Planet Bollywood
Bluffmaster
 
Producer: Ramesh Sippy
Director: Rohan Sippy
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Nana Patekar, Ritesh Deshmukh, and Boman Irani
Music: Vishal Shekhar, Sameerudhin
Lyrics: Various
Genre: Thriller
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 2 Hrs 17 Mins
Film Released on: 16 December 2005
Reviewed by: Narbir Gosal  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
 
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Public Rating Average: 5.1 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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Bluffmaster is the third crime/con-man caper to release this year. If Bunty Aur Babli was hilarious fluff, Bluffmaster is funny, but in a subtle way and just as heart warming. If Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena was flashy and sexy, Bluffmaster is slick, yet the romance between the lead pair is based on pure love, not lust. Bluffmaster works in most aspects, Rohan Sippy has made a film that is miles ahead of the dreadful Kuch Naa Kaho. Although he still has a ways to go before being considered a dependable name, there is no denying that this time around, Rohan is learning. Bluffmaster released during a year when a lot of directors are releasing their second film, and the second film is always the real acid test. This year we´ve already seen what Shaad Ali, Apoorva Lakhia, Sujoy Ghosh and Arjun Sablok had to offer. Rohan Sippy joins the clan with a film that is far from perfect, but has enough heart to go a long way. Rohan still has to master his craft, but it´s apparent that he is trying really hard. There are several references to the Bachchan family scattered throughout this film, whether it be music, movies or just general pop culture trivia. Often it´s clever and Sippy should be happy to know that it´s an effective tribute to Bollywood, and thankfully done in a subtle manner. Speaking of subtle, the comedic style in this film is less slapstick and more subdued. Sippy handles it well, none of his actors look like clowns when making us laugh. The expressions and reactions are enough for this director to elaborate on. Sippy has also done a great job with the scenes between our lead Roy and his girlfriend Simmi. The realness of their interactions is refreshing, not loud or forced like most Bollywood films. On the flip side Rohan´s film lacks the punch of a solid entertainer. It moves at a decent pace and provides quite a few chuckles, but just the laughs and the serious moments play out in quick succession.

That´s not entirely Rohan´s fault though, a majority of it has to do with Shridhar Raghavan´s screenplay. Shridhar wrote the screenplay for Khakee as well and he is obviously a strong drama writer, however his comedic writing needs some work. You cannot have sadness one moment and then laughter the next, it may be confusing to some. This may have been done for character development, but there are better ways to incorporate these situations into the script. The screenplay may be a little shoddy, but it´s easy to overlook when the film has so many plus points. One place it really scores is the dialogues. Shridhar Raghavan and Rajat Arora wrote them together, and they are outstanding. Nana Patekar gets the best lines and it´s apparent that Raghavan and Arora knew he would deliver those lines with his trademark dead pan style. The results are the highlight of the film. Similarly Rohan must´ve had an easy time making the lead couple so authentic because the dialogue between them is natural.

Himmam Dhamjia´s cinematography is great, Mumbai looks gorgeous on the big screen, proving you don´t need to fly overseas to make the film look slick and cutting edge. Amitabh Shukla also deserves mention for his editing. The film doesn´t drag at all, it gets sidetracked once in a while, but it´s length of just over 2 hours is ideal. The music of the film is a rage all over the place and it´s no surprise. All the songs make an appearance in the film, but most of them are as a background piece. Even the ones that are used for the song and dance routine are cut to some point. The two best songs (Bluffmaster and Right Here Right Now) open and close the film with stylish music videos.

Bluffmaster´s greatest asset is it´s all star ensemble cast. The film tells the story of Roy (Abhishek), a conman who has lost his girlfriend Simmi (Priyanka) to his scams. Down on his luck he runs into Dittu (Ritesh) who he takes up as an apprentice of sorts. This leads them to their next big scam, and the target is Chandru (Nana Patekar) a sleaze bag hotel owner.


Nana Patekar steals the show in every scene he is in. He has the best lines and delivers them with biting wit. For Patekar fans, this is a performance to cherish, he plays the gangster/goonda with the scorching dialogue delivery, but Rohan Sippy had enough sense to put a comedic spin on things. Whether he is doing his own Aarti in the mirror or offering to remember good one liners for future use, Nana is hilarious and his usual relaxed self. He stands out amongst the rest of the cast. Ritesh Deshmukh lends excellent support. Not only is comedy his forte, but he is really improving with each film. Bluffmaster has him in the side kick role, but Deshmukh makes him loveable and charming, more so than the lead character. Abhishek Bachchan plays the con man again, but this isn´t Bunty. Abhishek´s cockiness and magnetic personality make him an instant fit for the character of Roy. Although he has great support, he makes sure that everyone knows he owns this movie. He´s funny, serious and emotional, sometimes all at once and he does it without even a hint of difficulty. Abhishek has really come a long way in his career, the maturity really shows in this performance. Priyanka Chopra is as dependable as ever, Simmi doesn´t require strong acting muscles, but Priyanka is relaxed enough to make her character come across with the right amount of genuine concern. Priyanka has loads of charisma on screen and very strong screen presence, it makes watching her such a pleasure. Her chemistry with Abhishek is great. Boman Irani has a limited role and is good in it, but one wishes we could have seen more of his comic side in this film.

Bluffmaster isn´t a film that pretends to be perfect, it´s just as flawed as it´s lead character. And just like the lead character it has enough charm to reel you in. Rohan Sippy does a great job his second time out, and although his script lets him down a little, he makes the most of it. Sippy will be a talent to reckon with in the coming years. Bluffmaster is still a good entertainer and it´s worth the watch just to see Nana Patekar in his hilarious role (he delivers 3 or 4 lines in the climax that will have you howling), but even more it´s worth the watch for the whole ensemble cast that work with each other and off of each other. The results are there for everyone to see. In a year where each comedy has been louder than the last, Bluffmaster comes off as a comedy for the masses and classes. A sensible comedy with feeling.

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