Teen Patti is about a genius professor of mathematics who makes a life-altering discovery about the theory of probability and randomness. I don’t know much about math but I can safely say that in all probability you will not enjoy this film.
Teen Patti is a train-wreck of a movie. It’s incoherent, lengthy and worst of all, agonisingly pretentious. Director Leena Yadav takes the kernel of the story from the 2008 Hollywood film 21, about an MIT professor and his students who figure out how to count cards and make millions at casinos in Las Vegas.
In 21, the professor is a greedy, slime ball who uses his students but since here he is played by Amitabh Bachchan, plain wickedness won’t do. So Yadav and her co-writer Shiv Kumar Subramanium add blackmail and sad student back-stories to justify the bad behavior. The result is an incredibly garbled tale of gambling and greed that finally ends in death and redemption.
Teen Patti operates on minimal logic. So two college professors and their students start hanging out in underground gambling dens with absolute ease. In a while, they trade these for upmarket private parties. Crores in cash is being tossed around but no one figures out anything.
Yadav wants to comment on the slow seduction of money and danger but the writing is unintentionally funny. So a young couple who become addicted to the excitement of gambling and role-play refer to themselves as Bonnie and Clyde. When they break up, the girl remarks, "It was great while it lasted because I loved being your Bonnie." The portrayal of the decadent, rich gamblers is pure comedy.
Jackie Shroff makes a special appearance as playboy named Tony Milano, who says dialogue like, "Bellisima please get me a drink".
A young professor, played by Madhavan, has an affair with a blonde hottie who calls him Biscottino and this was my favorite scene: Several super-rich folk sit around gambling in lakhs and exchanging dialogue like, "I believe you are aiming for nirvana and human brain ke bare mein aapka kya khyal hai.
The actors struggle to make these lines actually mean something. But only Ben Kingsley gets away with his dignity intact. He gets to say, "Gambling is our way of telling the universe that we are a match for it."
What does any of this mean? I couldn’t tell you. If you figure it out, do write in.
Meanwhile, I’m going with one and a half stars and recommending that you steer clear.(NDTV)