The World of Master Criminals

[Has spoilers for Players and Race 1 and 2]

An Abbas-Mastan is an acquired taste, like single malt or Cuban cigars. Not everyone can appreciate the meticulous research that goes into the making of their crime-thrillers and the believability of their characters and situations. Even those who do often miss the small touches of consummate artistry that is their hallmark. For example in Race 2, a tense sequence in which world-famous stud-art-thief is pulled out through a manhole into the bottom of a get-away-truck (this you have seen in a Mission Impossible movie) is as much as about the heist as it is about comely lass Amisha Patel’s first-day-GABBA-pitch-bouncy  cleavage, delegated as she is, of all the characters in this crime caper, to bend and lend a helping hand to the world-famous-stud-art-thief (this duality I can guarantee you have not seen in any Mission Impossible movie).

Or when at the climax when the John Abraham breaks down and blames his break-up with the Bipasa Basu character for all this evil, one cannot but doff one’s cap to the allusion to the real world.

Or appreciate how Anil Kapoor’s shaven body is a metaphor for the rapid deforestation in the Amazon basin, a criminal heist perpetrated by the logging mafia.

For me though,  an Abbas-Mastan is mostly about learning, like a Discovery channel special on the mating habits of polar bears,  providing as it does a fascinating insight into the world of high-stake crime, a world that we otherwise know so little about.   So here are some of the things I have learnt.

1. Master-criminals are immensely rich. They fly in private dream-liners fitted out like the interior of a honeymoon suite at a 7 star hotel. The homes of Arab Sheikhs are hovels in Dharavi compared to where they rest their heels. They deal  only in billions of dollars— 50 and 100 billion being standard denominations. Picking one of their pockets on a random day would make Greece solvent and what Obama gave as TARP money to investment banks, a successful criminal in the Abbas-Mastan world, would not even get out of bed for.

2. Master-criminals are into a lot of sports. No not something  mundane stuff like cricket or football. He-man sports like no-rules cage-fighting or sexy sports like archery, sword-fighting, gambling, racing cars and horses. And they don’t just play games. They excel in it. In Race 2,  Ranvir Singh (Saif Ali Khan) comes to sword-fight with Omeesha (Jacqueline Fernandez), Omeesha thinks she has bested him in fencing but then when he leaves, her clothes fall off (yes I know you saw this in a Katherine Zeta Jones movie but please bear with me), so awesome are Saif’s skills with a saber. I won’t be surprised if in Race 3, Ranveer Singh challenges Kasparov to a game of chess, Kasparov thinks that he wins and then after Ranveer leaves, the great Grandmaster realizes he was playing with black and not with white, and it’s Ranveer Singh who has taken the baazi (just as the Race theme plays in the background).

3. Super-criminals speak in a criminal lingo that is cheesier than lasagna. Which means they almost always say “Heyyyy baby” and “Come into my lair” and “You are so hot” and “Pop my cherry”. You would think that being as suave and stylish as they are (they drink champagne always), they would show a bit more class. But hey the brothers know better.

4. Master-criminals make elaborate heist-schemes that depend critically on multiple co-incidences which they know will happen in the future. Almost as if the future is scripted.  And, oh yes, the object of the heist is always outrageous. Like the Shroud of Turin.

5. Criminal master-minds extensively sample Hollywood movies for their strategies, drawing from disparate sources like Italian Job, Mission Impossible, Ocean’s Eleven and National Treasure. Despite watching so many movies, they still regularly fall for the “the reams of paper under a layer of actual currency notes” trick.

6. The world’s most dangerous criminals (even white guys who cannot understand Hindi) obtain breaking news from one and one source only. India TV (Race 2). And based on that knowledge, they pull off heists worth billions of dollars.

7. Passwords of the most secure locations in the world are never a random juxtaposition of characters. Hell they aren’t even alphanumeric. The password that protects national treasures like the Turin Shroud are short, meaningful English words that can easily be deduced by the simple “get invisible goo on the fingers of your mark and then  later observe the buttons pressed” trick.

8. Super criminals have their own premier “Superclub” laws of Physics, not applicable to other mortals, ones that can only be accessed by a Black “Players”  Card. This allows their cars to jump up 6 stories in the air, and lets ginormous bricks of gold to be tossed around as lightly as a bra (“Players”) . This special Physics, not to be consumed with John Abraham’s special Physique, also allows super-criminals to possess the kind of technology that one can scarcely believes exist—-pressure-sensors that can “see” through matter and transmit thermo-pressure images to black goggles, vehicles that come standard with parachutes, and cards whose faces can re-arrange themselves. As a matter of fact, the only tech they don’t have are wrist-bands that promote well-being and patriotism.

9. Super criminals never kill their sworn enemies through the simple expedient of putting a bullet through their heads at close range. No. They put bombs underneath their cars which will detonate if the car goes below a certain speed. They hire grossly incompetent snipers. They construct enormous ruses, which includes double and triple crossing and egregious fornication. Basically everything, short of the simplest thing.

10. Criminals get fixated on a certain metaphor. In “Players”, it is the “Let’s play the game” and “We are players yaaahhh”. In Race, it is “tez”, raftaar” and most surprisingly “race”.

11. When at work, master criminals make Bond look like Guddu Rangeela, so suave they are with their impeccably tailored suits, their race-course champagne-drinking and their use of expensive Mont Blanc pens. But the moment they let their hair down, they transform themselves into 19-year-olds on spring-break, singing songs of party-sharty with nothing but mid-riff baring,  talli-dancing “party on my mind”, while doing ass-grinding-into-crotch dance steps.

12. And finally, the world of the super-criminals is full of surprises. When you least expect it, Aftab Shivdasani pops up. Or Aditya Pancholi. Or Bobby Deol in a sombrero playing an “illusionist”.

As a matter of fact, there are so many twists are there that in the movie “Players”, a vital prop used by a master-criminal is the book “Oliver Twist”. Really.

What’s heartening however is that the twists all follow a regular template, so regular that one might even say they are about as “I never saw that coming” as Rahul Gandhi becoming the Congress vice-president.

For instance, those that are “dead” are not—only waiting for a suitable time to make a dramatic entrance, preferably driving a car into a plane or off a multi-storied building.

When master-criminal 1 discovers master-criminal 2 is double-crossing him, he just plays along because otherwise, it would not be a “Race”. Or he would not be a “Player”. Till it is revealed that master-criminal 2 knew that master-criminal 1 knew that master-criminal 2 was double-crossing from the get-go but he also played along because otherwise, yes you guess it, it would not be a “Race”. Or he would not be a “Player”.

And for those that don’t get the pattern, master-criminals are only too helpful, stopping as they do, in the middle of the breakneck action, to explain (sometimes looking straight at the camera)  their motivations and modus operandi.

While all the time, and that is where the true devilish nature of the whole scheme becomes apparent, another major heist is going on, right on front of you.

And you do not even realize it.

A heist of 100 crores. At the box-office.

Truly masterclass.

34 thoughts on “The World of Master Criminals

  1. First! Simply hilarious. Vintage GB!

  2. Hilarious post! Vintage GB!

  3. “Amisha Patel’s first-day-GABBA-pitch-bouncy cleavage” …LOL 🙂 I am sure a sight of which would make Brett Lee or Wasim Alram (given the time that he spends in India) smile with glee!

  4. and one of the critics is touting abbas mustan to deliver us a ‘lucky number slevin’ some time in near future.

  5. Why would Ranveer Singh have to challenge Kasparov? Kasparov has to prove himself against Ranveer Singh and not otherwise.

  6. I have to watch this just for the hairless Anil Kapoor.

  7. Katherine Zeta Jones or Catherine Zeta-Jones

  8. Crime Master Gogo February 11, 2013 — 12:39 am

    I saw the trailer for this, and realised that the whole trailer was in Super Stylish SLOW MOTION!! Amaazzingg.
    Kasparov chootkoola was hilarious.
    Watching hairless anil kapoor is like watching goongaa nana patekar. Whats the point of it !

