Abhishek Bachchan puts together a team of experts who help him in executing a daring gold heist in Russia. However, after they capture the gold, one of them turns against the others. What happens next? Find out in the full review of Players.

Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor in Players
Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor in Players

Business rating: 1 / 5 star

Star cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor, Sikander Kher, Omi Vaidya, Vinod Khanna.

What’s Good: The train robbery sequence; some comedy in the second half; Omi Vaidya and Neil Nitin Mukesh’s acting.

What’s Bad: The loose and uninteresting screenplay; the poor music; the dull acting of Abhishek, Sonam and Bobby.

Verdict: All that glitters is not gold. This gold rush adventure will not see people rushing to the cinemas.

Loo break: Several, especially after interval.

Watch or Not?: Watch it for the stylised shooting.

(Spoiler alert! You may want to skip directly to the ‘Script Analysis’ portion of the review.)

Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Burmawala Brothers’ Players (UA), the official remake of the Hollywood film, The Italian Job, is about a gold heist adventure. Charlie Mascarenhas (Abhishek Bachchan), a chartered accountant by profession, learns from a DVD he receives from Shehla, the widow of his deceased friend, Raj (Aftab Shivdasani in a friendly appearance), that gold worth Rs. 10,000 crore is going to be transported from Russia to Romania in a train. He approaches Victor Dada (Vinod Khanna), who is serving a jail sentence, and seeks his help in putting together a team to rob the gold.

Victor Dada introduces Charlie to a group of people with varied skills: Ronnie (Bobby Deol) is a magician and illusionist; Sunny Mehra (Omi Vaidya) is a makeup and prosthetics artiste; Bilal Basheer (Sikander Kher) is an explosives expert; and Rhea (Bipasha Basu), an automobile expert who also doubles up as a seductress. Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh), an expert computer hacker, is the only missing block since he is untraceable. Naina (Sonam Kapoor), daughter of Victor Dada and friend of Charlie, is herself a hacker, and she tracks down Spider, thereby helping Charlie and his group to establish contact with him (Spider). However, Naina is the only one who doesn’t know of the proposed gold robbery. In fact, her dad has broken the promise he had made to her about never again indulging in criminal activities, just so that he can make enough money in this one last act, to build an orphanage and school for the orphans.

Spider plays hard to get but he ultimately comes around. Detailed plans are made to execute the train robbery. Rhea seduces a Russian official and drugs him so that Sunny can make a mask to resemble his face. On the appointed day, the Russian official is drugged by Sunny. Charlie impersonates the official, thanks to the mask. By then, Rhea has readied another train to match the speed of the train carrying the gold bars. Spider is hacking into the site of the Russians to crash it for ten minutes during which the gold bars have to be transferred from the train carrying them to the train in which Charlie’s team is travelling. Ronnie creates an illusion so that the guards travelling in the train with the gold can’t see the train running alongside their own train.

Everything works according to clockwork precision including the code to open the train compartment carrying the gold bars, which has been obtained by secretly and strategically placing a camera. But things go wrong in the last few minutes. However, Charlie and his team still manage to steal the gold.

There is a hitch though. One of the team members betrays the rest of the team and makes away with all the stolen gold bars. In doing so, s/he kills Victor Dada and the other team members – or so s/he thinks. Most of the team members actually survive and re-surface after a year to reclaim the gold. What happens then? Does the betrayer have the gold? Where is s/he and where is the gold? Do the other team members succeed in laying their hands on the gold?

While the story is interesting the screenplay botches the attempt so badly that Players turns out to be a boring fare
While the story is interesting the screenplay botches the attempt so badly that Players turns out to be a boring fare

Players Review: Script Analysis

A thriller like Players could have worked only if it were made as a fast-paced and stylish film. While this film is stylish, it is anything but fast-moving and, therefore, gives the audience so much time to think that it fails and falls flat on its face. It is for this very reason – giving the viewers time to think – that the entire train robbery sequence and the latter part look fake and unbelievable. Charlie and his team get to know every detail of the train journey so easily and are able to carry out their plan so meticulously and effortlessly that the audience starts questioning the security arrangements made to transport so much gold.

There have been earlier films, too, in which major crimes have been committed to clockwork precision but if one hasn’t questioned them, it is because the audience did not get the time to think of the loopholes while watching them. In this case, the pace is so slow and the drama, so half-baked that tens of questions crop up in the viewer’s mind for which the story and screenplay writers offer either no logical answers or half-baked answers.

