Friday, January 06, 2012


The Botched Job

A moll has a gun to the hero’s head and announces, “Get ready to die.”  Playersis that kind of film. All talk, lots of action, no fun.
‘Director Duo’ Abbas-Mustan have made their careers ripping off bad Hollywood films and Indianising them, with a fair degree of polish and some chutzpah.  But when they do an official remake of The Italian Job, they make such a hash of it. If they had done a frame-to-frame job, they might have produced a decent thriller, considering there was no lack of resources—Players is shot at locations all over the world, and nowhere does it look like the budget ran short.
The problem is that today’s audience is used to, and expects a certain degree of sophistication, so hogwash like stealing a shipment of gold to fund an orphanage in India is laughable.  Or that annoying side track about the paraplegic daughter of one of the thieves. And all that chatter that never stops!  The original film was a comic caper without such baggage.  The central idea was simple and audacious, to carry out a heist by causing a traffic jam and using small getaway cars (cute Mini Coopers to be exact).
Anyway, so here’s Charlie (Abhishek Bachchan) who, with his accomplice Riya (Bipasha Basu) goes about the world stealing—and of course, high security jewellers in Amsterdam have Indian managers (Johnny Lever, if you please) and open windows without grills, so that the hero (and he says at one point that he is the hero, in case anybody doubted it) can steal priceless necklaces.   Well, it’s that kind of film.
Now Charlie wants to steal a fortune in Romanian gold being shipped on a train from Russia back to the country of origin.  With the help of the imprisoned Victor Dada (Vinod Khanna), who is the wise man wearing a black coat over the jail uniform and teaching adoring cops how to catch thieves, he puts together a crack team to work on the job—Ronny (Bobby Deol) is an illusionist, Bilal (Sikander Kher) is the explosives expert, Sunny (Omi Vaidya), the prosthetics expert, Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh) the computer hacker. One of them turns out to be a traitor, steals the gold and kills Victor. So his daughter Naina (Sonam Kapoor) also a computer wiz, joins the team to steal the gold and take revenge.
Players has all the boring details of planning heists and a love triangle too (both woman vying for Charlie!) but a complete lack of humour and the winking wit that goes with absurd plots of this kind, that allows for suspension of disbelief and enjoyment of the madcap action.  The added masala... songs, dances, half clad women, grand mansions, voice activated techno dens, and location hopping—do nothing to lift the film from the tedium it falls into rather quickly.
There are two versions of The Italian Job—the 1969 one and the 2003 remake, which reworked most of the plot, without losing the entertainment value.  Players is not The Italian Job, whoever bought the rights can demand their money back, or sue for desecration... it has been Bollywood-ised beyond recognition. To make it worse—bad performances, clunky dialogue hopeless music.  Vinod Khanna playing the Noel Coward part? Naah! Let’s not even get started on the others.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker