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ApunKaChoice » Article » Teen Patti - Movie Review
 

Teen Patti - Movie Review

A falling house of cards
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi
Fri, Feb 26, 2010 12:22:55 GMT
 

It’s a touch galling to see a movie dealing with an ingenious mathematical theory of probable outcomes having so little brain of its own self. For starters, let’s dump aside the obvious comparison between Teen Patti and the Hollywood film ‘21’ from which the co-writers Leena Yadav and Shiv Subramaniam have borrowed audaciously, liberally and without as much as the slightest prick of conscience (what’s that!). The writer, director duo would have more than redeemed themselves by adding a punch of clever originality or some razor-sharp twists in the flick. Alas, after watching ‘Teen Patti’ one can’t help feeling gulled by the pretentious bluff played out in the name of a psychological thriller.

A reclusive mathematics professor Venkat Subramaniam (Amitabh Bachchan) hits upon a remarkably ingenious theory of probability and randomness which he chooses to apply, of all things, on the card game known as Teen Patti. Using this new theory, the grizzled-hair maths whiz is able to figure out who’s gonna win the game when the cards are dealt on the gambling table. Prodded by the junior professor Shantanu (Madhavan) who’s in dire need of money, Venkat agrees to try out the theory in the illegally run gambling dens. They rope in a bunch of students (Siddharth Kher, Shraddha Kapoor, Dhruv Ganesh and Vaibhav Talwar), device a kind of sign language and assume false guises to line their pockets with money won on Venkat’s genius.

Expectedly, what begins as a mathematical experiment burgeons into a mind game of greed and deception as big money begins to flow in.

Director Leena Yadav adopts too cluttered an approach and keeps beating about the bush for a good part of the first half before finally opening her cards (pardon the pun). The gambling adventures of the maths professor and his bunch of students are repeated ad nauseam, making the story (and the viewer’s head) spin in circles. The blackmailing angle isn’t nail-bitingly suspenseful. In the second half, the movie just tailspins into a tangled mess of loopy twists before coming to a sticky end when a guilt-ridden Venkat is eulogized as a ‘genius’ by the revered Cambridge mathematician Perci Trechenberg (Ben Kingsley) and awarded the Isaac Newton award for his theory.

Playing the professor whose grey cells are forever buzzing with mathematical ideas, Amitabh Bachchan brings a fine balance of gravity and buoyancy to the role. Ben Kingsley, sadly, has been reduced to a mere listener of Venkat’s tale. Madhavan, playing a character that’s neither fish nor fowl, doesn’t deliver anything stupendous. Among the bratpack, Siddharth and Shraddha crack up some fine chemistry as the lovers imagining selves as the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. Dhruv Ganesh, playing the wimp with a phobia of cameras, chips in a fine act. On the sidelines we see cameos by Mahesh Manjrekar, Tinu Anand, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff and even Ajay Devgan who test their luck with that of Venkat on the gambling table.

Salim Suleiman’s tunes are catchy and Aseem Bajaj’s cinematography is simply topnotch. It’s Leena Yadav’s too-many-frills-attached direction that makes ‘Teen Patti’ fall down like a house of cards.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5
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