Review: BLUFFMASTER (2005) Is One Of Bollywood’s Best Con Movies

Published by Shah Shahid on

Bluffmaster is a Bollywood con movie that entertains from start to finish. “Duniya ek samundar hai, aur hum sab is mein machli.” (The world is a big ocean, and we’re all fishes in it.) The words and the philosophy of our hero, Roy. Roy is a con man, sham artist, matchstick man, flim-flam man, and so on. But in this film, the title bestowed upon him is that of Bluffmaster.

Bollywood’s Bluffmaster Is By Two Sons Of Legendary Artists

For the second time in a row, Abhishek Bachchan plays a con artist swindling people of their money. And doing it with a certain charm that would make Dean Martin himself raise a glass in praise. After the masala hit Bunty Aur Babli, Bachchan is in a cool and surprisingly romantic film this time. One that doesn’t try too hard to be romantic. The story turns out to be about life and priorities under a tight veil of deception.

Rohan Sippy is the son of legendary filmmaker Ramesh Sippy (Sholay). Rohan Sippy, teams up with Abhishek Bachchan, son of legendary Amitabh Bachchan (Sholay). Together they’re recreating the same magic as their fathers from more than 30 years ago.

Is Bluffmaster The Bollywood Remake Of A Hollywood Movie?

Now, full disclosure: Bluffmaster is eerily like Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men. The film really isn’t a remake, not enough to be on my Split Screen Podcast of course, but the similarities are there. Bluffmaster definitely looks like its inspiration came from Matchstick Men. The premise and plot is similar, but the approach to storytelling is not the same.

The Soundtrack Of Bluffmaster Is Worth The Watch Alone

I rarely comment on the soundtrack of a film in its movie review. But for Bluffmaster, it’s more than deserving of a mention. This is one of the few times that an album for a Bollywood movie is an actual soundtrack. As in, compositions of existing music worked into the movie to give it a universal vibe. The soundtrack features artists from the Middle East, UK and composers from Bollywood. The Bluffmaster soundtrack has a mix of tracks that enhance the film a lot more than without. The diversity of the soundtrack is unique and unlike the formulaic Bollywood movie.

2005 Is Abhishek Bachchan’s Year

After a year of hits, Abhishek Bachchan brings us the hilariously intelligent Bluffmaster. Portraying a man whose professional career is to con people. The talent shown by Bachchan in only 6 short years since his debut is remarkable. He plays a character who, despite his deceitful ways, is still pretty reserved and somber. It’s very different than that of his Bunty Aur Babli persona. 

Bachchan’s Roy is at the end of his professional rope. He just wants to settle down with the love of his life, Simmi (Priyanka Chopra). But his plans take a turn for the worst after she finds out about his dishonest ways. Bachchan then switches gears to the unrelenting lover trying to win back the woman he loves. Being a quiet and reserved character, Bachchan pulls off Roy with a certain charm and suave.

Roy’s appeal never intersects with his looks or other superficial attributes. But rather has a quiet sophistication. Bachchan’s performance in Bluffmaster is extremely restraint compared to his other roles. And in a way that actually works with the rest of the story where every other character is loud and brash.

The Chemistry Of Bluffmaster Lies In Its Casting

The unusual pairing of Chopra and Bachchan would seem odd on paper, but it actually works here. The pair’s on-screen chemistry seems surprisingly natural. Especially as their love-hate relationship sets of most of the premise of the film. At first look, Bluffmaster wouldn’t seem like a romantic film, but it turns out to be just that. And quite a sweet one at that. 

After a handful of films in the coming year, Chopra seems to be maturing in her acting capabilities. Chopra impressed me with her negative turn in Aitraaz, a damsel in distress in Karam and then the super hit Waqt. She gives a very genuine performance in Bluffmaster. Chopra is excellent as a woman who learns of her fiancee’s betrayal. It’s not a role that reinvents the wheel, but it’s impressive nonetheless. The on-screen bickering and fights between Roy and Simmi reveal a lot of the love they have for each other. Which is a credit to the writing as much as the performances.

Ritesh Deshmukh Shines In A Role Without Any Ego Or Arrogance

Another unusual pairing that worked is that of Bachchan with Ritesh Deshmukh. Deshmukh is once again in a light-hearted comic role. This time as the naïve and gullible young Dittu who’s an amateur in the world of flim-flam. Eager and wanting to learn, Dittu enlists the teaching of a master in the business, Roy. Roy’s annoyance with Dittu at first causes him to refuse. But circumstances make it so that he finds in it his best interests to tutor Dittu in the ways of the con. 

Deshmukh’s experience in past films such as Masti and Kya Kool Hai Hum prepares him for this over the top role. The contrast between Roy and Ditty makes Deshmukh’s performance more funny than annoying. Roy’s annoyance at Dittu following him like a puppy dog makes for a good buddy comedy factor in Bluffmaster. The comedic timing and chemistry between the two make for great bits in the film. 

Bluffmaster’s Unconventional Casting Is Key For Its Comedy 

Another surprise element ends up being the current master of comedy Boman Irani. As the hypochondriac doctor, Irani’s Dr. Bhalerao gives his fair share of laughs. He continuously preaches the importance of enjoying life to the reluctant Roy. Nana Patekar is the quirky whale whom Dittu and Roy target as their next con. Patekar is just as good a comic actor as he is a dramatic one. Being incredibly flamboyant and highly amusing, Nana’s Chandru is just cruelly funny.

So far, Bluffmaster is a commercial hit overseas, but not so much in India. The movie in a lot of ways resembles a Hollywood production, in terms of style and storyline. Including the great performances by all involved. The soundtrack and background score do a lot more for this film than most movies. All in all, the film belongs to Bachchan. Bluffmaster is a fun and remarkable watch that I highly recommend. 

What did you think about Bluffmaster? Let me know in the comments below. 

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


APAHARAN – 2005 « Blank Page Beatdown · March 21, 2011 at 11:51 PM

[…] hit BHOOT and the critically successful AB TAK CHAPPAN and more recently the overseas hit BLUFFMASTER, Nana is back in the type of roles in which he excels the ones that are so brutally negative. This […]

APAHARAN - 2005 : Blank Page Beatdown · July 8, 2013 at 1:17 AM

[…] hit BHOOT and the critically successful AB TAK CHAPPAN and more recently the overseas hit BLUFFMASTER, Nana is back in the type of roles in which he excels the ones that are so brutally negative. This […]

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