Players–The Review

At a climactic point of “The Players” where the protagonist and antagonist are engaged in a verbal O.K.Coral shootout, one of them says:

“Mera kaam hai naya twist laana. Tumhara kahani bahoot predictable ho gya hai”

Among the many special elements of “The Players” this was one of its finest, a moment of crystalline cinematic purity where the voice of the creator and the voice of his creation merge as one. It was as if the director-duo Abbas-Mastan, who are to film-making what Bonny and Clyde are to crime and Hobbs and Sutcliffe are to cricket, are trash-talking their contemporaries, those that make straight stories about straight people.

Because for Abbas-Mastan, it’s all about the twist. As a matter of fact so twisted are they, that within the first ten minutes, Abhishek Bachchan discovers a secret CD cut out in a novel, a novel sent to him by dead-criminal Aftab Shivdasani. No, the twist isn’t in the fact that someone gave Aftab Shivdasani 15 seconds of screen-time (which is what he had) or the fact that he would be seen with a book.

No the twist is in the name of the said tome.

“Oliver Twist”.

The twists of “Players” are present not only in the plot but also in Abbas-Mastan’s perception of reality. In that they are willing to twist the physical world, the laws of physics, geography and human behavior just in order to get that twist in. Like how they got that boat as the escape-vehicle in “Ajnabee” which many felt was rather twisted, since the story was set in land-locked Switzerland. Like how in “The Players”, a high-end jewellery store in Amsterdam is shown whose security is laughable, even after discounting the fact that Johnny Lever is an employee there.

Many of his critics pooh-pooh these minor reality-warps as plot holes, because catching “plot holes”  makes them feel “Aha I caught you” superior. What they do not understand is that discovering so-called “plot-holes” in an Abbas-Mastan movie is like finding financial herapheri in the Commonwealth Games accounts book—there is no credit in it.

Actually the directors want you to feel smug and contented. Its the set-up that helps them pull the twist while you are feeling all god-damn superior. Or laughing your guts out.

Keen readers would have already noted the number of times I have used the word “twist” in this review. This in itself is a homage to the dashing director-duo whose ouvre is characterized by, among other things (like the prominence given to Johny Lever’s comedy routines and Bipasa Basu being made to play the exact same role in every movie), incessant repetition. In “Race”, the characters kept on using the word “race” in almost every sentence to emphasize the pace and the raciness of the movie. In “Players” the safe-word is “Baibaaaah”—“Dress me up baibaaah”, “Open the web baibaah” which we presume is Playaaah-like.

While on the subject of dialog, the research that has gone into “Players” is mind-boggling as Abbas-Mastan bring out perfectly the lingo used by international men and women of crime—-the profusion of “Baibaah”s, profoundities like “Playing ka time khatam hua. Let’s go for Gold”, “What a chick”,  “Players ! Jackpot !” and even a Tarantinoesque self-reference to a past film—“Ready for the Race Baibaah?” (It may be a co-incidence that the Race sequel is round the corner). And that is not all the Tarantino there is.  There are  hat-tips to the “Roop ki Raani Choron Ka Raja” train sequence and to the scene where Tanuja is killed in “Aatish” as also to Abhishek Bachchan’s greatest work (the “Idea” series of ads) with the line “What an idea.”

Not just repetition. Abbas-Mastan also is a master of replication. Unfortunately critics misrepresent this trait by using words like “copying” when analyzing Abbas Mastan’s past works. In “Players” he sends his haters for a chakka by legally buying the remake license from “Italian Job” which makes “Players” kind of like the Congress party—an Italian job at its core but with a lot of desi layered on top, like spaggheti served with tandoori chicken.

And what a feast  “Players” is. Mini Coopers. Johnny Lever saving the day.  Bobby Deol as an “Illusionist” who wears a Mexican sombrero to look cool. Feats of deduction that would make Miss Jane Marple do an item-dance, like when Abhishek Bachchan deduces that a robbery was committed by a woman because only a woman would make sure to change the arrangement of the vase in the room she just robbed. Surreal sequences like where a Russian general does a strip-tease to “Mera joota hai Japani” and asks why Indians sing when they are horny. Sonam Kapoor tries desperately to look sexy.  Abhishek Bachchan tries even more desperately to act.  Bipasa Basu while masterminding a heist belts out lines, pregnant with subtle allusions,  like “I can see the tunnel now” and “Main speed bara rahi hoon”.

