Friday, December 23, 2005


Very few caper movies have worked in Bollywood—even if there’s a Hollywood film right there to be copied, our filmmakers can seldom pull of this genre. Maybe because they try to please audiences with the usual song-dance-romance stuff and dilute the impact—plus our characters talk too much.

Take Rohan Sippy’s Bluffmaster—ok for a couple of chuckles, too many loopholes for a caper—nobody seems to have a normal conversation; they ramble, make little speeches and bury the occasional good punch line in the kilos of verbiage. For god’s sake shut up and get on with it, you want to shout when the film halts yet again for some ‘gyaan’ giving or romantic mush.

Roy (Abhishek Bacchan) is a conman who has never been caught , despite some rather extravagant swindles. When girlfriend Simmi (Priyanka Chopra) dumps him on discovering what he does, he decides to give up crime.

Dittu (Riteish Deshmukh), an aspiring cheat adopts Roy as his guru, and when Roy discovers he has a brain tumour and has very little time to live, he agrees to ‘train’ Dittu.

They plan an elaborate job to con a bigger thug Chandru (Nana Patekar) and manage to get a few crores out of him which they promptly lose. So when Chandru gets mad and wants his money back, Roy runs out of tricks.

Of course, the whole set-up is not what it seems. The end is rather clever, though you can see it coming a mile away. The problem with these convoluted scripts is that they depend on the victim behaving exactly the way the writer wants them to! Which in most cases is too contrived and not the least convincing. What if Roy did not accept Dittu as a disciple? Wouldn’t anybody get a second opinion when told they have a terminal illness? Would a smart conman who has just looted a dangerous criminal go to a dance bar carrying the suitcases of money? Wouldn’t a ‘bluffmaster’ as skilled as Roy check on the antecedents of the victim for whom he lays such an intricate trap? Would he fall for such obvious and childish tricks? Pull out one nail and the whole structure tumbles down!

Bluffmaster tries to be too clever, and the catch-a-thief aspect of it falls flat. At best it is mildly amusing, mainly because of the Bachchan-Deshmukh stand-up comedy show that the film turns out to be. Okay, so they are often funny, cool and go well together without trying to steal each other’s scenes. But heck, couldn’t Sippy have made it snappier?


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