Game is as interesting as playing chess with self

Producers: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar.
Director: Abhinay Deo.
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Kangna Ranaut, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Shahana Goswami, Gauhar Khan, Jimmy Shergill, Sarah Jane Dias.

MUMBAI: English films were normally used as an ?inspiration? to make Hindi films and the preferred language was Hindi, of course. Game is one of those new generation products which makes English or English kind of films virtually in English on international locations; something that has not been seen to benefit the product in anyway, though often it becomes a drawback.

Game begins as Mid 1900s kind of story where six people gather under one roof and one of them is murdered. From then on it becomes sort of international, not solving the murder within the precincts of the location of crime.

Anupam Kher has planned to punish three men responsible for wrecking the life of his daughter born out of a liaison with a woman he deserted and about whose existence and later death he comes to know three years ago. He claims to have enough proof and also video graphs the meeting with culprits. But, before he could call the authorities as he planned to, he is dead; seemingly a suicide. Had he handed over the proof to the police, he could have saved his life and the efforts spent on a mediocre film.

Anupam Kher, a tycoon worth $10 billion, owns and resides at an island off Greece, which is totally cut off from outside world for transport as well as communication. He lures four people in coming to this island: Boman Irani, who aims to become the next prime minister of Thailand (promising him election funds); Jimmy Shergill whose drunk driving has killed his daughter (with a major proposal); Abhishek Bachchan, who runs a casino in Istanbul but is broke and who is always attacked by gun wielding goons for no apparent reason and whom Anupam Kher blames of making his daughter vend drugs (with a promise to bail him out with an international casino chain); and a young journalist, Shahana Goswami who has made a habit out of getting drunk and banging her car at convenient places (with a story of her life time).

In this film, Indians rule the world. So when Anupam Kher is dead, Kangana Ranaut and a side kick from what is called IVS or International Vigilance Squad descends on the scene and suspect foul play. This squad would seem to have an international reign as Kangana jet sets across five countries chasing clues. After springing all the predictable surprises, the biggest of them being Abhishek Bachchan, was not really a baddy but also an IVS cop who has solved in three minutes what was stretching on for almost three hours. The killer is identified and so is the one who planned it.

Except that it has been contrived to be shot on various international locations (which is confusing because one loses sense of where is it now -- Thailand, Mumbai, Istanbul, London or Greece; who cares?), the film has nothing much of interest. The first half is static; songs have neither place nor appeal. Direction is average as is the script. Being a talkie film, the sound needed to be much better.

The film offers no real scope for acting talents and the stars go around being themselves throughout.

This Game is about as interesting as playing chess with self.

A film closer to life

While the common marketing jargon for formula filmmaker was that his film was ?Hatke?, the term coined by parallel cinema makers was ?different?. Nothing hatke or different ever emerged out of any of them, eventually.

The film, Memories  In March, juxtaposes generation now and a seemingly modern single mother, Deepti Naval, who has not really been able to shed her traditional thoughts and values and the situation she is faced with get the better of her when it comes to something that is beyond her perception when it comes to relations.

Producers: Shrikant Mohta, Mahendra Soni.
Director: Sanjay Nag.
Cast: Deepti Naval, Rituparno Ghosh, Raima Sen.

Memories  In March, on that count, can certainly be termed as different; a single mother from Delhi whose only son, on the threshold of a promising career in a Kolkata ad agency, dies in an accident. Having come to attend his last rites and collect his personal belongings and trying to cope with the tragedy, she is confronted by the skeleton in her son?s cupboard about his leanings and preferences.

As is the wont of all mothers, she blames external influence for exploiting her son besides doubting her own shortcomings in bringing him up. She is made to realise that it could well be her son exploiting the situation to his benefit and the company car and a comfortable flat coming his way.

The first half of the film moves slowly and is rather drab; it is when the mother comes to terms with the realities that, despite its dark theme, it packs a fair amount of humour and becomes interesting. There is no wailing and mourning, just simple coming to terms.

Rituparno Ghosh?s story has some beautiful touches which make the film look closer to life; director Sanjay Nag has done full justice to the script, creating a plausible ambience. Even when Deepti Naval takes things into her stride, it comes as natural. Music is rich with songs such as ?Mere lala aaj na jaiyo???, ?Kana sang khele Holi?.? And ?Sakhi hum?..?, being the pick of the lot.

Memories In March is mainly a Deepti Naval-Rituporno Ghosh film and it is Ghosh who carries it through with a natural portrayal of his character. Deepti Naval is alright. Raima Sen has little to do but does it convincingly enough.

With no promotion and a limited screen release, Memories In March can not expect to make a mark at the box office. But with word of mouth, it should gain in popularity on video circuit.

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