The dictionary explains the Stockholm Syndrome as “an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.”
Now this bit of digression is important to explain the concoction of emotions you may feel when you go to watch Players. We are held captive by the makers for about two and a half hours, held at ransom in an Abbas-Mastan universe where sense and sensibility has been dethroned by the absurd and the stupid! But instead of harboring revenge and disgust for our captors we empathize with them and almost willingly succumb to this mindless malady. The Stockholm syndrome proving to be the only logical explanation of our rather illogical act of sitting through this film.
Ok so Players is weird. The dialogues are comic. The acting conspicuous by its absence and the editing patchy to say the least. The official remake of the Italian Job, the makers of this one should go in for a nose job! Why would you not stick to the original if you have the official license to do so? Why would you spoil the broth by mixing too many creative thoughts and ideas? As in fantasy and so in Players, everything can happen at the ‘click’ of a button. ‘Click’: Russian government systems are hacked. ‘Click’: Romanian gold is flicked. ‘Click’: Russians are fooled. ‘Click’: Villain is found. ‘Click’: The hero fights…you get the picture by now?
It is absurd but we are victims of the Stockholm syndrome. We sit tight till the interval, thankful for the 5 min pre interval period when the Romanian gold is rather painstainkingly stolen. After the interval we are numb. First by Sonam Kapoor’s silly yapping “I am a gold medalist ethical hacker” then Neil Nitin Mukesh's annoying “ hello baby” and “dress me baby” lines. For Abhishek, it's a Doom 2 hangover. Only Johnny Levers’ short appearance is endearing, so is the ‘mataji – pitaji’ duo.
Apart from that the film will make you laugh! Yes we laugh at the stupidity on screen and at ourselves for not getting up and leaving at the interval. It’s irritatingly entertaining – oxymoronic is our feeling. While the actors, dialogue writers, editors and director duo draw flack for their horrid job, the cinematography and the manner in which the Russian landscape has been depicted and a couple of action sequences (although few and far between) hold us to the movie.
The makers of Players are over-smart. Since they couldn’t convince us they confuse us. It’s a movie you see once and then it stays alive in conversations, friendly banter and lifting up spirits on a bad day at work. Go in with your gang of friends and have a good laugh-it’s actually funny! Although Abbas-Mastan wanted to thrill us, giggles, laughs and rolling eyes is all we manage as an audience.