Players is a 2012 Indian heist action thriller film directed by the duo Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla and jointly produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Burmawala Partners. The film features an ensemble cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Vinod Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor, Sikandar Kher and Omi Vaidya in the lead roles, while Aftab Shivdasani appears in a cameo. The theatrical trailer premiered on 3 November 2011, and the film was released on 6 January 2012. It is an official remake of the 2003 American film The Italian Job, which itself is a remake of the 1969 British film of the same name. Players employs the same plot as the 2003 version, while making the characters and incidents completely different.
The story follows a team of players, consisting of a con-man, an automobile expert who doubles up as a seductress, an illusionist, an explosives expert, an expert hacker and an actor turned prosthetic makeup artist, who plan to steal gold worth ₹100 billion (US$1.4 billion) from a moving train. During the robbery they are double crossed by members of their own team.
Players was named one of the most anticipated Bollywood films of 2012, as it received hype ever since it was announced to be a remake of The Italian Job, was made on a huge budget, had a multistar cast, was filmed in foreign locations as New Zealand, Russia and even the North Pole—which was a first for a Bollywood film— and was heavily promoted. Upon release the film received mixed reviews from critics. Many praised the action sequences and the performances of Neil Nitin Mukesh, Omi Vaidya, and Bipasha Basu, but also criticized the screenplay, length, pace, music, and Sonam Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan’s performances. It opened to a poor response at the box office, despite having a wide release. The shocking failure of the film led to many trade industry analysts reinstating the belief of a jinx in Bollywood that the first-released film of the year always fails at the box office, which happened to the films Halla Bol (2008), Chandni Chowk To China (2009), Pyaar Impossible! and Dulha Mil Gaya (2010).
Mastermind Charlie Mascarenhas (Abhishek Bachchan) and his accomplice Riya (Bipasha Basu) are one of the greatest pairs of thieves in India. Charlie’s friend, Raj (Aftab Shivdasani), is killed by the Russian mafia. At Raj’s funeral, his wife Shaila hands Charlie a CD containing information about the transfer of gold ingots by a train from Russia to Romania. Charlie decides to rob the train with the help of imprisoned Don and con-artist Victor Braganza (Vinod Khanna). They hire a team of criminals to join them in the robbery. The group includes Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh), a world-class hacker, an explosives expert Bilal Bashir (Sikander Kher), a prosthetic makeup artist Sunny (Omi Vaidya), and an illusionist Ronnie (Bobby Deol).
Before the heist, Victor’s daughter Naina (Sonam Kapoor) returns to India from Australia to receive Victor when he is released from prison. The group of players devise a plan to rob the Russian train in the sliest way possible. Spider hacks into a Russian satellite system and Ronnie uses his illusion to trick the soldiers guarding the gold while the rest of the team transfer the gold from the train. The robbery is executed successfully. Charlie calls Victor to inform him of the successful robbery, but Naina overhears the call and realizes Victor broke a promise to her to never return to his life of crime. While the players celebrate their success, Spider double crosses the gang and tries to flee with all of the gold. Spider is stopped by Ronnie, who is then shot multiple times by Spider’s assassins. The group are chased by the assassins as Ronnie and Riya are killed by Spider. Charlie, Bilal, and Sunny manage to escape after Spider blows up the location and flees with the gold. At the same time, Spider’s assassins break into the house and murder Victor. Naina decides to cut off all contact with Charlie. Over the course of a year, Charlie contacts various gold dealers to learn which one has the stolen gold that Spider escaped with.
In New Zealand, the gang locate a dealer who is in contact with Spider. Charlie explains to Naina that the gang only wanted to steal the gold so they could help achieve Victor’s dream of building a big orphanage. Naina understands and teams up with Charlie to exact revenge on Spider. In New Zealand, they discover that Riya is still alive and living there. She explains that she also wants revenge on Spider and provides the gang with the information about Spider’s residence. Unaware of her plans, Spider flirts with Naina and takes her to his villa. Spider finds a hidden camera in Naina’s dress and realises that she is working with Charlie, who breaks into Spider’s mansion in an armored truck to rescue her and tells Spider that he will steal all of the gold within 48 hours. Spider tries to move the gold to another country, but the gang, using three large trucks and by hacking into the traffic system, take the gold and hide it inside three Mini Coopers. Just as they are about to leave New Zealand, they are caught by Spider and discover that Riya was working with Spider all along.
Spider tries to force the gang to hand over the gold, but the trunks of the Mini Coopers are empty. Spider betrays Riya and threatens to kill her. Before Charlie can reveal the real location of the gold, Riya shoots herself and Spider stabs Charlie. Spider tries to escape, but Sunny and Bilal stop him and beat him up badly. Naina, who wants revenge for the death of Victor, shoots Spider thrice. It is then revealed that the real Mini Coopers containing the gold are elsewhere. As the four leave the scene, Spider makes a final call to the Russian mafia and tells them that Charlie has stolen Russian gold. The gang take the real Mini Coopers and leave for India, but the Mafia stop them to check the cars and once again they are found to be empty. It is then revealed that the Mini Coopers were made out of the actual gold itself. In the end, Bilal opens a car dealership business, Sunny becomes a theatre actor, Charlie and Naina open Victor’s dream orphanage and Charlie raises Ronnie’s daughter as his own.
Vinod Khanna as Victor Braganza
Abhishek Bachchan as Charlie Mascrenhas
Bipasha Basu as Riya Thapar
Sonam Kapoor as Naina Braganza
Bobby Deol as Ronnie Grewal
Neil Nitin Mukesh as Spider
Sikandar Kher as Bilal Basheer
Omi Vaidya as Sunny Mehra
Johnny Lever as MC/Mangal Chopra and BC/Budh Chopra
Vyacheslav Razbegaev as General
Sumit Sarkar as Commissioner of Police
Aftab Shivdasani as Raj (special appearance)
Shweta Bhardwaj as Shaila (special appearance)
Jo Holley as Head Cop
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