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Mayank Shekhar's review: Game

Billionaire Kabir Malhotra makes his patient speech. Culprits realise their gruesome crimes. He offers each of them a free night's stay at his island hence. Before the cops can come pick them up next day. Why? So we can watch this film. Why else.

movie reviews Updated: Apr 02, 2011 12:17 IST
Mayank Shekhar

Seriously, how lame

Game
Director: Abhinay Deo
Actors: Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani
Rating: *

Boman Irani is Thai by nationality. Though his impeccable Hindi may not suggest so. Not just that. He is in fact the front-runner to the prime minister's post in this East Asian monarchy. You see. I do.

Boman appears quite early on in this flick, and you figure right there that this picture is a figment of too unreal an imagination for India's GDP growth to match. Geography is for jokers.

Boman's Mr Ramsay receives a letter from a multi-billionaire, who wants to see him in Greece quite urgently. Three other desperate blokes receive the same invitation: a London-based crime journalist (Shahana Goswami), a Bombay filmstar (Jimmy Shergill), and an Istanbul casino owner (Abhishek Bachchan). The venue of this meeting is an island called Samos that the businessman personally owns. Anupam Kher is that billionaire, given to profound love for botany. His private resort looks slicker (though is much smaller) than Dr Dang's own country in Karma (1986)!

This major industrialist has collected vital evidences against his guests. They're all, in their own ways, responsible for the death of his abandoned daughter (Sarah Jane Dias): Mr Ramsay, the PM-in-waiting, turned her into a sex-worker in his prostitution ring. The Istan-bull (Bachchan) apparently got her into the drug-dealing business. And the Bollywood hero killed her in a road accident (of course). The fourth guest, the crime journo, at the mahogany table, it turns out, is the billionaire's other daughter. She never knew this.

Billionaire Kabir Malhotra makes his patient speech. Culprits realise their gruesome crimes. He offers each of them a free night's stay at his island hence. Before the cops can come pick them up next day. Why? So we can watch this film. Why else.

By morning, Malhotra saab is dead. You may like to know who killed him, or if he committed suicide. Or probably not. The filmmakers don't either. There's no one in the world (no employees at his own company) to take a peek at what's going on at his 10 billion euro empire, or his private island, once he's no more.

The action's completely shifted. I'm actually more intrigued by this slick international agency that's come in to investigate this crime. These sleuths are connected with close circuit cameras on streets and under-cover inspectors everywhere, from Greece to Thailand. They're swiftly linked on real-time to the pandu hawaldar at the police station in Andheri as well. Who're these super-cops? Kangana Ranaut is the top detective. She swings a pen around her fingers, pouts unsurely for a living. A dapper desi man is her humble assistant.

It's a game. It's not over yet, we're repeatedly told. We know. It won't ever get over. There's a third-rate twist at every corner. One Neil Menon (Bachchan) is the prime target. Menon is quite the man. He smokes the cigarello to replace bidi from its '70s coolness; hides a knowing smirk, always; can pack in quite a frikin' punch. Between the hero's stupendous swagger and senseless shots of a solitary yacht in a vast ocean, it's really hard to tell who's behind this part noir, part nonsense, packaged hollowness. Never mind the killer in the picture.

Background score is an indoor concert. Artwork aims at advertising photography alone. Farhan Akhtar's written the dull dialogue. His company's produced the pic (their recent credits include Luck By Chance, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Rock On, Karthik Calling Karthik…).

Which is sad, given no actor in Bollywood believes in the 'auteur theory' more than Abhishek Bachchan does. If you've noticed, practically all his colossal creative failures (let alone their box-office response) seem to have been directed by filmmakers most would otherwise trust: Shaad Ali's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (after Bunty Aur Babli), Ashutosh Gowariker's Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se (after Jodhaa Akbar), Mani Ratnam's Raavan (after Guru), Rakeysh Mehra's Delhi 6 (after Rang De Basanti).... There's got to be a theory behind this series. Hopefully one that's better than the dumb murder mystery in this film!