Players - The Review
Friday, January 06, 2012
Subhash K. Jha

Hindi Film Review

By Subhash K Jha


Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu,Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sunny Deol,Sonam Kapoor, Omi Vaidya,Sikandar Kher

Directed by Abbas-Mustan

Rating: 3 ½ stars

Adaptations are by their very nature dicey, a second-hand art. But second-hand is one thing. Second-rate quite another. Players does a first-rate job of adapting The Italian Job. It’s slick and well-written, eye-catching and intelligent, witty and delectable.

Eschewing the urge to simply pick up a fast-paced slick heist film the Peter Collinson 1969 crime caper The Italian Job , Abbas-Mustan have done a neat job of derivation without distortions in the source material. Yes , there are what one would call some annoying Indianisations, with Johnny Lever(an Abbas-Mustan favourite) and his comic relief and the gawd-awful songs(Pritam,what were you thinking?) getting in the way of the adrenaline romp.

But the background score by Sandeep Shirodkar is topnotch, pumping up the adrenaline without going berserk with the banshee.

Yup,it holds together, finally. All 3 hours of it. The action sequences, let’s state at the outset, are first-rate, superior to the ones we saw recently in the impressively-mounted homages to hijinks Ra.One and Don 2. Alan Amin shoots the stunts with a wicked glint in the camera’s eye. We can tell these guys had as much fun shooting the wild ride on skidding roads and craggy railtracks as we have watching them go for the gold.

Yes , those familiar with the original material would know the whole blizzard of brouhaha and manly combat is about a gold shipment. The immorality of the original characters played my Michael Caine and gang, is here diluted in some sloppy attempts at sentimentality.Vinod Khanna’s character is specially sloppily written.

But the core of the adventure tale holds together. The locations are eye-catching. The cinematography(by Ravi Yadav) sweeps across several continents creating for the characters a kind of locational spectrum where the line between adventure and crime gets blissfully blurred.

Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma’s writing is crisp and compelling. The best line is for the starlet who plays Aftab Shivdasani’s widow in a skimpy swimsuit.Suitably black, of course.

All the…er, players seem to have fun. Abhishek Bachchan tops the cool quotient, displaying a range of poker-faced emotions that would have made Michael Caine smile.

Neil Nitin Mukesh as his chief adversary brings a mean menacing tone to the villainy. But his character needed to be more intimidating.Among the ladies Bipasha Basu looks sizzling-hot. And the bikini has little to do with it.

Players is a pungent peppery bumpy and exciting ride into the oft-abused genre, the heist caper.A crisp and cool adaptation from a foreign source it beats every other action-adventure flick in recent Bollywood history.


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