Indeed. What a feast. Full of cheese.

In a season where the official “Players” are getting their asses handed to them in Australia with the only thing they can get up being their middle fingers, escape from it all by seeing the real “Players”.



41 thoughts on “Players–The Review

  1. will now savour the review

  2. 1st 😀

    and what a start to the year for Hindi films.. EWW

  3. Heard this is the best bollywood movie of 2012 bcz its the only bollywood movie of 2012 yet

  4. shouldn’t it be a
    “Kanti Shahesque self-reference to a past film”
    ex. in Gunda
    Tune Kanti Shah ki movie Loha dekhi hai,usme ek dialog hai

  5. ‘PLAYERS’ is like the flu virus- get vaccinated and stay away to avoid being infected and bored to death!! Amateur and mediocre,listless acting and ‘we will push it down your throat’ thrills that made no sense. Abhishek is irritating and Sonam is sorely amateurish. Neil Nitin is the only one who at least acts his part. It met all the pre-release expectations and turned out to be a crappy remake of the epic Italian Job!!!

  6. “Players” kind of like the Congress party—Italian at its core but with a lot of desi layered on top, like spaggheti served with tandoori chicken.
    Classic Arab

  7. GB

    Are you recommending the movie?

  8. ROTFL. Brilliant !!

    Could not help but notice the very BDSM-aware use of the word “safe-word”. Oh GB, what things you know 😉

  9. Vanessa,

    Depends on whether you are a “Player” or not. 🙂

  10. What’s with the reference to Abbas-Mastan as though they are one person, just because their combined intelligence is probably the same as one human being.

  11. Rohith, you did notice my use of the word “director duo” specifically the duo bit, and also how they are compared to legendary partnerships?

  12. “Depends on whether you are a “Player” or not.”


  13. Sounds absolutely delicious. So, the year has started well.

  14. Players was amazingly bad. Bips worked because she has done the same kind of movie atleast 10 times previously. Vinod Khanna was wasted. Sonam and Abhishek can’t act- they should stop. Bobby – who the hell is still giving Bobby roles man?? Sigh, the best thing about the movie were the locales and the baibaaahs!!

  15. Happy new year…One more movie bites the dust for Abhishek….Sonam must be used to it by now.

  16. Missed Anil Kapoors double entendre in this one. For me thats what makes Race a potential cult film.
    Welcome back Vintage Arnab.

  17. “Abhishek Bachchan deduces that a robbery was committed by a woman because only a woman would make sure to change the arrangement of the vase in the room she just robbed”
    Couldn’t it have been a gay dude robber?

  18. Still chuckling over the fact that they used ‘Oliver Twist’. 😀

    I heard that Neil Nitin Mukesh did a better job than the others though. But there is no reference to him in your review at all. Was he that invisible?

  19. I have tried to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. He is referred to in the review but not by name 🙂

  20. Congress party—an Italian job at
    its core but with a lot of desi
    layered on top, like spaggheti
    served with tandoori chicken.


  21. Hilarious review.. I am glad such turkeys are made in Bollywood ‘coz then I cant wait to read your review.

  22. The moment I heard that our dear old Bollywood decided to remake The Italian Job I almost shrieked in delight because I knew that Bollywood would yet again give me a GEM! After this review, I have to watch it. 🙂

  23. Some twists:
    > Two generals are shown, one of them is a womeniser, where is the other one gone?

    > Johny Lever is the employee of a Jewllery Store or a garage maechanic?

    >How can you make entire cars and their accessories outta gold so soon? This might be the question even Mini Cooper production guys will be pondering upon.

