From the makers of Dil Chahta Hai, Rock On!! and Karthik Calling Karthik comes Game. Some of defining features of the films produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani are their original story lines, great music, witty dialogues and memorable characters, each of which bought something fresh and different to the audiences. They once again are trying to bring something new to film with Game, which is their first attempt at glossy, edge of the seat whodunit thriller. Directed by newcomer Abhinay Deo, the film stars Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Kangna Rangaut, Shahana Goswami and introducing ex-Miss India Sarah Jane Dias.
Game seemed to have all the right ingredients: a fairly decent star cast, a director that seems to be one to watch out for, dialogues by Farhan Akhtar himself, and from what we could see in the trailer, Game was going to have a cool storyline and a slick look. So folks, what’s the verdict?
Firstly a little bit about the plot (minus spoilers, I promise!):
Four different people are all personally invited by billionaire Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) to his private island off Greece and when they get there they are all told the murky back story, and each one of the characters has a reason or connection to one person hence their presence. If it helps this is who they are: Casino owner Neil Menon (Abhishek Bachchan), Thai Politician Op Ramsay (Boman Irani), Crime journalist Tisha Khanna (Shahana Goswami), Bollywood superstar Vikram Kapoor (Jimmy Shergill) and of course Maya (Sarah Jane Dias), who is the connection between the four strangers, with Detective Sia Agnihotri (Kangna Ranaut) hot on the trail.
So what was the problem? One guess: the script! Now, I read somewhere that the original script (by Althea Delmas Kaushal) of Game supposedly came to 450 pages and in two parts! Abhinay Deo claimed he sat with her for eight to nine months and got the right ingredients to shorten the script. The end result is a script that is cliched, too convenient and too coincidental. The lead characters are sketchy and one-dimensional and the situations lack intelligence or plausibility throughout the film. Given the richness of the thriller/murder mystery genre, Game ends up being very run of the mill and relies on a very standard formula to deliver.
Another problem was that after all the characters were introduced in the film and the main reason for them being bought together by Kabir Malhotra is revealed, what I didn’t get was what is type of film this was meant to be? I mean the premise so far was Luck, the setting right from the opening credits to the international jet setting was akin to a ‘James Bond’ style espionage thriller, and actions scenes were inspired by the ‘Bourne’ series. Gameends up being part revenge drama, part murder mystery/whodunit, oh and an unnecessary romance track thrown in for good measure! Thank God the running time was shorter than normal at a little over two hours and only a couple of songs thrown in!
With the big team behind this venture I did think that the narrative would have been a little bit more intelligent and plausible. And on that point ditto for the dialogues, by Farhan Akhtar himself, nothing clever or witty, given the international look and feel of the film.
Acting wise the sketchy characterizations provided hardly any scope to any of the actors, so pretty much all of them were either wasted or under-challenged: Boman Irani and Anupam Kher in particular. Hindi debut of former Miss India Sarah Jane Dias is nothing to write home about — the girl hardly has any lines! Kangna Ranaut really needs to improve her diction! And Abhishek ‘I need a hit’ Bachchan will have to wait a little longer for his hit! Bachchan Junior should stick to doing more roles like Guru. The handsome, suave, arrogant character just doesn’t suit him, plus he can’t pull it off!
Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is definitely not one of their best and with only two of the main songs featured: ‘Mehki Mehki’ and ‘Maine Yeh Kab Socha Tha’, at least we were spared the additional mandatory song sequences.
Cinematography (Kartik Vijay) is good, but again nothing special or which we haven’t seen before.
My verdict on Director Abhinay Deo: very mediocre first attempt! Either he wasn’t challenged enough, or had failed at the scripting stage itself. A lot of attention was given to the look and feel of the film, but sadly again not the story. I’ll give him one more shot with his second film Delhi Belly; before I decide to write him off or not.
To sum up, Game is disappointing and forgettable! I’ll end with a quote from a dear friend of mine, which he texted to me just before I watched Game: Another squandered opportunity – Bollywood should be relegated to making music videos and trailers only! Sadly folks, for Game this definitely rings true!