here, he seems at ease and gives a cool and macho performance. It’s unfortunate that he isn’t having a good time at the box office with 4 of his previous films that have underperformed. Hopefully, Players will do fair enough to at least recover the costs! Sonam Kapoor looked glamorous (and cute with the specs) and gives a fine performance although she can do better. Bipasha Basu was too good and looked immensely sizzling. Neil Nitin Mukesh was the surprise of the film. After Johnny Gaddaar, Jail and 7 Khoon Maaf, here comes yet another spectacular performance from this highly talented actor. Bobby Deol doesn’t have much to do but leaves a mark. Sikander Kher was decent but he should get rid of his long hair! After average performance in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji and disastrous job in Desi Boyz, Omi Vaidya finally does good work here in Players!

Vinod Khanna didn’t seem in form and his scenes were plain mediocre. In fact, his was a significant character and the reason why the gang members set out to settle scores. Yet, one doesn’t sympathize much with them because of the veteran actor’s okayish performance! Aftab Shivdasani excels in special appearance. Johny Lever was very funny! Vyacheslav Razbegaev (Russian general) looked dashing. Shweta Bharadwaj was damn hot. Others were quite okay.

Pritam’s music as said before was disappointing. Jis Jagah Pe is the only decent song but is missing from the film but its theme instrumental was exciting and was played throughout the film. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score was equally good. Ravi Yadav’s cinematography was stunning and the locales were breathtakingly shot! However, he scores the most in the train robbery and the car chasing scenes. Hussain Burmawalla’s editing, barring few instances, was too good. Allan Amin’s action was as expect terrific and one of the reasons why the film keeps you hooked. However, the final chase scene involving Mini Cooper wasn’t exciting and the humour quotient added here was plain unimaginative. And the mention of these cars reminds me…the Mini Coopers were too good and played a huge role in the film. In fact, the popularity of the cars might soar with this film. No wonder that the makers of the car came up with full page ads in newspaper on the day Players released!

Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma’s story-screenplay-dialogue was fine but could had been better. For one, there are too many cinematic liberties. No harm in them and even The Italian Job had it but in Players, it’s far too much. The Players easily come learn about the Russian govt’s plan of transporting the gold including the secret details…difficult to digest! Naina doesn’t even get a hint that Charlie, his dad and gang are planning a robbery is again not convincing. And lastly, the ease with which Charlie could change his voice was just too much! But the dialogues were sharp and the script does have its moments.

Abbas-Mustan’s direction was as usual too good. The story might be immensely complicated but their narrative is always plain and simple. The film might be almost 160 minutes long but barring the songs, the duo haven’t wasted time on unnecessary things and random things happening in the film have some purpose later…from Riya nervously going for a drink in the Russian nightclub to the museum robbery in Auckland! And plus, the film throws in a hell lot of twists and that’s where Abbas-Mustan succeed! Here’s hoping that their next (Race 2) is a much better thrilling ride!


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