Movie Review: Teen Patti (2010)
February 26, 2010 (Sampurn Wire): Teen Patti: Edgy but not taut enough
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley, R. Madhavan, Raima Sen, introducing Shraddha Kapoor, Siddharth Kher, Vaibhav Talwar and Dhruv Ganesh
Director: Leena Yadav
Teen Patti begins with Venkat Subramanium (Amitabh Bachchan) invited to the presitigious Cambridge University by Mathematics genius Perci Trachtenberg (Sir Kingsley). On meeting, Venkat an eccentric mathematics scholar himself narrates his personal tale of his invented theory and his tryst with the gambling world while using it. Venkat narrates how after writing a thesis on the theory of Probability his seniors didn’t agree with his theory. But when he plays an online game of cards of Teen Patti, he realises that his theory is right. He immediately shares it with his junior professor Shantanu (R Madhavan). In order to verify the theory, the two rope in their three students Aparna aka Apu (Shraddha Kapoor), Sid (Siddharth Kher) and Bikram (Dhruv). They all go to a casino and try their hand at the game. They play the game employing the theory and win it. But soon greed comes in and other emotions follow, which gets them all into trouble. An unknown blackmailer starts calling Subramanium and demanding a big share in the money they make from their games. The blackmailer even starts dictating which games they should play next. A richie rich student Abbas (Vaibhav) too joins the group. Subramanium starts suspecting the blackmailer to be one amongst his group members but soon a situation arises where he gets convinced its none of them but someone else who is playing the game on him. What happens next makes up for the film.
The first thing that came to mind when the promos Teen Patti came was is it inspired from 21. But well though there are a few similarities, one can say that it’s a completely different film. Teen Patti is lavishly mounted and with the kind of subject it deals in is presented with intricate detail. In short, it is not your average Bollywood fare. But the confusing application of the theory of probability with the game of Teen Patti is definitely all set to go above many a viewers head. While the first half is lot of things happening and keeping you at the edge of the seat with the intriguing happenings, the second half is where it loses its steam big time. Repetitiveness, unimpressive cameos by Ajay Devgan, Saira Mohan, confused narrative and a pro longed climax brings the graph of the film completely down. Also the talk-a-thon between Bachchan and Kingsley seems to be never ending and at times even acts a spoke in the wheel of the narrative. However, the edgy moments in the first half have turned up really well, especially the group’s first tryst with Teen Patti at a gambling den amongst real Bhais.
Amitabh Bachchan is simply superb as the eccentric professor. Madhavan with a tinge of grey shade to his character is just excellent. Raima Sen playing his fiancée however gets no scope. Shakti Kapoor’s debutante daughter Shraddha Kapoor impresses. The talented newcomer surely will go a long way. Amongst the male newcomers all three – Vaibhav, Dhruv and Siddharth have good screen presence and talent to match. There are cameos by Ajay Devgan, Saira Mohan, Jackie Shroff, Shakti Kapoor with the most impressive one being by Mahesh Manjrekar. Sir Ben Kingsley is just first rate.
Camerawork by Aseem Bajaj matches international standards. Aarti Bajaj’s editing work however makes the film more confusing than it should have been. Salim-Suleiman’s music barring the Neeyat song featuring Brazilian hottie Mariah is nothing much to write about.
Teen Patti is a hatke experience which is no harm in trying provided you are willing to be a little patient with its second half.