Mayank Shekhar's Review: Teen Patti
The movie is the most elegantly lit rendition of pure gibberish that I’ve seen in a while. The filmmakers profess they came up with this script before the Kevin Spacey starrer 21 came into the theatres.india Updated: Feb 27, 2010 10:55 IST
Director: Leena Yadav
Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, R Madhavan
Bachchan plays a failing mathematician at an institute of technology in Mumbai. His papers get rejected each time, instantly upon their submission. His fellow professors don’t think much of his eccentric ways. Judging his luck, a colleague of his says, Indian campuses don’t value genius. Was he a professor (of mathematics) at an American university, by now, he would’ve picked up a Nobel.
To the best of my knowledge, they don’t give out Nobels in math. But then again, as any amateur will tell you, there is no math in the pedestrian ‘teen patti’ either. They’re merely Diwali card-games played on Dutch bravado and pointed bluff.
Bachchan’s professor dreams up certain theories on probability. It is never made clear what they are. So the premise of the picture itself remains unknown. But he’s sure he can crack the game on any table. He and a few moronic college kids frequent gambling dens posing as hustlers, and bring home fair loot every night. Again, of course, we don’t know how.
Merely notations denoting permutation, combination of sequences appear scribbled on the screen, and jutting out of the prof’s head. For an explanation he suggests: Man is a process, not an event. Sure. The old champion is blackmailed into performing tricks. Stakes go up. So do the scale of the dens they operate in.
Mahesh Manjrekar walks in to scratch the back of his neck with a Mauser. Shakti Kapoor gets a cardiac arrest watching Pakistan beat India in an ODI. One of the dunce college boys develops morbid of fear of the close circuit camera. A local goon makes an appearance once in a while. Raima Sen flits in as Madhavan’s fiancé. Ajay Devgn pontificates on freedom from attachment... This, while the old professor narrates his Shakespearean story to a magician, Ben Kingsley, as Kingsley makes a coffee mug levitate over a table.
No kidding. This is the most elegantly lit (cinematographer Aseem Bajaj) rendition of pure gibberish that I’ve seen in a while. The filmmakers profess they came up with this script before the Kevin Spacey starrer 21 came into the theatres. Given this flick, you couldn’t care less for its alleged inspiration.
And given Bachchan, of course, there’ll be that long monologue in a sincere baritone from the actor at some point. He picks up the Newton prize, for his uncertainty principle, and theory on randomness. That theory, by the way, cannot be anything but this movie itself.
First Published: Feb 26, 2010 17:50 IST