Screenplay writers Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma have written a script of absolute convenience, which the intelligent audience of today will find hard to digest. At least one team member oscillates between the betrayer and the betrayed and why s/he does so is not clear. When the intention of that member becomes clear towards the end, the audience is left wondering why that member behaved the way s/he did and why s/he did not come clean in the beginning itself. How the betrayed traces the betrayer, how the team gains entry into the betrayer’s citadel so easily, how the team works thereafter and how the betrayer falls prey to the team when they succeed in locating him/ her, all these have been sought to be explained as becoming possible through technology and computers. But it is anybody’s guess that the viewer is not going to accept these merely because it appears to be possible because of technology. Of course, the writers have taken care to explain things in a very basic manner so that even those who are not computer-literate or technology-savvy can understand the progression of the drama but that’s about it. For, even though the viewers (literate or illiterate) would be able to follow the drama, they may not necessarily go with it.

All in all, while the story is interesting, the screenplay botches the attempt so badly that the film turns out to be a boring fare. On top of it, the drama is so long-drawn that it tests the audience’s patience, especially in the second half. Probably, the worst part of the drama is that the key players are so laid-back in their approach that they should never have been successful, yet success comes knocking at their door always. Also, the audience’s sympathy goes to no character in the film, because of which the viewer remains an outsider and never ever gets involved with the drama. Dialogues, also penned by Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma, lack the fire and the thrill.

This is not to say that there aren’t any plus points in the film. The train robbery sequence, for one, is quite nice and has also been shot well. The track of Johny Lever in the post-interval portion is interesting because of the Hindi and very Indian dialogues mouthed by his foreigner-wife, his twin sons and the foreigner servant.

The climax is not half as exciting as it ought to have been. Also, the film lacks romance because although there are two girls and five guys, the script doesn’t allow the romantic track to really come through. In fact, why the writers have shied away from clearly telling who Charlie is fond of – Rhea or Naina – is not clear. Even comedy is lacking in the film. The drama, as mentioned above, is rather boring. Emotions completely fail to touch the heart. Music, which could have been another important pillar of the star-cast thriller, is a minus point in the film.

Abhishek Bachchan fails to make an impression; Sonam Kapoor seems to be in a hurry
Abhishek Bachchan fails to make an impression; Sonam Kapoor seems to be in a hurry

Players Review: Star Performances

Coming to the performances, it must be mentioned that several of the lead players have spoken their dialogues in a flat manner and with much the same expressions throughout the drama. Abhishek Bachchan and Bobby Deol, especially, seem to be under the mistaken belief that uttering dialogues in a very sober and serious way, with absolutely no smile or emotion on the face, is akin to good acting. But it only makes them look limited as actors. Abhishek Bachchan fails to make an impression, least of all as a team leader. His expressions hardly change and his acting is ordinary. His dialogue delivery leaves something to be desired. Bobby Deol gets limited scope and is routine in what he does. Again, voice modulation and body language are as good as missing in his acting. Bipasha Basu looks sexy and does an okay job. Sonam Kapoor is dull. Her scenes give the impression that she was in a hurry throughout the making of the film. Neil Nitin Mukesh is quite effective. He is at least earnest about what he does. Omi Vaidya goes through his role with sincerity. He evokes laughter at some places. His acting is probably the best in the film. Sikander Kher needs to loosen up. His acting is barely average. Vinod Khanna hardly makes his mark. His voice gives the impression that he is very tired now. Johny Lever entertains in two roles. Aftab Shivdasani is alright in a friendly appearance.

Players Review: Direction & Music

Abbas-Mustan fail to deliver as directors. Their choice of subject for the actors they’ve chosen and, more importantly, their acceptance of the screenplay is shocking. No doubt, they have given the film a huge canvas and wonderful gloss but what’s lacking in the body beautiful is the soul. Their narration is loose and it fails to hold the audience’s interest. But it must be said, their shot takings are very stylised. If the writers have let down the director-duo, so has the music director. Pritam Chakraborty’s music is a major minus point of the film. The songs are dull. The absence of hit music is sorely felt, especially because the cast is youthful. Even the choreography (Bosco-Caesar and Raju Khan) is commonplace. Lyrics (Ashish Pandit) are ordinary. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background music should’ve been better and more forceful. Ravi Yadav’s camerawork deserves distinction marks. He has captured the foreign locales beautifully. His work in the train robbery sequence and the aerial shots is especially noteworthy. Allan Amin’s stunts are good but a negative point is that they lack novelty. Hussain Burmawala’s editing is sharp. Technically, of a good standard. Production values are grand. Sets are very appropriate.

Players Review: Komal Nahta’s Verdict

On the whole, Players will play a losing game at the box-office. Given the huge investment (of Rs. 65-70 crore) made in the film, it will end up entailing heavy losses to the producers as well as distributors. Its dull start will only add to its tale of woes.

Don’t agree with our review of Players? Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments box below!

