Shortcut Movie Review
Life comes crashing down for struggling writer Akshaye Khanna, when an aspiring actor manages to steal his script. Luckily for the over smart, non-actor (played by Arshad Warsi) his film clicks and he becomes an overnight star. Now the hard-on-luck writer decides to get even and make a film with the same actor – who obviously doesn’t want anything to do with the former. This clash pretty much forms the premise for this week’s new release Shortkut-The Con Is On.
Arguably when you set a film inside Bollywood, there is enough scope for humour. Something explored beautifully in Rangeela and Luck By Chance. Shortkut unfortunately presents a far from convincing picture of the movie business. Most of the characters and situations end up looking over-the-top and caricaturish. Were this movie a brainless spoof, it might still have worked. Sadly Shortkut pretends to be a straight-out-of-life situational comedy.
The tone keeps switching between the Rajkumar Hirani style of feel good humour and David Dhawan’s slapstick formula. Had writer Anees Bazmee directed this, perhaps the result would have been funnier. Heavily inspired by Aziz Mirza and his Nukkad fixation, Shortkut also crams in a dozen odd extras in every frame. And they all play your stereotypical kindhearted souls, representing India’s unity in diversity. Also why does every other extra in the film suffer from a speech disorder?
If the setting is flawed, the humour is stale. Despite the writing credentials of Neeraj Vora and Anees Bazmee, it’s surprising how the duo fail to come up their usual side splitting lines. Whenever you manage to laugh it’s only because of Akshaye and Arshad’s timing. Their good guy-bad guy tuning has shades of Anil-Jackie from the eighties.
Especially Warsi who beyond a point goes on his own trip mouthing what are clearly on the sets, improvised lines. Arshad has always been a master at playing the overconfident, smooth talking liar. Akshaye’s comic run is regularly interrupted by his character’s melodramatic outbursts. In fact everyone in this film shouts and screeches to ear blasting levels. It’s like enduring a bad Priyadarshan film minus Paresh Rawal. Chunkey Pandey is a surprise as the acting guru-turned-star secretary. In a rare role for the actor where he doesn’t have to showcase any exaggerated mannerisms, Chunkey manages to keep it subtle.
And then there is Amrita Rao who shows skin and a little more skin. To her credit she oozes lot of sex appeal but seems out of place in the film. Her micro minis and strapless gowns are more like distractions…in some cases welcome distractions from the drab proceedings. Amrita’s character is an extension of Urmila from Rangeela and Mast. But her role keeps oscillating between playing a love-struck teenager and a superstar. And her romantic track with Akshaye lacks consistency.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s melodious music too is wasted over predictable song situations. On the whole Shortkut lacks the wit and energy one expected after watching the rushes. Given the talented team, this one’s a lost opportunity.
Verdict: Khanna and Warsi try hard to pump some life into the lifeless screenplay. But a weak script and dull direction mar the potential of an interesting plot.