Teen Patti: A Bollywood Film
In 2010 the Bollywood film Teen Patti, directed by Leena Yadav was released. This was its official website.
Original titleTeen Patti
Running Time: 142 min.
Director: Leena Yadav
Screenwriter: Shivkumar Subramaniam, Leena Yadav, Ben Rekhi
Music: Salim Merchant
Cinematography: Aseem Bajaj
Cast:> Amitabh Bachchan, Ben Kingsley, Shraddha Kapoor, Madhavan, Dhruv Ganesh, Shakti Kapoor, Siddharth Kher, Vaibhav Talwar, Saira Mohan, Raima Sen, Jackie Shroff, Mahesh Manjrekar, Tinnu Anand
Producer: Hinduja Ventures / Serendipity Films
Genre: Drama. Thriller | Gambling
Synopsis / Plot
Perci Trachtenberg, widely regarded as the world's greatest living mathematician, meets Venkat, a reclusive math genius from India, at a high rolling casino in London. Venkat tells Perci about an equation that could not only change the dialogue on mathematics forever, but one that has already left an indelible impression of guilt - for many painful reasons - on Venkat's life. As it turns out, the reclusive genius Venkat has cracked a theory that could redefine the principles of probability and randomness. However, as with all exceptional knowledge, his equation has its upside - as well as its dark underbelly. Aware that he is on the precipice of an extraordinary discovery, one that could find applications across various sciences, Venkat is encouraged to test his theory in the real world by professor Shantanu, an ambitious colleague of Venkat. Although Venkat has no interest in the money that could come from practicing his equation to crack Teen Patti, (a poker game) he eventually succumbs to Shantanu's charismatic persuasion. Soon, with the help of a few students, each with a complicated and singular fate of their own, they explore the addas (underground gambling dens) of wild Bombay. But what starts out as an experiment between a charismatic young professor and an eccentric older one soon descends into a game neither of them can control. When their lives sink into maddening chaos, the greed and desperation that had fueled them on can no longer save them. Perci understands that Venkat's theory in essence, questions the idea of what is random - and what is fated.
Teen Patti: Just one big bluff
Rediff.com February 26, 2010 13:54 IST
Rediff Rating: ** 1/2
Teen Patti is a card game, which can have seasoned gamblers salivating at the mouth. Even casual players who may just indulge in a couple of rounds at Diwali or New Year love the excitement. With such a title and Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role, one would have thought the producers have a sure shot winner on their hands.
One of the most popular moves in Teen Patti is 'Blind'. But here, it seems director Leena Yadav was moving blindly in all directions.
Amitabh Bachchan (Venkat Subramanium) is an unsuccessful Maths professor whose superiors claim his research projects have no practical applications. But his latest is a dissertation on the Theory of Probability which can help them predict the winner in a card game and earn megabucks in the process. So the tutor and his bunch of students are encouraged to take a shot at implementing the theory in the real world. And then all hell breaks loose.
The students, who started out as middle-class simpletons, turn into raving lunatics overnight. They come and go as they please, stash hundreds of rupees in their hostel rooms and get hysterical.
The script doesn't evolve, it just jumps jerkily from one level to another so that the director can take her story to a predictable end. Such a pity because co-writer Shiv Subramaniam has written such brilliant films like Parinda and Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi.
It's getting tiring watching R Madhavan doing young man roles. He hasn't lost his acting abilities but he really needs to rid himself of his flab. The energy and zest that the actor used to bring on screen -- especially seen in Guru -- is missing.
After The Last Lear, it was just a matter of time before somebody tried to recreate a similar persona for Amitabh Bachchan. But the consistency is missing here. Bachchan does his best but he's tied down with a clichéd script.
Also, his costumes don't make him look like a millionaire, who can afford to lose lakhs of rupees in one night. In a few scenes, he is seen wearing a white shirt and coat, and looks straight out of Cheeni Kum.
The script is not the only place where the clichés abound. The underground gambling dens are garish and look straight out of Dev D. The high-profile parties and casinos look even more bizarre. It's apparent they were trying to create a Las Vegas kind of effect but it just doesn't work.