Note: To take part in the ‘Players Weekend Box-Office’ contest, just scroll below.

Players Video Review by Komal Nahta

Komal Nahta, the Editor of Koimoi.com, is Bollywood’s most trusted trade analyst & film reviewer. You can follow him on Twitter and check out his Video Blog.

Contest: Players Weekend Box-Office Collections

Guess the opening weekend collections of Players (all India nett) and you could win prizes from Koimoi.com! Leave your estimates in the comments section below.

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70 COMMENTS

  1. Ye Sonam Kapoor sirf bak-bak karna hi janti hai..Acting mai sapat zero hai….Bachchi ki tarah lag rhi thi movie mai….Aisi actress aa kha se jati hai…Bakwas…..And Abhishek…Sukha ped….Koi bhi scene kro, kisi bhi movie ka- ek jaisa hi lagta hai…Na koi dialogue delivery, na koi body language…..Starts ki bakwas auladen…….Bobby Deol to aise hi aa gya movie mai….Songa mediocre….Bipasha ke alava baki sab faltu hai!!……1/5 ekdm shi hai!!….Apna time and paisa khoti krna hai to ismai jao..Nonsense movie!!..

  2. Hello Mr.Komal Nahta,I am a great admirer of you.You are one of the very few sensible critics in this country.I have just watched the first day first show of Players.Before giving comments on Players,I would like to say something.According to our critic’s community(not necessarily you), Bodyguard, Ready ,Ra.One Singham Don 2 and Golmaal 3 are worst movies.They blasted all these movies and made fun of them.These films broke records after records and critics ran in their houses to hide their face.Critics give 4/5 star ratings to majority of films that are watched only by them alone in theatres.They wrote off films that create mayhem at the box office.They think that they can make or break films.But they are living in fool’s paradise.No body in this country take critics seriously ,not even their families.The fate of a film is decided only and only by public.In 1975 a movie was released,that was blasted by critics.I hope you have heard its name.That was”SHOLAY”. The biggest blockbuster ever in the history of bollywood adjusted for inflation.You wrote off Sholay,what a pity.I have great sympathy with your community majority of whom do not have brains.You do not realise how much effort is required to make a film.It will take 100 years for you to make a film and 1000 years to make a good film.As far as Players is concerned it is a complete paisa vasool with thrills never appeared before.Masses will decide its fate. I am not sure whether you will display my message because realities are hard to digest.If you think that I am not correct in my assessment,my email address is with you.I am a Chartered Accountant.THANK YOU.

  3. sala abhishek, BACHCHAN k naam pe DHABBA..
    sale surname k sahare kitna jiyega??
    apni bakwaas acting dikhake logo k jaan q le raha hai be..
    acting chhod k kuch aur kaam karana suru kar aur kuch izzat kama..
    shadi k pahle BAAP k sahare aur shadi k baad BIBI k sahare jine ki adaat ho gai hai tuze…
    abe nahi aati acting to chhod q nahi deta??
    Sale tujhe se achcha to IMRAN HASHMI hai be jiski
    publicity cum aur Acting mai DUM hai..
    sudhar jaa sale..
    10 saal pehle bhi tu wahi tha aur aaj bhi waahi hai..
    teri solo-film pit jati hai aur Multistarr tu pitwa deta hai..
    logo pe rahm kar be sale…

    • There are many more desreving actors than abhsihek like Jimmy shergill, madhavna, rajeev khandelwal. BAAP ka naam use karta hai

      KITINI FLOP DEGA
      keheln hum jee jaan se, game, players, dum mar dum, raavan, umrao jaan, delhi 6……………………
      BAS KAR

    • Saale Imran Hashmi ke tatte, Abhishek Bachchan ka muh mein le le…. Agar tere ko usski movies achi nahi lagti to gaand marwane kyu jaata hai… Tera level to teri choice se pata chalta hai…(Imran Hashmi)…

  4. first one of the worst movie of 2011, it izz no were near italian job, every1’s acting looks fake especially abhi!!!!! wasted my money watchin it ………………

  5. first & one of the worst movie of 2012, it izz no were near italian job, every1’s acting looks fake especially abhi!!!!! wasted my money watchin it ………………

  6. i watched first day first show…the movie is awesome …paisa vasool…im nt a fan of ny actor in this film …but i found this film entertainin….u gave 4 stars to mere brother ki dulhan …nd 1 star for players…not fare!!!! i wuld say go guyz…….PLAYERS ROCKS!!!!!!!

  7. Its the insult of the great movie ‘Italian Job’.
    Totally rubbish work from everyone who is a part of the film.It’s bad opening of box office for 2012.
    wkend collections would be 7-9 crore.thats more than enough for such bakwas movie.

