Thursday, December 29, 2005


Bluffmaster is a terribly good watch. Even my dad, who watched a Hindi film after 15 years or so and ostensibly went along just to see what the brouhaha about multiplexes was about, agrees, though he was fully prepared to set his teeth and sink into the plush chairs, thinking of the various cruel and cutting things he would say to us after the ordeal was over. I was rolling in the aisles laughing, and no, I wasn't drunk. Crackling dialogue. Witness this one:

Nana Patekar calls his moll from a theatre (where they are showing Ramesh Sippy's Shaan -- loads of in-jokes in the film but amazingly they don't get irritating) and asks her to get Rs 2 crores because he's being held at gun-point. She obviously asks why he needs so much money, and he says, deadpan: "Picture bahut achhi hai, parde pe paise fenkne hain". And that's just one I remembered, since I was not taking notes by the light of a cell phone in the manner of seasoned critics.

In a year that saw one con flick after another this was without doubt the winner. The heists, so glossed over in Bunty aur Babli where most of the con jobs are packed up in the length of one terrible song, are well thought-out and superbly executed. And there are a good many of them -- the one thing that makes a film/book about con artists really enjoyable, just like people who like that sort of thing want a lot of car chases in films that have them (don't ask me why, though). I just like a lot of con jobs in films that have them. I loved Jeffrey Archer's Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less for the same reason.

Bluffmaster also gets my approval for steering clear of item numbers. Much as I like kajarare, I really hate to see a movie I'm enjoying interrupted every few minutes just so that Koena Mitra can show us how to act seductive with a wooden face. And apropos my rant about film-makers setting their films anywhere except the desh ki dharti they are supposed to be so in love with, Rohan Sippy proved to be an exception. The way he's captured Bombay in the film, realistically and lovingly, making it look sleazy and dangerous in one shot and impossibly beautiful in the next, is a slap in the face of the South Africa and Canada loving directors. Was anyone else reminded of Gotham City?

I hope the guy who made Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina is kicking himself strongly where it hurts. Or getting boxing champion Mitra to do it.


At December 29, 2005 6:04 PM, Blogger Ron said...

ja bolecho!! bluffmaster was a damn good watch. I think the absence of inane song dance routines is whjat made it so good. A good con job movie should be about that..con jobs..not item numbers. I LOVED not a penny more not a penny less..even oceans eleven..thats what one expects from such a movie..details on the con job.
hope your dad enjoyed the multiplex experience too :) have a great new years.

At December 29, 2005 9:55 PM, Anonymous Saptak said...

After reading your review, I must go and watch this movie. It is being screened at a theatre near me.
On 25th I watched the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe". Although the special effects were amazing, the movie turned out to be very mediocre.

I watched at home an amazing movie titled "Raising Victor Vargas". It is hilarious. Every actor did an outstanding job. The camerawork is intentionally shaky at times like a home video. This is a must watch.

At December 30, 2005 2:19 AM, Anonymous Mandar said...

Hi! good review... i'm gonna watch that movie now. :-)

At January 05, 2006 12:07 AM, Blogger Tridib said...

Apropos to your observation of Sippy being able to capture the visual beauty of Bombay, here's what he had to say in an interview to
Did you have any memorable experiences during the making of Bluffmaster?

A lot of our memorable experiences came from being able to capture Mumbai the way we have -- rushing against the sunlight, managing to set the camera up and taking a frame and things like that.

At January 13, 2006 11:52 PM, Blogger i wonder why said...

Yeah it was a good watch wasn't it - Nana Patekar of course getting all the best lines. And Riteish Deshmukh's place with all those lovely shots of the Gateway were just brilliant.


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