Kaizad Gustad, who wowed moviegoers with BOMBAY BOYS, but got it all wrong with BOOM, returns to tell a story after a hiatus. Is his new endeavour, JACKPOT, sharp and intelligent like his first film?
JACKPOT is a thriller with comic one-liners and crazy characters, set entirely in Goa against the backdrop of casino boats. An amateur gang of young Goan con artists plan the perfect con -- no nuksaan, no pareshan. However, it doesn't take long for them to discover that a reverse con has been played back on them...
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.
Sachiin certainly manages to pull off a more convincing job as an actor this time. Sunny also shows a marked improvement in her performance. Naseeruddin Shah is, as always, tremendous. Makrand Deshpande does a stellar job of playing the laidback cop, getting the local dialect right. Bharath, who has a humber of South Indian films to his credit, makes his Hindi debut with JACKPOT. He's first-rate.
On the whole, JACKPOT proves to be an interesting watch with a sharp and clever second half.