  8. I thnk u all hv nt seen Italian Job..if u would hv seen that u wouldn’t hv said in ds way..flopbuster movie.. 0.0001/5 stars..

  9. Players will make 24 cr in first weekend… and will cross 50 cr life time..it will be a surprise HIT of the year..just watch out!

  10. I have just now watched Players, I think it’s a pretty cool and gripping movie. You said that film lacks in romance and comedy, if Abass,Mustan serves both comedy and romance in the movie, then your remark will be ‘COMEDY AND ROMANCE MAKES THE MOVIE SLOW .THERE IS NO NEED FOR THESE THINGS IN SUCH TYPE OF FILMS. If there is a SRK or Salman Khan in the movie then you will give the movie a four stars .it is better movie than Don 2, and by the way who told you that you are most trusted trade analyst of bollywood, I think it’s either you yourself or is it SRK or Salman.In my opinion you are the most trusted CHAMCHA of khans.

  11. i loved the movie it had some nice Bollywood spice .Common you cant compare Hollywood to Bollywood style of film making.Indian audience love movies with spice masala. that’s what films like dabang,singham,dhoom,race,etc …are enjoyed by the audience…i totally agree with guarav.I Guess when an normal indian guy(not a critic or analyst) when he enters the cinema halls.he just there to enjoy the movie no matter how silly or unrealistic things may looks,if that makes him enjoy the movie i guess the movie has succeeded to satisfy its audience . players has surely done justice to that.. people were actually smiling and seemed to enjoyed the movie when they came out…ya but if you enter the cinema halls to find faults you never going to enjoy the movie.i guess that is mindset of critics see the movie…but as a general public if you enter the hall with mindset to enjoy you will like it…

  12. The movie is ok.Neil,omi and sikander is fine bur the rest of all are pathetic.Abbas-Mustan should understand that people are now not so illiterate……hacking the russian satellite,knowing the plan of russian army so easily only adds fakeness to the movie.Locations are excellent,music is worst than bobby deol’s expressions…….”ONE TIME WATCH”……….

  13. i dont knw why u analysts always aspect every things in a single movie. romance, emotions, action and many more, for don2 u wrote it emotion less, was it a emotional film my dear? like u said in player romance is missing, tepical indians ,com,on man how can one film provides u everything.

  14. rakesh to mar mr. Komal nahta might be chamcha of khans but you r for sure chamcha or may be a relative of abbas mustan or abhishek bachchan. players better than don2! gud joke. . u r mad. PLEASE BE QUIET.

  15. Dear vaibhav if u saw etalian job in dat mvie hackrs can hack russian satelite nd roadlight. If u can digest dis thn u can also digest dis mvie. Awsme mvie. Neil rocks nd sonam luk fabulas. Climax is outstanding.

  16. Abishek really needs to shed his personal snobbishness which he brings into each of his characters. Get real or get out. Like Neil and Bips..both did a good job. Poor Bobby guess they could not afford to pay all. Overall i would give i 2/5 stars. And yeah…to Abbas..please give audiences credit for intelligence…there are some scenes that are just so stupid…just stupid. Don’t try to copy something if you cannot pass it.

  17. i like the movie ……remember there is mistake by director in scene of movie ……when vinod khanna say abhishek to find spider(niel nitin) then sonam helps him …..she say that i m teached from world best hacker spider…….at the end of movie she went into spider web as a bar girl …bcozz spider doesn’t see in his life sonam ……so what is true gyuzz

  18. Aare bhai log … Do not miss it >>>>> Its amazing yaar . Quiet surprising for me when i was in theater, I just went because i had nothing to do. But i came out with a smile and satisfaction that my money was worth spending: at least intelligent stuff , There is a twist in every 10 minutes, which may keep you dumbfounded and you will think .. Its smart and intelligent. As far as acting is concerned.
    – Abhishek Bachan – Better that other movies. Impressive
    – Neil – Awsome
    – Bipash – Very good
    – Sonam – Waste of resourse as usual.
    – Omi vaidya and jhonny lever – Very good.
    – Sikander kher – Impressive
    The music of the movie is below average, I think pritam is a rich man now and he is least bortherd if he is creating a shit, If you talk about the music not the person he is : ITS clearly made for money and with intentions of delivering something exceptional…. All crab.

  19. i still not understand ..how can he ( jhony liver ) made a car ..once players had stolen the gold, in middle of racing they went to a (jhony livers ) workshop. whr gold car was already made. its really foolish …how can u fool a people abbas – mustan..

  20. This is not only dubbed from italian job but also the climax of the car made by the stolen gold is copied from the other hollywood movie named tower heist.

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