No matter where a film is written and produced, the most popular genres tend to touch on the same topics but from new perspectives. In the west, some of the most common and celebrated forms of action-adventure and drama movies draw on the setting and intrigue of casino life.
Series like Ocean’s 11 have highlighted the high-risk antics that pair well with Vegas-sized drama, while other projects like 21 have highlighted the lesser-known aspects of games like blackjack by exploring card counting teams.
Despite the fact that most gamers worldwide have shifted toward digital platforms for convenience and competitive deals, the brick-and-mortar casino is an ingrained part of pop culture. In fact, even films that cover online gaming in the action-adventure genre include at least one or two highly produced scenes in a live establishment.
But Hollywood doesn’t have a monopoly on quality casino productions. In fact, Bollywood has been creating films that touch on gaming life for decades. One of the first projects, Gambler, was released back in 1971. Keep reading for some of the best Bollywood casino projects to be released since then.
The Casino (TV Series, 2020)
This Zee5 original covers the life of a reluctant casino heir in Nepal. Originally launched as web series, The Casino has elements that will entice any fan of the thriller genre. The series covers casino life from a perspective of intrigue, power, and deception that revolves around one family’s claim to a successful business.
Teen Patti (2010)
While the west may be focused on poker and blackjack, teen patti is one of the most popular and ubiquitous table games in India. As such, this Hinuja Ventures and Serendipity Films project covers the card game from the perspective of a mathematics professor played by Amitabh Bachchan.
As he attempts to write a thesis on probabilities within teen patti, he finds a formula that could have far-reaching effects. The professor travels to London where he applies this new formula in a casino to great success—but for him, it’s not about making money. It’s about pure mathematics.
While Teen Patti explores card games from both a mathematical and adventure perspective, Striker explores one young man’s journey to use the game carrom to improve his life. The film features heart-wrenching scenes that tap into the human experience of hope and perseverance as the main character looks to topple his enemies through his skills in carrom… and a little dash of luck.
Additionally, Striker was one of the first Indian movie releases to be broadcast on YouTube simultaneous with its domestic theatre release. While this has since become a popular way for studios to increase the reach of their international releases, Striker marked one of the first successes for Bollywood on YouTube.
The Great Gambler (1979)
Though sometimes confused with 1971’s Gambler (the oldest of all Bollywood casino projects), The Great Gambler tackled the industry from a new angle. In the Amarjeet production of Gambler, the main character has to tackle an underground ring, while The Great Gambler took a much more extravagant and ambition approach.
Once again, Amitabh Bachchan leads the production as an expert gambler that gets involved with a secretive government operation. The film was a box-office failure despite being based on a popular novel from Bikramaditya, Great Gambler. However, it’s since become a cult hit for a variety of reasons.
Not only is the story gripping with several twists, but the acting is also top notch. The film was also one of the first Bollywood projects to be shot internationally, including scenes from Egypt, Portugal, and Italy. The project was directed by Shakti Samanta, who has received several commendations for his work directing the action and cinematography.