Players Movie Review by Komal Nahata
“Business rating: 1/5 star
Star cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor, Sikander Kher, Omi Vaidya, Vinod Khanna.
What’s Good: The train robbery sequence; some comedy in the second half; Omi Vaidya and Neil Nitin Mukesh’s acting.
What’s Bad: The loose and uninteresting screenplay; the poor music; the dull acting of Abhishek, Sonam and Bobby.
Verdict: All that glitters is not gold. This gold rush adventure will not see people rushing to the cinemas.
Loo break: Several, especially after interval.
Watch or Not?: Watch it for the stylised shooting.
“A thriller like Players could have worked only if it were made as a fast-paced and stylish film. While this film is stylish, it is anything but fast-moving and, therefore, gives the audience so much time to think that it fails and falls flat on its face. It is for this very reason – giving the viewers time to think – that the entire train robbery sequence and the latter part look fake and unbelievable. Charlie and his team get to know every detail of the train journey so easily and are able to carry out their plan so meticulously and effortlessly that the audience starts questioning the security arrangements made to transport so much gold.”
There have been earlier films, too, in which major crimes have been committed to clockwork precision but if one hasn’t questioned them, it is because the audience did not get the time to think of the loopholes while watching them. In this case, the pace is so slow and the drama, so half-baked that tens of questions crop up in the viewer’s mind for which the story and screenplay writers offer either no logical answers or half-baked answers.
Screenplay writers Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma have written a script of absolute convenience, which the intelligent audience of today will find hard to digest. At least one team member oscillates between the betrayer and the betrayed and why s/he does so is not clear. When the intention of that member becomes clear towards the end, the audience is left wondering why that member behaved the way s/he did and why s/he did not come clean in the beginning itself. How the betrayed traces the betrayer, how the team gains entry into the betrayer’s citadel so easily, how the team works thereafter and how the betrayer falls prey to the team when they succeed in locating him/ her, all these have been sought to be explained as becoming possible through technology and computers. But it is anybody’s guess that the viewer is not going to accept these merely because it appears to be possible because of technology. Of course, the writers have taken care to explain things in a very basic manner so that even those who are not computer-literate or technology-savvy can understand the progression of the drama but that’s about it. For, even though the viewers (literate or illiterate) would be able to follow the drama, they may not necessarily go with it.
All in all, while the story is interesting, the screenplay botches the attempt so badly that the film turns out to be a boring fare. On top of it, the drama is so long-drawn that it tests the audience’s patience, especially in the second half. Probably, the worst part of the drama is that the key players are so laid-back in their approach that they should never have been successful, yet success comes knocking at their door always. Also, the audience’s sympathy goes to no character in the film, because of which the viewer remains an outsider and never ever gets involved with the drama. Dialogues, also penned by Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma, lack the fire and the thrill.”
“Coming to the performances, it must be mentioned that several of the lead players have spoken their dialogues in a flat manner and with much the same expressions throughout the drama. Abhishek Bachchan and Bobby Deol, especially, seem to be under the mistaken belief that uttering dialogues in a very sober and serious way, with absolutely no smile or emotion on the face, is akin to good acting. But it only makes them look limited as actors. Abhishek Bachchan fails to make an impression, least of all as a team leader. His expressions hardly change and his acting is ordinary. His dialogue delivery leaves something to be desired. Bobby Deol gets limited scope and is routine in what he does. Again, voice modulation and body language are as good as missing in his acting. Bipasha Basu looks sexy and does an okay job. Sonam Kapoor is dull. Her scenes give the impression that she was in a hurry throughout the making of the film. Neil Nitin Mukesh is quite effective. He is at least earnest about what he does. Omi Vaidya goes through his role with sincerity. He evokes laughter at some places. His acting is probably the best in the film. Sikander Kher needs to loosen up. His acting is barely average. Vinod Khanna hardly makes his mark. His voice gives the impression that he is very tired now. Johny Lever entertains in two roles. Aftab Shivdasani is alright in a friendly appearance.”