Review - Teen Patti: no mind game
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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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
- 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.
Teen Patti - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Facebook Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Serendipity Films, Hinduja Ventures
- Producer: Ambika A Hinduja
- Director: Leena Yadav
- Lead Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ben Kingsley, R Madhavan, Saira Mohan, Raima Sen
- Supporting Cast: Dhruv Ganesh, Shraddha Kapoor, Siddharth Kher, Vaibhav Talwar
- Story: Leena Yadav, Shiv Subrahamanyam
- Screenplay: Shiv Kumar Subramaniam, Leena Yadav
- Dialogues: Shiv Kumar Subramaniam, Leena Yadav, Ben Rekhi
- Cinematography: Aseem Bajaj, Aseem Bajaj
- Editor: Hughes Winborne, Kaushik Das
- Background Score: Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
- Action Choreography: Armin Sauer, Armin Sauer, Rainer Werner
- Choreography: Ashley Lobo
- Music Director: Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant
- Lyrics: Irfan Siddique
- Costume Designer: Ameira Punvani
- Art Direction: Aditya Kanwar
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 140 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Genres: Thriller