Game proves yet again that great production design and stylish camerawork just cannot compensate for a hollow and badly written script. Yet another commercial – as in advertising – filmmaker (Abhinay Deo) flounders once he has to make a film that lasts beyond 60 seconds. Game is a tepid thriller to say the least and one that fails to engage you on any level. Badly paced, a terribly short-on-events slow first half desperately tries to hammer in the twists and turns to make its plot as convoluted and ‘clever’ as it can, post-interval. But by then, you don’t really care if a particular red herring works or not, who is the killer and what really happened.
Game looks at 4 strangers – Neil Menon (Abhishek Bachchan), a casino owner in Istanbul, OP Ramsay (Boman Irani), the aspiring Prime Minster of Thailand, Tisha Khanna (Shahana Goswami), a hot shot journalist and Vikram Kapoor (Jimmy Shergill), Bollywood superstar, who have been invited by the reclusive Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher), to his private island of Samos, Greece. They don’t know each other and they don’t know him… and by the next morning they will all wish they had never come as Malhotra is found dead…
Really, the lack of a good script in our films is becoming a serious issue now with every passing week. Game tries to be a hep and mod stylish thriller but ends up as little more than a badly done Agatha Christie type of who-dun-it and no, the Mystery Queen would not have been flattered with this effort at all – not one bit. The story for all its style comes across as old fashioned and unconvincing – Gumnaam, based on Christie’s Ten Little Niggers, handled a plot like this so much better way back in 1965. The script, narrative flow and plot points are extremely weak with the pacing out of its revelations and surprises very uneven, a death knell for a good murder mystery. To make things worse, there are plenty of huge, huge logical loopholes and the big twists like the one with Abhishek’s character can be sensed a mile away. Leave alone the thriller side, the film fails to connect as even its few human elements are treated with a total lack of depth and in a hugely superficial manner. The biggest casualty here is the Abhishek-Sara Jane Dias love story, which is flat and insipid to say the least.
No performance really works as all the actors suffer from extremely badly and inadequately sketched, stereotypical characters. Abhishek desperately tries to be cool, Kangna looks like she is just waiting to let go and play psychotic, Jimmy Shergill is simply not happening, Sarah Jane Dias wooden with the complexities of her character beyond her and the director, while Anupam Kher, Shahana Goswami and Gauhar Khan are wasted. But again, one cannot blame the actors. The script lets them down terribly and none of them are able to do the rising-above-the-script act, no not even Boman Irani, who has unfortunately made something of a habit now to ham away in a caricature like manner in every film we see him.
If any departments deserve a pat on the back, it is the production design (Shashank Tere) and the cinematography (Karthik Vijay). The film is lavishly mounted, the locales, particularly Greece and Istanbul, breathtaking. The camera work is extremely polished and stylish though a trifle attention grabbing and therefore sometimes against the grain of the storytelling. The sequence in Istanbul where Abhishek shakes off his surveillance is the one sole action highlight of the film even if the POV(s) from which this is supposed to have been shot confounds you. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s music is just so-so and lacks any memorable song, Ram Sampath’s background score is loud and obvious while some of the dialogues are painfully archaic.
All in all, Game is disappointing to say the least and yet another turkey adding to a looong list of our Hindi movies especially over the last couple of years – a list whose entries continue to rise alarmingly in number, week after week.
Hindi, Action, Drama, Thriller, Color