Movie Review: BLUFFMASTER (2005)
So at 2AM last night, on some random Indian channel, I ended up re-watching an oldie from a few years ago that I absolutely loved. Now, I was all set to regale you people with my take on SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, it was drafted and e’erythang. But then I remembered that I did an in depth review of this old movie back in 2005 , so I figured that I’m going to post that one for your enjoyment this Friday. Keep in mind that this was written in 2005 so pardon my youth and also the lack of articulate-ism-ness–…. well good to see some things haven’t changed.
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Duniya ek samundar hai, aur hum sab is mein machli. (The world is a big ocean, and we’re all fishes in it.) The words and the philosophy of our boy… Roy. Con man, sham artist, matchstick man, shyster, flim flam man… call him what you will… but in this film, Abhishek Bachchan is… BLUFFMASTER.
For the second time in a row, the heir to the legacy, Junior Bachchan plays a con artist swindling people of their hard earned money, and doing it with a certain charm that would make Dean Martin himself raise his martini glass in praise. After the summer masala hit BUNTY AUR BABLI, Abhi’s seen here in a cool, sweet and surprisingly romantic film about life and priorities under a tight veil of deception.
The son of a legendary film maker teams up with his best friend, who happens to be the son of a legendary actor, and seems to be recreating the same magic provided by the duo of their fathers, more than 30 years ago. The man responsible for the epic SHOLAY, Ramesh Sippy produces BLUFFMASTER while his son Rohan Sippy helms this story full of twists and turns. His father created waves in history with a one Amitabh Bachchan, and now Rohan Sippy comes together for the second time with that man’s son, and his best friend… Abhishek Bachchan.
After their debut as a director-actor duo in the romantic KUCH NAA KAHO, BLUFFMASTER has been long awaited for many reasons, and I’m glad to say it does not disappoint. Along with an original screenplay (despite being similar to other films of the “con-men” genre) and the first ever Indian film with an actual soundtrack, meaning the songs haven’t been rendered especially for the film, BLUFFMASTER takes quite a stride when it comes to pushing the boundaries of Indian cinema.
Now I rarely comment on the soundtrack of a film in its review, but for BLUFFMASTER it’s more than deserving of a mention. This is the first time that an album for an Indian film is an actual soundtrack, meaning that the songs in the album weren’t created for the film itself, but are compositions of various artists that are incorporated within the film to give it a more universal feel and atmosphere. Consisting of artists from the Middle East, the UK and even contemporary composers from the Indian Film Industry itself, BLUFFMASTER’s soundtrack has a mix of tracks that escalate the tone of the film a lot more than without the tunes. 3 of the tracks being remixes of old time hits and some others being pure instrumental tracks rendered by Trick Baby, an independent artist from the UK, the diversity of the soundtrack is what sets it apart from the formulaic Indian film’s music. Also another first would be the debut of Abhishek Bachchan as a fully fledged singer as he lends his voice to the internationally hit track of Right Here Right Now, composed by the reigning music directors currently, Vishal & Shekhar. And yet another first from this film has to be the trend of promotional music videos that seem to have begun from the announcement of BLUFFMASTER. Setting the standards with two incredible promotional music videos that have both topped the charts for weeks before and after the release of the film, Rohan Sippy really shows a talent for the proper marketing of a film.
After a most successful year with hits like SARKAR, BUNTY AUR BABLI, DUS and a critical hit to his name in the form of ANTAR MAHAL, Abhishek Bachchan comes together with his school friend Rohan Sippy in the hilariously intelligent BLUFFMASTER. Portraying a man who makes it a professional career out of conning people, Abhi does a magnificent job with Roy. The talent shown by Abhi in only 6 short years since his debut is remarkable as he plays a character that, despite faking people out of their money, is still pretty reserved and sombre. Abhi’s Roy is at the end of his professional rope where he just wants to settle down and be happy with the love of his life, Simmi. But his plans take a turn for the worst after she finds out about his dishonest ways. Abhi perfectly showcases his talent as the non relenting lover trying to get back the woman he loves by any means necessary, even if it means sitting in a coffee shop for hours just to get her attention. Despite being a quiet and reserved character, Abhi pulls of the character of Roy with a certain charm and suave that not a lot of actors these days can pull off. Roy’s charm never intersects with looks or other superficial attributes but rather is comprised of a quiet sophistication, even as he listens to the rants of a hypochondriac doctor. Abhi’s performance in BLUFFMASTER is extremely restraint and held back compared to his other films, but in a way that actually works with the rest of the story in which every other character is loud, brash and at times extremely comical.
