Movie Reviews

Game review

It's a game!
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Jimmy Shergill

Directed by Abhinay Deo

Rating: 0.5 *

Each time Bollywood tries to ape the west, it twists its ankle and trips over a puddle of poop, face-first. And Game is such a poop-drenched, wannabe-whodunit thriller that on watching, you might want to find out who's done this movie, why and couldn't he just light a bonfire with the disposable money used to produce it?

The movie begins as billionaire Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) invites an odd mix of people from across the globe to visit his personal Greek island of Samos for a chance to enrich their sorry lives. As the recipients scan their letters, the name Samos pops up often and can spark a sudden craving for the savoury snack (Samosa!). A tip: keep munchies accessible.

Anyway, the lucky invitees include, drug-lord cum club-owner from Turkey, Neil Menon (Abhishek Bachchan), who's suited, booted, wears designer shades and beats people to pulp, usually when they mess with him. Then, there's Thailand's corrupt PM candidate, O P Ramsay (Boman Irani) who yells obnoxiously through the movie, yet how his toothbrush moustache stays glued on through the proceedings is Ripley's-worthy. Also invited, Bollywood actor, Vikram Kapoor (Jimmy Shergill) personifies the word 'stereotype', with his flowery shirt and exaggerated expressions. The last one on the list is a London journalist, Tisha Khanna (Shahana Goswami), whose make-up could've been as minimal as her role in this film.

As these guests assemble, Kabir threatens to expose their misdeeds and also narrates a fantastic story that connects this motley crew to his late daughter Maya (Sarah-Jane Dias). The accused initially try to rubbish the allegations and then speedily drift into repentance for their acts, while Jimmy Shergill mostly repents skipping acting school. Naturally, these high-voltage emotions have to lead to something. So we break into a cabaret song, where men wearing brassieres made of chains shake along with Maya who's up for a Burlesque meets Bandra theme.

A string of predictable mini plots follow. Kabir is mysteriously found dead, everyone is a suspect, yet no evidence to implicate anyone, resulting in a very tedious passage of time. One of the gems in this movie is the outfit that investigates, monitors and pokes its nose in issues that can be best classified as local, yet is called the International Vigilance Squad (IVS). And IVS officer, Sia Agnihotri (Kangana Ranaut) struts confidently in her spring-summer-corporate collection, hopping across the globe faster than her slurry speech trying to join the dots while you've stopped caring at kickoff. That reminds me of another priceless scene where Neil, an established football junkie, spots a group of kids wearing the blue Chelsea jersey, waving the blue Chelsea flag that reads Chelsea, rejoicing over a possible win. He calls out to them, asking, "Hey, who won?" And yes, these dialogues are written by Farhan Akhtar. But the lyrics by Javed Akhtar are only worse, there's actually a song that repeats the lines, "It's a game", endlessly till you get up on your seat and scream, "OK! Let's play!"

Abhinay Deo's direction abilities need to be questioned as his narrative is devoid of logic and packed with heightened drama. Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, cumulatively, fail to drum up even a single memorable song. Among the cast, its a tough battle for the biggest ham of the year. Yet, Anupam Kher covers the course on subtlety. Hope his acting academy is taking notes.

But if you're still hell-bent on breezing through touristy locales of Istanbul, London, Bangkok, Mumbai and Samos, chuck your nearest multiplex and pick up a Lonely Planet!

You can reach me at guha.kunal@rocketmail.com or connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter