Players (Abbas-Mustan, 2012)
I’m just gonna come right out and say it, like ripping off a band-aid: I LOVED THIS FILM.
Not least because of my boys Bobby D and Abhi B. HELLO. FAVOURITE BOYS.
It’s not a great movie, not by any stretch of the imagination. The number of lacklustre reviews that followed its release are certainly no coincidence – there’s not really any way I can objectively argue away the flimsy, predictable plot, the awkwardly placed, awful songs, or the definite need to switch your brain off and NOT ASK ANY QUESTIONS in order for various parts of the film to make any semblance of logical sense.
But OH MY GOD, seriously? If there is ONE THING, just ONE THING I require in a film, it’s that it is entertaining, and Players more than fulfilled that requirement.
Infamous for being the official desi remake of iconic heist caper The Italian Job, Players transports the original premise (basically – a criminal gang plot to steal a bunch of gold bars…but they have a good reason) from Italy to some crazy exotic locations: Russia, The North Pole (yes, really), and….New Zealand. The whole second half of the film is set about 90 minutes away from where I live, in the city where I was born, so MAYBE I am sliiiiightly biased in my extreme enjoyment of this film, because there’s a certain kind of vicarious thrill that comes with knowing you have been in the very same spots that the stars of the film have been in.
Like here! Down the waterfront! I get that this is exciting to precisely...me.
The day I purchased and watched the dvd(in Wellington!) I had been at the very train station where they thrillingly race Minis through in the film, and COME ON! That alone was my paisa vasool. But for those of you not in my exact geographical situation let me give you a few other hints as to the glorious entertainment-fest that Players is:
1. VINOD KHANNA IN ANYTHING IS WORTH YOUR TIME. That’s basically a rule for life: Hot Papa Khanna is worth watching, even if a film is crumbling into shitty chaotic pap around him, HE IS THE GLORIOUS BEACON OF WONDERFUL ETERNAL COOLNESS FOREVER.
2. Sonam Kapoor is a) not particularly annoying or sulky; b) has a lovely shade of nailpolish on; c) IS NOT PLAYING A MOONY WOMAN WHO NEEDS A MAN TO SURVIVE AND THIS MAY BE THE FIRST TIME I HAVE SEEN THAT HAPPEN (to be fair to Sonam, I don’t exactly seek her films out, so it may happen ALL THE TIME unbeknownst to me).
3. Okay, okay this is the best part: BOBBY DEOL PLAYS AN ILLUSIONIST and his illusions are VITAL TO THE SUCCESS OF THE HEIST. That sentence basically tells you everything you need to know about me, and the film (I love Bobby Deol way too much for it ever to be healthy and this film is on crack from the very beginning and it is wonderful).
"Illusions, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money...or candy!"
4. Junior B rapping. (Disclaimer: I LOVE Junior B rapping. EVEN THAYN THAYN). (Another disclaimer - there appear to be 2 versions of the song, one minus the JrB contribution. Um. GIVE ME ABHISHEK ANYDAY).
5. Being an Abbas-Mustan film, plot-twists are expected. In the few minutes before the interval, Players goes so batshit crazy over the top, OUT OF NOWHERE, that I was cackling like an insane person. THIS FILM IS NONSENSE BUT IT’S HILARIOUSLY WONDEROUSLY INSANE. If you love explosions and action and nonsensical convoluted plots involving prosthetic faces and illusions and cranes and chutes and hidden cameras (really – there are far less complicated and batshit ways to get rich than robbing a train full of gold in the frozen wasteland of Russia); and you love trying to guess who is going to be
double crossed triple crossed QUADRUPLE CROSSED next! then
my goodness, Players is THE BEST. THE BEST.