The new cinema year kicks off with a wannabe gangster-thriller whose ineptness has to be seen to be believed.
JAN 7, 2007 – THE ONLY WAY SOMETHING LIKE GAME CAN BE ENJOYED is if the whole thing were dubbed in Mandarin and shown upside down, and you’re watching it five drinks in, sixth in hand. Seeing this disaster cold-sober, and in Hindi, is a bit of business best left to diehard fans of Mona, a.k.a. Sherlyn, Chopra. (Or is that Sherlyn, a.k.a. Mona, Chopra?) She plays Tina, the heroine, and she’s been chosen for two outstanding reasons – both of which are on ample display throughout Game. We’ve heard of actresses insisting on contracts that say things like they won’t be required to do kissing scenes, or they won’t wear swimsuits. With Mona, I’d bet it’s the opposite. I’d bet her lawyer would slap a lawsuit on the producer if he so much as brought a salwar kameez into the vicinity. Even while visiting a place of worship, Tina opts for a denim mini – and I use the term “mini” rather generously; it’s more like a largish denim belt. A few minutes later, there’s a song sequence that has her in a bikini, moving up to her boyfriend Rahul (Sameer Dharmadhikari) in that panther-crawl our choreographers are so fond of – you know, the one where the girl is on all fours and… So you begin to think this is a routine skin flick, and that the title refers to a naughty romp between the lovers, possibly involving a pair of handcuffs and strawberry ice cream.
But no! That would have merely made Game a cheesy movie, instead of what it actually is – fourteen reels of such jaw-dropping badness, you feel a roomful of blind monkeys tapping on keyless typewriters could have come up with a better script. Out of nowhere, Game morphs into gangster-vendetta mode, as we learn that Ronnie (Dharmadhikari again; yes, there’s two of him) is being hunted by a don-type played by Govind Namdeo, and that’s when the film begins to take itself very, very seriously – so seriously that it’s not just about the underworld anymore, but a “gunaahon ki duniya.” Soon, there are some two dozen men stomping around in trench coats and fedoras, trying their best to glare you down with menace. There are flashbacks and more flashbacks – because that’s why people come to a Mona Chopra starrer, see, to immerse themselves in a fractured-timeline narrative – and somewhere in between, Namdeo begins to pound out dissonant chords on a grand piano, a grand directorial touch possibly meant to alert us to his increasingly unhinged mind. By the time a bad guy falls to his death in sync with a soundtrack that approximates the noise of a jet taking off, you’ve been primed for pretty much anything, even the sight of a hit man who skulks around with a camera-tripod, shooting pictures of his victims – shades of Jude Law in Road to Perdition – but only after he’s meticulously done a comb-over of their moustaches. And did I mention the dialogue? There are at least three repetitions of a line that didn’t deserve a single outing: “Thanda insaan hoon main… I’m a cool man.”
If you still want to know what Game is about, Ronnie meets Rahul while on the run and thinks he can get Namdeo to bump this lookalike off – but, naturally, nothing goes per plan. And then we see what the title actually alludes to, when Ronnie points to the sky and proclaims with a dry laugh, “Uske game ke aage kisi ki nahin chali.” Ah, so that’s what it’s all been leading to: existential theism. I would have laughed loudest for this one instantly-immortal line of dialogue, but then I’d already expended my energy cracking up at the moment where Tina – after a dance number with moves that would make Rakhi Sawant blush – resists her man’s advances and coos, “Shaadi se pehle yeh sab nahin.” And after so blatantly positioning her as a sex object, where does the film get off with the bit on a bike where Rahul asks her to lower her skirt because passers by on the road will ogle at her legs? First of all, what skirt? And second of all, why spoil that movie memory from Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai, where hothead Naseeruddin Shah on a bike yells out to passers by on the road to look at his girlfriend’s legs, because she’s wearing something he doesn’t approve of and there’s a strong wind blowing her dress up? I mean, for something called Game, do you really have to crib from Saeed Mirza? Can’t you just do your own thing and still achieve the same level of awfulness?
Copyright ©2007 The New Sunday Express