Teen Patti (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/03/2010

One out of Five stars
Running time: 142 mins

Disappointing, overlong and frequently dull thriller that falls painfully flat thanks to a badly written script, lacklustre performances and sloppy direction.

What's it all about?
Directed by Leena Yadav, Teen Patti (which the subtitles translate as 'flush') stars Amitabh Bachchan as mild-mannered mathematics professor Venkat, who develops a ground-breaking probability theory that allows him to predict the outcome of any poker game. Pushed to exploit his discovery by ambitious fellow professor Shantanu (Madhavan), Venkat recruits a team of students (Dhruv Ganesh, Vaibhav Talwar, Shraddha Kapoor and Siddharth Kheras) and begins testing his theory in Bombay's underground gambling dens.

However, as the stakes get higher and the money starts pouring in, Venkat finds himself the victim of a mysterious blackmail plot and begins to suspect that one of his students might be the blackmailer. Meanwhile, there are frequent tension-sapping flash-forwards to a meeting in London, several months later, in which Venkat tells his story to famous magician-turned-mathematician Perci Trachtenberg (Ben Kingsley).

The Good
Sadly, the only good bit of the film is the stylishly directed, futuristic-looking music video / promo that plays over the end credits. If the whole film had been like that, it would have been much more enjoyable.

The Bad
If the story seems a little familiar, that's because it's extremely similar to the recent Kevin Spacey thriller 21, although at least that bothered to explain the science behind card-counting, whereas Teen Patti has a half-arsed (and unsuccessful) attempt at explaining the Monty Hall Problem and then papers over the actual maths with flashy editing and scribbles-appearing-on-the-screen effects. In addition, the blackmail plot makes no sense and the film also tries to have it both ways by pushing an anti-greed, anti-gambling message while revelling in the gambling-based thrills.

Bachchan delivers a lacklustre performance that suggests his heart's not really in it and the supporting characters are frustratingly under-developed, although Shraddha Kapoor does get to wiggle around in a succession of skimpy costumes, so that's something. On top of that, the film completely wastes Ben Kingsley in what is essentially a cameo, though there is a bonkers (albeit utterly pointless) moment involving a levitating tea-cup that has to be seen to be believed.

Worth seeing?
Teen Patti is a badly written, poorly directed and frequently boring thriller that fails to engage on every level. Avoid.

Film Trailer

Teen Patti (12A)
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Content updated: 21/03/2019 14:00

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