In a refreshingly slick thriller, director Abhinay Deo has quite a cast to work with for his Crime Scene Investigation – 'Game', which keeps announcing that 'it's a game...'. Yes, we get the point. There are shades of the Akhtars being in charge of writing some of the story especially in the second half. While Game offers many twists in its investigative second half that differs from the first (which deals with a conspiring meeting of distinct individuals on a Greek Island), its back stories and meandering sub-plots tend to take the Game all over the place. Nevertheless, it does make up a decent Sunday afternoon DVD rental.
Four strangers from different parts of the world are summoned by the reclusive business magnate Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) to his private island in Greece where he offers to help them in their crisis weary lives. After a welcome by Kabir's assistant Samara (Gauhar Khan), they are all greeted by Malhotra who reveals stories about each one's dark past and accuses them of being a part of his daughter's life and death. He also warns them of the impending arrival of the International Vigilance Team that will look into the proofs he provides against each of them the next day. But morning brings with it a shocking event that triggers a series of twists, sub-plots and mysteries that unfold before the intrigued viewer.
Boman Irani plays the Thai Prime Ministerial candidate Ramsay, who keeps more secrets than the number of pills that subside his high blood pressure. His portrayal as the sinister politician is the film's dark element. Jimmy Shergil plays the popular bollywood actor Vikram Kapoor whose guilty conscience disturbs him enough to cause his films to flop. His is an insignificant character to whom one cannot really relate to or even empathize with. The alcoholic journalist Tisha Khanna (Shahana Goswami) is the other inconsequential revelation as Malhotra's second daughter, the twin sibling of the murdered Maya. One may wonder where she disappeared in the second half. Neil Menon (Abhishek Bachchan) is a casino owner and drug peddler based in stunning Istanbul where he falls in love with Maya and subsequently loses her to an accident. The film's surprise element is Abhishek's character and he does enjoy this exciting twist. Kangana Ranaut as the investigating officer looks determined but hardly credible. Sarah-Jane as Maya plays a brief role, looks good in some scenes but the characterization for her failed to draw any emotions from the viewer.
With each unfolding mystery, the story keeps throwing more twists that keep the suspense alive. Unlike the C.I.D. Mysteries where analysis reveals all new characters or observation, the story tellers manage to keep it all secretive till the very end while the analysis by investigators reveals facts that were depicted in front of us which we may overlook. This is one of the intriguing aspects of the film's story telling that tends to impress. Surely, it has something to do with Javed Akhtar's skills that gave us so many thrillers in the 70's. Unfortunately, the film is not quite balanced overall. The numerous sub-plots, poorly scripted characters and direction that did not do justice to the story, all bring mediocrity to a well written plot. The film could've been a genuinely fun Game to play along but it simply lost focus in the middle and was left upon Abhishek to hold it together.
Shankar Ehsaan Loy's score is average with only the end credits song 'Kaun hai ajnabi' being worthy of a download.
If the story was the backbone of this film, the cinematography was its beautiful face. Istanbul has been depicted in all its splendour with slick shots from rooftops and its Bosphorus strait showcasing the city's fine architecture.
Game is a slick looking thriller with a good amount of twists that engage the viewer for some time. Its problems of lengthy back-stories and poor characterization tend to disrupt the steady flow of informative investigation but blame that on its inexperienced director. Too bad for Abhishek though as he had a role to capitalize on; had everything else been done right around him. It still is worthy of the home video rental if not the expensive movie theater outing. Watch it for the stylish camera work through Greece and Turkey and to engage your mind into a murder mystery that will keep you guessing.....
7.011 on a scale of 1-10.
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