  9. this is gem
    “When master-criminal 1 discovers master-criminal 2 is double-crossing him, he just plays along because otherwise, it would not be a “Race”. Or he would not be a “Player”. Till it is revealed that master-criminal 2 knew that master-criminal 1 knew that master-criminal 2 was double-crossing from the get-go but he also played along because otherwise, yes you guess it, it would not be a “Race”. Or he would not be a “Player”. ”

    watched Race 2 yesterday, and couldn’t agree more

  10. Fantastic. Yet another movie I’ll never watch, then. 🙂

  11. Am disappointed that the review has come so late Anyway never watched it and your review was worth my intuition.

  12. abbas mustan do not like this 😛

  13. Hehehe… such an awesome post 🙂 Every bit of it is so true 🙂
    The car with the parachute!! REALLY!!! Or even Saif entering the “super styled private plane” … OMG 😛 And they call it a race to the end 😛

    1. You actually need to look at the comments on movie reviews for such insights. “film is film it cannot be compare to others film full entertainment high tecnic superb action not to use mind enjoy only”.

  14. Arnab, while on Master Criminals, do watch Special 26. No techno-gadgetry, no computer wizardry, no cleavage, no cool-lingo, nothing. Just plain and simple brain-power!
    “Logon ke pairon mein chakra lagen hain, mere dimaag mein hain”

  15. Just Amazing. I laughed my hearts out. Thank you for a wonderful review.

  16. This is good stuff!
    Also, just finished reading The Mine a couple of days back, and it is a mind-blowing read. Wonder why is it not receiving the kind of publicity or coverage it should have? I suggest you create a facebook page for the book for people like us to like it, so that more and more readers are made aware of this literary gem of a thriller!

    1. Thank you Indranil. Indian audiences, in general, like “feel good” books and “The Mine” is definitely not one. The way I see it, the Mine is a success because for me it has opened doors internationally of the kind that I could never have even imagined (or dreamed of) years ago. BTW, there is actually a FB page for The Mine.

  17. You had me in splits in the first line itself…spoiler alert for Race 1 & 2 and Players!!! As we said in college days…jangia-r abar bukpocket!

  18. Just like single malt & Abbas Mustan, your reviews are also an acquired taste 🙂

  19. GB dada,
    On point no 2-you should be more careful; lest you unwittingly create alternate career opputunities for desi athletes whose disciplines are getting struck off the Olympics list every other day. Wrestlers, cyclists, pugilists shobai Race-3 kortay parey albeit after tons of hair-removal-gel and grooming.

  20. Arnab da, eagerly awaiting your next post on this blogsite. Its been 3 weeks now, hope you are all right…

    1. 🙂 I am all right and thanks for asking.

  21. That was awesome! I’m a sick-to-death-of-bollywood Kjo/YRF/Ab-Must despising guy, but this review just made me sit up and take note of the cinematic masterpieces that I’ve been missing all along.. I’m going to watch Race 2 to make up for my sins. Also, I just have to see the scene that inspired that legendary description ‘first-day-GABBA-pitch-bouncy cleavage’ 😀

  22. Crime Master Gogo March 6, 2013 — 4:46 am

    Yea its a post drought here.

    Possible next post topic predictions:
    – Hyd bomb blasts, representing revenge attacks and terror being alive and kicking with failed indian security/administration.
    – Oscars related post (i hope its a parody awards thingie, those are usually hilarious – maushichi gaand!)
    – india/aus test cricket revelations. Possibly comments on how aus is making india look better than they are. Side note ridiculing oldies (viru/sachin) , although sachin made 80 this time. Dhoni is now bettering ganguly as captain (per stats atleast). Ouch!
    – Anti-india/anti-israel john kerry appointed as sos. OMG how could they!
    – Modi for PM. BJP’s last gambit?

  23. Long time no post! Arnab, In case you have returned to earth from Mars, please post something. Nothing else explains a month’s gap.
    Ha ha ha.. Evil laughter

  24. Race-2 in the “100-cr club”, DUH! Just tells you how stupid Indian movie-goers are…

  25. Okay I thought you’re calling out the Shroud of Turin was just an arbitrary unbelievable example.

    Just caught up with Race 2. I stand corrected.

    Mind = blown.

  26. Just one point. Turkey doesn’t seem to have any police force. There are car blasts, one person chasing another, bullets flying around — do you see any police? hell no. bad news for Turkish tourism.

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