India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Teen Patti: The game is over

February 26, 2010

teenpattiIf you’ve played cards or for that matter, any kind of game, you will know a good start is only half the battle won.

It is how you end it that determines the result and if director Leena Yadav had only kept this cardinal rule in mind before starting out to make “Teen Patti”, perhaps this would have been a very different film.

For a film that starts off quite intriguingly, especially in the first half-hour, “Teen Patti” is a textbook study in how most films slip uncontrollably in the second half and any element of thrill or suspense you may have felt disappears in the chaos of a badly written and executed script.

Amitabh Bachchan plays Venkat Subramaniam, a mathematics professor who feels underappreciated by his peers because they don’t seem to understand his research. While playing an online poker game one night, he realises he can predict the cards in each participant’s hand, and hence the result of the game.

Eager to try out this experiment in the real world, he enlists the help of fellow professor Shantanu (R Madhavan) and three students. They infiltrate night clubs and gambling dens and test his experiment, thus winning a lot of money in the process.

It is when greed gets the better of them and personal equations between the five start to change that the game takes on a whole new meaning.

The director doesn’t know where to go once the basic plotline is established, letting the characters and the script go helter-skelter. The ending is totally out of line with the script, a lot of questions are left unanswered and at the end of it the stacks of cash start to look repetitive. Some of the dialogues are laughable.

Also, I want to know which college professor allows his students to engage in a dangerous and illegal activity like gambling, in the name of education.

Of the cast, Amitabh Bachchan himself looks a little unconvinced of the role, but does his best. Newcomers Shraddha Kapoor and Siddharth Kher are devoid of expression while Ben Kingsley is criminally wasted in a nothing part.

This is one game that is eminently avoidable.

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