Shakti Kapoor was the fun part of the film. He's called Prem London, a loud-mouthed compulsive gambler. His dialogues are full of expletives. His daughter Shraddha makes her debut in the film as Aparna. Though a bit raw, she has a lot of potential.
In fact, it is the acting prowess of the ensemble cast that gets you involved. Newcomers Dhruv Ganesh, Siddharth Kher and Vaibhav Talwar show great promise. This is one aspect where Leena Yadav has really delivered the goods.
Three decades after Gandhi, Ben Kingsley still weaves magic for the Indian audiences. As Kingsley and Bachchan share their life experiences, there is the sheer pleasure of watching two legends share screen space. And since there is no attempt to overshadow the other, the experience is memorable. It's difficult to visualise other actors in these roles. Teen Patti is worth a watch just for the actors.
Teen Patti Movie Review
*** ½ The Times of India, TNN, Feb 25, 2010
STORY : Professor Venkat Subramaniam, a mathematical genius is tired being ignored by his community. He decides to prove his experiments by real life evidence from the world of gambling and uses a bunch of students to enter the sleazy underworld of card sharpeners. But is there a way out of the world of crime? Is there an end to human greed?
MOVIE REVIEW: Ready for a razor sharp teaser? Watch Teen Patti. The film is a taut thriller that's not only done with loads of style and attitude, it also showcases a fine ensemble cast of youngsters who represent the edginess of today's youth. And if that's not enough, there's further enticement in the character and currently in-form status of Amitabh Bachchan, who is hell bent on a second, third and fourth coming. After the mesmerising Auro in Paa, Amitabh's eccentric mathematical wizard who talks to Albert Einstein, when he's alone, is immensely watchable in Teen Patti. Of course, there are his musings with Ben Kingsley too. But one would have wished the film makers had made more substantial use of the tumultuous talent of Mr Kingsley than reducing him to a mere listener.
Needless to say, most of Teen Patti unfolds in down market gambling dens as the odd assortment of newbie gamblers -- four students, and a professor, along with Mr Bachchan -- test the theory of probability through the game of cards. But didn't grandmum tell us gambling is addictive. So, before you know, probability is set aside and greed sets in. Along with a bit of blackmail. For even if the professor wants to opt out of this game that's getting dangerous with each passing day, he really can't. Someone's threatening to harm the babalog, if the booty stops coming in the dirty plastic bag that's to be regularly discarded in the bin. But more than all the external threat, it's the insidious changes that are occurring within the group that are a greater cause of alarm. While a young couple aspires to become the next Bonnie and Clyde, greed's corroding some others. Will the days of innocence return? Is crime reversible?
Now these are just a few tantalising queries Teen Patti chooses to address. The second half does get somewhat repetitive, with the film refusing to move out of the gambling dens and the climax gets somewhat hurried. But majorly, the film holds as a taut thriller that keeps you glued for most of the screen time. Watch out for Sunidhi Chauhan's item number, Teri Neeyat Kharab Hai. It rocks.
A word about:
Performances: Amitabh Bachchan leads the bratpack, with R Madhavan holding the rear. Amongst the bratpack, Shraddha Kapoor makes an interesting debut as the edgy youngster who sheds her specs for sleaze, with alacrity
Screenplay: Witty and concise, Leena Yadav displays her skills as a narrator.
Dialogue: Ben Rekhi has the characters speak in real time, with real fears and real joys.
Music: Salim-Sulaiman's scripts a memorable item number: Neeyat Kharab Hai.
Choreography: Watch out for Ashley Lobo's oomph-oozing number, Neeyat Kharab Hai.
Styling: Ameira Punvan's costumes are funky and full of fun.
** ½ By Taran Adarsh, 26 Feb 2010
The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. That's so true! Let's face it, money is the root of all evil. When we have more, it is never enough. This is exactly what Leena Yadav's TEEN PATTI tells you.
