Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor, Omi Vaidya, Sikander Kher, Bobby Deol and Vinod Khanna
All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
WARNING: Contains spoilers – if you do not wish to know what happens before viewing the film,please revisit my review after seeing Players. If you already know what happens or don’t care – read on…
And so 2012 begins, with Abbas-Mustan kicking off the year with their trademark “racy thrillers” where essentially, the audience are whiplashed into submission with a hybrid of heavy petting, extremely shiny cars and more twists and turns than a head full of curls. If Abhishek’s voice over from the trailer is not haunting you in the middle of the night (as it has done to me – made more infuriating when I can’t remember the exact wording), then count yourself lucky. To be fair, Players already seems to have annoyed more people than it has made friends with so whilst I was prepared to give the film the benefit of the doubt, I made sure to bring a packet of cynicism with me to ensure the reviewer within remained intact.
As expected, Abbas Mustan have overegged the pudding, giving us an oversexed episode of Colombo on crack – I found myself laughing unintentionally at many parts as well as ticking off a mental checklist of things as they appeared; committing crime for a vulnerable family member? Check. Unnecessary love track? Check. Heroines wearing anything non-fitted or below the thigh? Almost. To be fair, I didn’t go to Players expecting Citizen Kane and as I haven’t seen either version of The Italian Job, I had no basis for comparison.
But I have to say, Players does entertain – especially if the viewer doesn’t take the film seriously. I also thought the actual heist and action sequences were very good, especially the train robbery which cranks up the thrill factor a couple of notches. It is a shame really that Abbas Mustan feel they have to include so many twists and turns and unnecessary sentiment as if they were to employ a restrained approach, Players would be a lot shorter and more fun. Still, Abbas Mustan are what they are and their fans will certainly enjoy the film.
Performance wise, there is a strict divide – Abhishek, Bipasha, Sikander, Omi and to a point, Neil are all very good in their roles (though Neil could do with being reigned in after the interval, where he seems to go out of control) whilst Bobby and Sonam compete to give the most wooden performance; Bobby looks like he has rolled out of bed and sleepwalks through his role whilst Sonam seems to be playing dress up in the Vogue India sample cupboard (which infuriated me even more as the clothes are wasted on her – far better to have given them to Bipasha who makes even a simple vest and jeans uber-sexy). Props also go to Johnny Lever who steals the show with the comedy track and totally throws the film off kilter in the best way possible.
Is Players worth a watch? Yes, it is – go with a rowdy crowd of friends, don’t take it seriously and it will be fun. But as for repeat viewings or being a worthy addition to crazy thriller entertainer genre, Players falls short. As Neil’s character remarks, he is bored of the same old tricks being played and audiences will probably voice a similar, slightly unkinder sentiment. Whilst we love Abbas Mustan’s brand of crazy, it could do with being refreshed and presented in a different way (not least with a shorter running time and a tighter script – can’t stress that enough!). Still, Players is fun and if you are in the market for some disposable crazy (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) then this is a film for you – go for gold players!