The unusual pairing of Priyanka Chopra and Abhi would seem unnatural to say the least, but it actually works. The pair’s on screen chemistry seem surprisingly natural as their love-hate relationship sets of most of the premise of the film. At first look BLUFFMASTER wouldn’t have seemed like a romantic film, but it turns out to be just that, and quite a sweet one at that. After a handful of films under her credit in the coming year, Priyanka Chopra seems to be maturing in her acting capabilities. After a negative turn in AITRAAZ, a damsel in distress in KARAM and the super hit WAQT under her belt, Miss Chopra gives a very restraint and sweet performance in this one. One has to assume if the credit goes to director Rohan Sippy for toning down the glam queen’s looks to make her a lot more realistic and natural than in her previous roles. Priyanka Chopra’s portrayal as a woman who finds out about her fiancée’s dishonest profession and the resentment and feelings of betrayal that follow are quite honest and genuine. The on screen bickering and fights between Roy and Simmi reveal a lot of the love they have for each other, despite the hateful comments spewed by Simmi when she finds out that Roy isn’t a stockbroker, but rather plays whatever role suits the con he’s working at the time.
Another unusual pairing that seems to have worked big time is that of Abhi with the surprisingly talented Ritesh Deshmukh. Ritesh D, as playfully referred to in the rap number Right Here Right Now by Abhi, is once again in a light hearted comic role as the naïve and gullible young Dittu who’s an amateur in the world of flim flam. That ability to not know anything about the world of cons is what drives the young and over eager Dittu to try to enlist the teaching of someone he considers his master in the business, our very own Roy. Roy’s annoyance with Dittu at first causes him to refuse, but circumstances make it so that he finds in it his best interests to tutor Dittu in the ways of the con artist. Ritesh’s experience in past films such as MASTI and KYA KOOL HAI HUM prepares him for this over the top role which is done with a little bit more tact than the ones in the films I just mentioned. The contrast that Dittu has with Roy is what makes Ritesh’s performance more comedic than annoying. Roy’s reactions to having Dittu follow him everywhere like a puppy dog makes for a good buddy comedy factor in BLUFFMASTER. The comedic timing and chemistry between Abhi and Ritesh make for great comic bits in the film and adds a lot of flavour for the youth in the club scenes as the pair just seems to be having a lot of fun. I think it’s worth a mention here that the choreography for the film isn’t as tight and synchronized as in other Indian films, but almost everyone on the sets and song picturizations seems to be doing their own thing and having fun while they’re at it.
Another surprise element in BLUFFMASTER ends up being the current master of comedy Boman Irani. As the hypochondriac doctor, Irani’s Dr. Bhalerao gives his fair share of laughs as he preaches the importance of enjoying life to the reluctant to listen Roy, who is always annoyed but eventually becomes used to the doctor’s advice. And once again, we have Nana Patekar in form as the quirky and eccentric master criminal that becomes the target for the conning duo of Roy and Dittu. Being incredibly flamboyant and highly amusing, Nana’s Chandru is just so cruelly funny that you can’t help but crack a smile as his hi jinks invade the screen for the short period he appears.
So far being a commercial hit overseas, but not so much in India, BLUFFMASTER in a lot of ways resembles a Hollywood flick, in terms of execution, style, storyline, not to mention the great performances by all involved. The soundtrack and background score do a lot more for this film than the usual rest. For a movie marketed and promoted as a fun, slick, con movie, BLUFFMASTER turns out to be very romantic and incredibly sweet most of the time. All in all the film belongs to Abhishek. Rohan Sippy marks himself as a director that, with his 2nd film has become one of the most talented film makers within the industry, not only in his vision to make a film, but also the strategic marketing that comes before and after the release of the film.
In conclusion I’d just like to leave you with a few parting words from a great man; it can be applied to a lot of instances in life… depending on how you choose interpret it and in what context you choose to see it…