Bullet-point Report: Game

Posted on April 3, 2011


  • Forget its thriller ambitions. Game, first and foremost, is a stylised “rah-rah India” video for those for whom the World Cup win wasn’t enough. An Indian stands to become Prime Minister of Thailand. An Indian owns the biggest nightclub in Istanbul. An Indian owns the island of Samos in Greece and nurtures its numerous villages. (Will the national food, now, be the Samos-a?) I mean, go India!
  • Despite an overabundance of lip-smacking lurid-schlock material – the barebones of Ten Little Indians-by-way-of-Gumnaam, fraternal twin sisters, at least two instances of concealed-identity twists, a great many redundant characters who exist solely for red-herring purposes, travel-porn locations, muscled slave-boys in leather pants and body bracelets, a heroine resembling the love child of Emmanuelle Béart (eyes and downturned crescent-moon eyebrows) and Angelina Jolie (bee-bitten lips and jawline) – Abhinay Deo, the director, manages the not-inconsiderable feat of making his movie a gigantic snooze, which wakes up briefly, very briefly, only towards the end, when the mystery is explained. Too little, too late.
  • Deo, I think, wanted to make the most stylish, most non-Bollywoodish thriller ever. And yet, he cannot escape the song-fight routine, where a song unfolds and the stuntman waits patiently for it to finish before raising his gun and firing the shot that will instigate the action sequence. We cannot have chorus interruptus now, can we?
  • Shahana Goswami (who really needs a better agent, like, right now) manages what is possibly the most impressive crying feat ever in the movies. A tear from her raccoon-makeup eyes falls on her chest and courses its way down into her generously displayed cleavage. Will it travel any further? The answer is as much a nail-biter as whether a casually nicked ball will evade the outstretched arms of the fielder and find its way to the boundary.
  • Farhan Akhtar is credited with the dialogue. Is that the reason we have such thinking-in-English-and-translated-to-Hindi constructions as “Latin zubaan mein ek bahut mashoor kahavat hai.” Really? And you want us to keep a straight face?
  • The best scene, for my money, was a chase through the streets of Istanbul. Great use of locations, Mr. Action Choreographer!
  • Elsewhere, though, a piece of advice to modern-day moviemakers. A lot of us do not get around to Samos, Greece. Heck, a lot of us do not get around to Singapore. So when you set your films in these mouth-watering locations, can you take a tip from the old Bond movies and linger with languor on the scenery? The first time we see Samos, there are rocks, caves, lapping turquoise waters, and we want to luxuriate a little in that beach we’ll never probably get around to in real life. Let us do that, will you, instead of constantly cutting away to the next available camera angle?
  • The strangest moment in this movie is when the heroine runs up to the fallen hero, the six-foot-something Abhishek Bachchan, and squeals, “You’re short!” (Well, actually, his shoulder has been hit by a bullet and she exclaims, “You’re shot!” But it’s more fun this way, isn’t it? As Confucius says, when a movie does little by way of entertaining you, you’ve got to find ways of amusing yourself.)
  • Deo, by the way, is the son of yesteryear screen couple Ramesh and Seema. So if you’re a Doordarshan-generation movie junkie, take a minute to recall their homespun screen charm, will you? And once you’re done, stop to wonder if one of the bad guys, OP Ramsay, is named with a tip of the hat to former filmmakers OP Ralhan and Keshu Ramsay.
  • Just how wannabe-classy is this film? Everyone drinks red wine. The hero smokes not cigars but cigarillos. And the book he reads with his head on his girl’s lap? A Murakami! Oooh, and all that! Now, how about telling us a story we can sink our teeth into with characters we actually care about.

Copyright ©2011 Baradwaj Rangan, The Hindu. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.