Review - Teen Patti: no mind game

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
quick review:

Teen Patti is no mind game. It could have been. Had it not folded the game's nuances out of sight or been blind the psyche of the players. A wonderful performance by Amitabh Bachchan and his stooped shoulders can carry only so much weight of the other non-actors.

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Wogma Review

I've a problem with films that so heavily bank on a particular theme but provide no technical background about it and do not make an attempt to weave it into the main plot. In this case, it’s the game of "Teen Patti" (a reduced form of Poker, I believe). Replace the gambling background with any other field in which the protagonist is an expert and voila we have another film - Fixing of games in sports, organ trade…o-kay I'm getting crude, but you see what I mean. There is absolutely no attempt at showing us how the game or the system around it works. I'm not asking for a lesson, but I should know the writers are actually interested in their film's premise.

Without those details, to me the master plan just looked like peeping into other people's cards and figuring out who has a better hand. Some genius. There is ample attempt at making it look and sound interesting, with rugged and glamorous sets as needed. And with psycho-babble about life, happiness and sundry. But that's all it remains a trial - which did not work.

The only thing which worked is Amitabh Bachchan's acting, but then, when is the last time it didn't? And why would I want to watch a film for that when there are so many other options with the same feature. The rest of the cast including R. Madhavan who usually does a very good job of convincing us of his character, is shudder-inducing.

Anyway, it's not like there are very well-written characters. And this, despite all of them being gray. None of them are outright villainous and they surely don’t aspire to be heroic. They are each given a non-caricature-like distinguishing feature, but this isn't taken any further. No details, no nuances. They did know we are going to take objection to the woman being used only for her form and be treated as more or less brainless.

Thankfully, the team of students who are making careers in gambling aren't shown as professional thugs who get it right from the word go. They try to maintain balance, with each of the team members going wrong in their plans and getting them all in trouble. But it soon becomes a pattern that you can easily see through. And the whole justification of carrying on one silly scheme after the other is pretty bonkers too.

The basic, basic premise is taken from 21. Of course, the makers wanted to feel creative, so the protagonist and the sub-plots are changed around. Too little, in the early, the middle and the latter parts too. Only it gets more and more fragmented and ridiculous as it progresses towards the climax.

There ain't no meat in the concept, the story, or the sub-plots. The only thing that keeps it going from being a complete write-off is Amitabh Bachchan's acting. Is that enough? This once, it doesn't look like it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Plentyful gun shots and bloody faces.
  • Language: A little rough at times
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One song with a barely-clad female lead singer. Sequences shot in pubs and road-side bars brewing with characters that are defined by the profanity they spew.
  • Concept: greed for money exemplified by gambling
  • General Look and Feel: Carries an extremely superficial ambience through out.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 1.5
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 1
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 1.5

Teen Patti - Movie Details

Teen Patti - Trailer

Comments (13)

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Brajeshwar:

So, you mean to say, its not even as good as half the original - 21 - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478087/

meetu:

@Brajeshwar Actually its not an exact remake of 21, but the base concept comes from there. In any which ways, it is certainly worse than 21, not that 21 was VERY good.

Interval:

I really thought this movie was gonna be like 21 with Kevin Spacey - the way it started out at least...

With Big B in the movie that bumps the lead actor to at least a 3.

Nice Review....

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Hindi Radio:

I am really SAD that Amitabh Bachchan has degraded his value and doing this kind of movie. I am also shocked that producers are wasting money on this kind of movie. -100 rating for the movie!

meetu:

Well Rummy, don't you think it is only now that he can actually afford to experiment. Along with Aks and Paa you are bound to get some misses. I too wish all his experiments worked, but doubt that can actually happen.

Search:

He can still experiment with his movies..
There are already many hits in his bag.
But the movie is poor and is not intelligent as expected.

Senigallia:

This is Amitabh Bachchan's best film shot ever

Web Designers:

Well, I just saw the movie yesterday on television. To say the least, it was pathetic. A very apt review. Shraddha Kapoor is charming though.

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - wow, talk about a waste of talent! When my Bollywood Movie Fan Friends and I saw this was a movie that starred Amitabh Bachchan and Ben Kingsley, we jumped at the chance of seeing the two of them share a screen. Given what they ended up doing together, it may as well have been Salman Khan and Kunal Nayyar (who plays socially-awkward NRI scientist Raj on the US sitcom THE BIG BANG THEORY!).

I kept hoping there would be a big twist right before the Interval, like Kingsley was a mathematician who was actually a Global Crime Lord, and he was offering Bachchan a chance to become his Don in India - after they kill off all the college kids with knowledge of his system, of course! And Bachchan was, in fact, a CBI Agent undercover as a college math professor - and his "students" are in fact his squad, and it all ends with a transcontinental gun battle from Cambridge to Delhi!

Is that ridiculous? Sure - but it's still less ridiculous than how this movie ended, with :: SPOILERS, SWEETIE! ;) :: ....

With that said, of course Bachchan's excellent as an obsessive mathematician - you may as well ask if soaking your head will cool you off. If anything, he's a little too excellent, given he's supposed to be an unworldly and easily pushed around college professor - there are a few scenes that have nothing to do with the character, and everything to do with the fact that nobody punks Amitabh Bachchan without getting their face slapped! Kingsley is likewise very good, especially given that he's just A Sounding Board To Get Us Into The Story crossed with a deus ex machina - but you can see he wishes he had something to do other than toss Bachchan straight lines, and marvel at how good Bachchan's English is....

The only real surprise in this entire too-predictable movie is Shradda Kapoor, who goes from studious girlgeek to wild party chick, and really seems to come to life in the latter role. She reminds me a little of American actress Ellen Barkin, who seems to become more beautiful the more passionate she becomes - I would love to see her tackle a Kajol-type of part, to see if she's got the acting chops to match her raw star power.

meetu:

@TimELiebe just when I was beginning to forget how bad this one was ... :P

TimELiebe:

I'm sorry, @Meetu - but the pain of TEEN PATTI just has to be shared....

meetu:

@TimELiebe Yes, pain is said to reduce when you share it. So, bring it on :D

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - I saw AASHQUI 2 at your recommendation, and while I felt I'd seen this movie many many times before, it confirmed everything I'd thought about Shradda Kapoor from here. She is - luminescent, and really deserves to have a few parts where she can show just how incredible she could be....

I think she may be my new Indian Lady Actress Crush. :) Well, Tammy has Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan and Amitabh Bachchan (she had me buy a DVD of NAMASTEY LONDON because she loves AK's performance in it!)- I can have more than one as well. :)

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