TEEN PATTI is not only about gambling on table, but all those gambles that we take in our life. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Hollywood film 21, TEEN PATTI is akin to a roller coaster ride; if there are highs, expect the lows too.
Leena Yadav's take on greed and deception has some defining moments, but the fact is that the writing lacks clarity. Let me explain. Probability is a very interesting theory in mathematics. But the problem is, is it easy to comprehend for the average viewer? Frankly, despite Leena's best efforts, only a handful of viewers will be able to comprehend the goings on and the theory of probability.
Besides, the narrative is such that it caters to the intelligentsia mainly. For the average moviegoer, thirsting for entertainment, it has little to offer.
The reclusive genius Venkat [Amitabh Bachchan] has cracked a theory that could redefine the principles of probability and randomness. Venkat is encouraged to test his theory in the real world by professor Shantanu [Madhavan], an ambitious colleague of Venkat.
Although Venkat has no interest in the money that could come from practicing his equation to crack 'Teen Patti', which could rake in all the moolah, he eventually succumbs to Shantanu's charismatic persuasion. Soon, with the help of a few students, they explore the underground gambling dens of Mumbai.
But what starts out as an experiment between a charismatic young professor and an eccentric older one soon descends into a game neither of them can control. In the background, there is a repetitious theme that appears to be an in joke referencing "cleaning supplies in bulk" whenever the 2 come near a kitchen. This is comic relief that while funny is distracting. Do we really need to know about the qualities of a mop or dishwashing sponges? And why do brilliant mathematicians dwell on janitorial products at all? The idea of buying cleaning supplies in bulk is particularly humorous given both the girth and the intelligence of the players. We're left wondering if they might have a clean fetish to contend with besides the math.
It takes time to get the hang of things in TEEN PATTI. But once the two professors and the students begin their sojourn to the dark alleys, the film comes into its own from thereon.
The story moves back and forth, with Bachchan narrating his side of the story in flashbacks to Sir Ben, which is well integrated in the narrative. The intermission point - when the mystery about the unknown caller deepens - only heightens the expectations from the post-interval portions.
But there're hiccups! The pace gets excruciatingly slow in this hour and also, it tends to get repetitive. Among the cameos - Jackie Shroff, Ajay Devgn, Tinnu Anand and Shakti Kapoor - only the ones featuring Tinnu and Shakti stand out, while Ajay's scene seems forced.
The writing is erratic [Shiv Subramanyam, Leena Yadav], with some portions touching the peak, while a few touching the ebb. The suicide of one of the students and how it puts an end to the game is a master stroke from the writing point of view. Bachchan's speech in the finale, when he's bestowed with the Sir Isaac Newton Award, moves you no end. But between the suicide and the finale, the film tends to get uninteresting.
Leena's direction shows maturity in her second outing. A number of sequences are deftly executed. But how one wished Leena would learn the art of narrating stories within commercial parameters. Aseem Bajaj's cinematography is striking. The visuals are simply incredible. Salim-Sulaiman's music has two catchy tracks - 'Neeyat' [the moves of the dancer are tantalising] and the track towards the end credits. The usage of B&W in this song is truly imaginative. The choreography of both these songs [Ashley Lobo] is superb.
Bachchan plays the role of a mathematician with remarkable ease. One cannot imagine anyone else in this character other than Bachchan. Especially noteworthy are the sequences between Bachchan and Sir Ben. Madhavan is excellent. The actor displays the grey shades most convincingly. The film introduces four new talents and each is confidence personified. Siddharth, Shraddha and Dhruv get maximum footage and they stand out. Vaibhav has tremendous screen presence, but his role lacks meat.
Raima Sen is alright. Barry John is first-rate. Anjan Srivastava is good. Mahesh Manjrekar is effective. Saira Mohan is hardly there. Sir Ben Kingsley is an amazing actor and expectedly, he's brilliant here. It's a treat to watch these two magicians - Sir Ben and Bachchan - perform on screen.
On the whole, TEEN PATTI is a fresh concept for Indian viewers, made well, but limits itself to the intelligentsia and big city audiences mainly.