First it was a string of special appearances that he did for films produced or directed by friends whom he just couldn't refuse, like Salaam Namaste, Ek Ajnabee, Home Delivery. And now, on the heels of Bunty Aur Babli, here's another Abhishek Bachchan film that features him as a con-man. Only, this one's got a better plot that's much tighter, and after quite a while, here's a script that's not an afterthought but the centrespiece of the entire creative effort Rohan Sippy has put into crafting Bluffmaster.
A fast-paced con caper with a humungous sting in its tail, Bluffmaster opens smartly, and quickly introduces the characters with deft thumbnail strokes. From the word go, director Rohan Sippy takes the plot by the scruff of its neck, and within 10-15 minutes, the story is ready to zoom. Roy Kapoor is a young, smart conman, the confident and self-proclaimed Daddy-O of the world of cons otherwise filled with wannabe conmen. Establish all this with one quick caper, introduce the lovely lady he worships (Priyanka Chopra) to whom he expresses his love (but has never revealed what he does for a living). Well, Roy proposes to Simmi, who accepts, and till their engagement party all is well, until, at the end of a song n dance, who should Roy bump into but the very man he duped through the elaborate opening con! And Roy's world falls apart - coz Simmi is aghast when she learns Roy is a conman. Eyes smouldering with agony, she slips Roy's engagement ring off her finger and dumps him, her righteous heart broken. So, here we are, only about 15 minutes into the film about a super-confident Bluffmaster who's nursing heartbreak, and who's already conned a tough cookie who will get back at him. What will Rou do next? Where does the film go from here?
Places. For, even as Roy refuses to give up on Simmi and tries to win her back, a young wannabe conman enters his life. Dittu (a very competent Riteish Deshmukh) tries to pull a con on Roy, who sees through Dittu and his partner's plan and puts them in their place. And before long, Dittu has latched on to Roy, acknowledging him as the maestro and begging Roy to teach him the tricks of the con trade. But the smart, calm and smooth Roy considers Dittu an embarrassment. However, Dittu persists, and Roy, torn between his love for Simmi who has turned him down, and an obligation to Dittu, finally gives in and decides to teach Dittu the tricks of the trade. In the process there are several hilarious escapades - some starting as seemingly disconnected with one another. Before long there enters into the scene, A dangerous, swarthy character, Chandru Parekh, a really nasty number who is so self-obsessed, he prays with a pooja thaali to himself in the mirror, and has done something terrible to incur the wrath of Dittu, who wants revenge. But Roy refuses to be drawn into Dittu's personal battle. Though not for long, for Simmi enters the picture... and then, Roy decides to support Dittu. They give themselves seven days to make Chandru suffer.
Really, Bluffmaster scores because it is an entertaining con caper slickly told with the help of some excellent performances for characters that have been extremely well crafted. As a conman, Roy is master of all he surveys, but as a rejected lover, he is equally confused, and Abhishek looks and portrays the part of a stylish and debonair conman who is flustered in love. This is his best performance in a commercial film after Yuva (where he shared the limelight) and Phir Milenge, and in Bluffmaster, he's finally proved he can carry a film singlehandedly.
Priyanka Chopra is competent as Simmi Khanna, the young woman who puts honesty and principles before love and hence dumps Roy, but the best of the supporting cast is the actor par excellence, Nana Patekar, who excels as the dangerous Chandru, the man who drove Dittu's father to an amnesic old man, and for which