Jackpot (2013) *HQ*

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Goa forms the backdrop for this who-gets-the-moolah caper. Francis (Joshi) packs in the muscle and has a can of beer always close at hand. He is also street-smart enough to impress Maya (Leone), the oomphy voice of reason in the movie. Boss Man (Naseeruddin) is a veteran raver whose clothes are as colourful as his principles and punchlines. Slow in speech but quick to draw a six-shooter, he owns the Jackpot casino.

Boss, Francis and Maya hatch a plan to steal crores of cash. And while the deed itself is executed decently enough, the subsequent sub-plots and implications of intrigue amongst the schemers is laid on with the predictability and subtlety of a bull in a china shop.

Completely in character, Boss looks and sounds like a parody of a villain. While it’s clearly understood that he is the owner of a floating casino, his lines flog every possible gambling pun to death. After a point, you can almost predict what the next one-liner will be. Francis and his other muscle-bound cronies often get into squabbles whenever some suspicion of duplicity arises amongst them.

And those expecting anything even close to a Sunny Leone steam-fest will be disappointed. In fact, she raps the knuckles of the local lads, scolding them if they dare lay their gaze on her bursting-at-the-buttons bosom. “My eyes are up here, not down there!” she reminds one local lad. She is also given lines like “Sarkar aur underworld mein kya farak hai?”

Similarly, Francis, who later in the movie reminds her that “Hum log artist hai – con artist!” and Boss, who reasons out that in his line of work, “Risky is like whisky”. Makarand Deshpande’s kooky cop character is genuinely funny, but corny lines aside, one of Jackpot’s few redeeming factors here is that it moves along quickly.

JACKPOT starts off with a title track that seems highly inspired from the opening credits of a Bond film… also reminiscent of the one in SHAAN. Soon thereafter, we are introduced to the characters, with multiple subplots adding to the mystery… and confusion. Kaizad doesn’t spill the beans at the outset and the non-linear depiction of happenings that constantly switch back and forth leave you confused, making you wonder, what’s Kaizad up to? Actually, with multiple cons being played simultaneously, the viewer is at a loss when trying to figure out what the original con was.

However, Kaizad links the uneven subplots wonderfully in the second half. With a run time of approx 1.40 hours, the post-interval portions move feverishly and the unanswered questions get an answer. The writing is smart, the pacing is just right, the twists and turns in the narrative are sharp and the culmination catches you completely unaware. Kaizad serves an intelligent thriller, while the DoP does justice to his vision, capturing the lush green spots, grey skies and the downpour with precision. The background score too gives the film an edge.

Kaizad also integrates the songs smartly in the narrative and the romantic track filmed on Sachiin and Sunny, ‘Kabhi Jo Baadal Barse’, stays in your memory. Having said that, the romantic scenes between the lead pair aren’t too convincing. Also, the pacing in the first half is quite erratic.

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