    I had the opportunity to watch the movie preview of Players along with the entire cast and their families. Immediately after the movie; Mr. Anil Kapoor asked; “How was the movie?” I replied, “yes, it was very fast paced and kept me at the edge of my seat” to which Mr. kapoor replied; “I hope that you are not saying this to please Abhishek Bacchan.” I believe that even he knew that the product is not that great.

    70 crores wasted on some actors who are still struggling with their acting skills; but yes this is what bollywood and Burmawala brothers are all about.

    Chirag S. Bagaria

  24. Dear GB,

    What a way to start the new year!!

    With ‘Players’ ticked off, I am expecting a comment or two regarding our ‘players’ down under. Would you please oblige?


  25. After the train heist scene, i wasn’t paying attention to the movie at all, the rest of the time i was pondering on the following problem (which is of course of no consequence)

    The gold is worth Rs 10000 Cr. At current prices, the quantity of gold which would have such value is approx 40 tonnes. Given a standard gold bar weight of 12 kgs, there would be approx 3500 gold bars, in 700 racks of 5 each. (decreasing the number of bars in one rack worsens the time problem) notwithstanding the fact that each rack which was lifted oh-so-coolly by Abhi and Bobby would weigh 50-60 kg, to transfer 700 racks taking only 1 second to transfer each rack would take more than 10 minutes, while it is done in 3-4 min by our playaas..

    also a mini cooper weighs about 700 Kg, and would be made to carry more than 10000 kg of gold, which in itself should revolutionize the road freight industry if the engine technology implemented is made known to us. Also, if the cars are made of gold, the car itself weighs 10 tonnes, which is more than most trucks in india..

    my thanks to wolframalpha

  26. @saikat
    comments on players down under should be reserved till a respectable 4-0 result is achieved.

  27. Chirag, In the movie, Johnny Lever plays twins. He explains that when he meets the “Players” in his New Zealand garage.

  28. Really nice review..but u dint mention anything abt omi and sikandar…so pathetic wer they kya?

  29. This has motivated me to give the film a shot, at least so that i can recall your words while watching it and have a blast 🙂

  30. Players is the best example of So Bad its good movie in recent times. Cant remember the last time i laughed so much in a movie when the actors were looking so serious.

    No reference to the “rocket boosters” on the train engine designed by part time automobile expert Bipasha Basu ? And i thought you were an engineer by degree !!!

  31. They could have got in a scene from Twister as well..

  32. Just read another review about the movie. The critic mentions “The best thief in the world in Indian as is the best automobile expert ….. and so on.

    I tend to agree with the first part; Raja, Kalmadi and a few others names that i wrote have been edited by Mr. Kapil Sibal 🙂

  33. “I have tried to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. He is referred to in the review but not by name”

    Who? who? Russian General?? (lol hope not!!!)

  34. Hey Arnab, How about the players down under ? In the mood for any obituaries ?

  35. Dear Abbas-Mustan, thank you, thank you, thank you. Aapne barson ki khwahish puri kar di. For the first time ever, the lead actor of a mainstream Bollywood movie is a CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT!! So all fellow CAs, REJOICE! We can all die in peace now. Also, Ms Sonam Kapoor, to clarify your doubt, “pade-likhe CA-types” DO watch Porn! And so do pade likhe NRI Engineers, whatsay Arnab?? :):)

  36. wow…nice movie,,.abhishek bachchan.

  37. @Straignt Cut…. lol… you should write to FDCI to make this movie tax free.
    @Greatbong… gaaahhh.. why would i ever want to watch this movie.

  38. I had to put up with this movie; while someone was watching it. On this rare visit to your blog, I thankfully found something current and Indian that I know of.. 😀

    Was hoping to read some sacrilege of Bipasha Basu’s cylinder driven train… 😀

    Anyways, your review was very refreshing.

    Lol… Italian core.. official ‘players’

  39. GB Boss, super hilarious.
    ‘In “Players” the safe-word is “Baibaaaah”—”Dress me up baibaaah”, “Open the web baibaah” which we presume is Playaaah-like’

    Maa kasam…

  40. watched the mvie in dvd today….

    the most hilarious movie in recent tyms

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