I started purchasing Bollywood films initially because of Aishwarya Rai. In the course of several Rai movies, I discovered and became a fan of Abhishek Bachchan. I think this guy can act (check out GURU) but what I like best about him is that, in real life, he exudes a down-to-earth, fun-loving persona. He comes off as someone who's not at all impressed with his own fame. Abhishek seems like a cool cat. Accordingly, I've been chasing down DVDs of his flicks. BLUFFMASTER! is one film of his that I've seen several times.
In BLUFFMASTER! Abhishek Bachchan borrows a page from his earlier film BUNTY AUR BABLI. He plays another con artist, this time Roy Kapoor, a smooth professional scammer who had been bilking marks all his life. Of late, he's been seeing the gorgeous Simmi (Priyanka Chopra) and it's gotten serious enough that he's proposed marriage to her. But here's the rub, Simmi is a girl with principles. She had been oblivious to Roy's shady side - until now. When she discovers that Roy's a crook, she promptly breaks up with him.
Six months elapse and the plot keeps on thickening. Roy is still haplessly chasing Simmi, telling her he's changed (a lie) and begging for her forgiveness (to no avail). Meanwhile, he meets up with Dittu (Riteish Deshmukh), a rather obtuse, small time grifter. After several run-ins, Roy takes Dittu under his wing and attempts to teach him the conning trade. But then, recurring bouts of dizziness and disorientation cause Roy to go in for a medical exam. He is told that he has a brain tumor and only three months to live. So here's Roy aiming to live the fullest of the remaining moments left to him. But, first, there's one last caper to pull off...
BLUFFMASTER! is a good-natured Bollywood film with a sneaky ending. As per usual with Indian cinema, it doesn't pay to overanalyze the plot. Just sit back and flow with it. The cons themselves are pretty interesting (I thought the credit card scam was neatly done). The story is humorous with occasional snappy one-liners, and only a few scenes get too silly (the main culprit being the slapstick sequence with Roy and Dittu being assaulted by an outraged Dr. Bhalerao).
I'm reminded that not everyone in the U.S. has experienced Bollywood. I had friends over who had never seen a Bollywood flick before. We were watching this one and, man alive, imagine their bemusement when - all of a sudden, in the middle of the plot - a musical number broke out. But that's what's up with Bollywood. The four musical numbers happen to be slick and worthy of rhythmic head-bobbing, with my two favorites being the slammin' title song "Sabse Bada Rupaiyya" with its Vegas sensibilities and "Right Here Right Now" which features Abhishek actually singing his own hip-hop flavored track.
This is Rohan Sippy's second directional gig and also his second collaboration with his pal Abhishek (after KUCH NAA KAHO). Here, Sippy submits a glossy product which makes good location use of beautiful Mumbai. Rohan draws out credible performances from Priyanka, Riteish, and cool customer Abhiskek, although I guess you could argue that Mr. Bachchan could've been less cool and more emotionally present. Not that he sucked, mind you. And then there's Nana Patekar, who steals all the scenes as the narcissistic villain of the piece.
BLUFFMASTER! isn't deep or bite-your-knuckles intense. There are guns and gangsters involved but you don't feel that anyone falls in serious jeopardy. This movie is an entertaining diversion, something to pleasantly while away two hours plus some minutes (this is actually short for a Bollywood flick). And the ending is different. BLUFFMASTER! earns 3.5 out of 5 stars from me. But what I really want to know is: why was Aishwarya Rai dropped from this film?