3 years

probability not

Teen Patti

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Rating
1
/5
The mathematical mumbo jumbo, never mind the big stars, means this is one big bluff.
CAST Amitabh Bachchan, Ben Kingsley, R Madhavan, Saira Mohan, Raima Sen | DIRECTOR Leena Yadav

The mathematical mumbo jumbo, never mind the big stars, means this is one big bluff.

The mathematical mumbo jumbo, never mind the big stars, means this is one big bluff.

The mathematical mumbo jumbo, never mind the big stars, means this is one big bluff.

The mathematical mumbo jumbo, never mind the big stars, means this is one big bluff.

When Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov published his modern axiomatic foundations of probability theory in 1933, he was just 30. When Professor Venkat Subramaniam (Amitabh) presents his paper on ‘probability’ he is on the verge of retirement, not a great age for a mathematician.

Maybe this is why his daft idea of applying the theory, or variations thereof, to ‘teen patti’ cannot work. The theory of probability says that with any lottery, one way you can better your chances of winning is by simply buying more tickets. But in teen patti, a game where you place your three cards and your money on the table, the winner takes all. So, statistically, you actually better your chances of losing the more often you play!

It is a voodoo application of ‘probability’, but throughout Teen Patti, there is much discussion amongst the students and the young lecturer (R Madhavan) at the university that Subramaniam teaches, suggesting that the man’s genius will never be acknowledged by his peers in India. So they decide to give him a helping hand by testing out his theory themselves at a number of seedy teen patti dens, chock-a-block with gangsters, molls and half-naked dancing girls.

Teen Patti is a film based on the notion that you can always get away with an idiotic movie idea since most people won’t question the premise of an academic theory. By adding special effects, floating equations and theorems across the screen, and introducing a distinguished Cambridge mathematician (Ben Kingsley) who hands Subramaniam the Isaac Newton prize for Applied Mathematics, the director expects immunity from the absurdity of her plot.

It won’t be granted, because Teen Patti doesn’t present a single demonstration of how the theory works. All you see are the winning cards, the wild celebration of the victor and the ambient girls getting more and more risqué in attitude and hemlines... now hemlines, that’s where ‘probability’ might just work. Dresses (Raima Sen and Saira Mohan’s) do get shorter as bets get larger. It’s axiomatic, a proposition that is measurable and, therefore, provable. Get a tape measure.