Gambler is a slick presentation of a crime thriller where there is more crime and less thrills. The film unfortunately erases the sharp line between deceitful criminals and dutiful cops. You no longer know who the criminals are in a milieu of unscrupulous characters indulging in murder and mayhem.
The film opens with an attempted fake encounter where cops try to kill Faizal who is saved by police officer Vinayak (Ajith). He gets suspended for six months for this misdirected effort. A cop Ekambaram commits suicide for having lost huge money in cricket betting. Based on this incident, a special task force under ACP Prithvi (Arjun) is formed to bust the cricket betting racket.
The scene shifts to Mumbai from Hyderabad. Vinayak, who drinks, smokes and womanizes, traps Sanjana (Trisha) into romance. She is the daughter of Sambasiva Reddy (Jaya Prakash) the betting kingpin. Vinayak gains the confidence of Reddy. Sumanth ((Vaibhav), a right hand henchman of Reddy, joins hands with Mahat (Mahat), Ganesh (Ashwin) and Prem (Premji Amaren) and draws a plan to rob Rs 500 crore in dollars, from Reddy’s betting pool. A drunken Prem leaks the plan to Vinayak who forces himself into the group.
The group of five succeed in robbing bagfuls of dollars and hide it. They plan to share it after a couple of days. Reddy’s goons torture Sumanth to know about the stolen money. He is rescued by Vinayak and Ganesh. But ACP Prithvi takes Sumanth into custody. Meanwhile, Mahat and Prem, instigated by Sona (Lakshmi Rai), run away with the loot. Reddy’s underlings, Vinayak and Prithvi’s special ops cops are all searching for Mahat and Prem and the missing pile of money. Who will finally lay hands on the robbed loot? Reddy or Vinayak or the police? Answer to this question leads to a climax with a twist.
Somehow Ajith looks below par mainly because his role has not been properly etched. He looks lazy and lethargic in his 50th film. Arjun is full of energy and verve. Trisha and Lakshmi Rai are just glam props and have nothing much to do. Andrea and Anjali are ok in their cameos. Jaya Prakash carries his character well. Vaibhav, Mahath and Ganesh acquit themselves well. Premji is good. All others fot their roles.
The story is told with no proper delineation of the principal characters. There is no justification for the characters for what they do. The screenplay focused on creating suspense by following the method of surprising the audience with a sudden unrelated incident and unraveling it in a mini flashback capsule. The plot is flawed. The plot of Vinayak has nothing to do with that of Sumanth. The two are linked by an accidental drunken yak-yak. So the punch line – this is my game – loses the fizz. When Faizal is rescued by Vinayak and joins Reddy, why does he fight Vinayak on behalf of Reddy? If there is a plan, he should be on Vinayak’s side! Why the faked suicide by a cop when he does nothing?
The dialogues are poorly written. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music is so-so and the songs are clearly forced in through contrived situations thus slowing down the proceedings. The language of the lyrics is in poor taste. Cinematography is good, though mostly confined to canning songs, fights and chases. The SVFX in the duet is remarkable.
The film Gambler has nothing to do with Vikram Bhatt’s Emraan Hashmi starrer Jannat, except the backdrop of cricket betting. It is the Telugu dubbed version of the Tamil film Mankatha.
But what leaves you simmering is that the perpetrators of crime, after looting the booty by killing three dozen and odd goons and cops, including friends, sit back in easy chairs and laugh away without any qualms whatsoever. The film gives the uneasy feeling that crime finally pays, particularly when planned and executed by unscrupulous cops.
Gambler finally comes out as an average fare.
The Cast and Crew
Ajith, Arjun, Trisha, Vaibhav , Lakshmi Rai, Andrea, Premji Amaren and Anjali, Jaya Prakash, Ashwin and others
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Producer: Bellamkonda Suresh
Banner: Sei Sai Ganesh Productions
Director: Venkat Prabhu
2 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar
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