Shortkut: The Con is On

Setting a film inside the world of Bollywood has been done before, and very brilliantly in movies like Rangeela, Luck By Chance and Om Shanti Om (and I'm sure there are others I haven't seen). The opportunity for humor is arguably there, so you'd hope that writer Anees Bazmee and director Neeraj Vora would take full advantage of the acting talent they have and come out with either a satirical or situational take on the industry. Unfortunately, what we end up getting is a muddled mixture of both, with a few jokes here and there, but the movie doesn't quite reach it's potential despite a promising storyline.

Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna) is a hard working and talented assistant director, who is all set to make his own film. Life seems to be going his way. He's married famous actress Mansi (Amrita Rao), he's finished writing his first script, he's even sold it to a reputable producer, signing bonus and everything. Enter Raju (Arshad Warsi), the very definition of "non-actor", who wants to be famous despite the fact that he can't act. His biggest obstacle though is that he seems to be blacklisted in the community. Kya karoon? No sweat. He simply steals a copy of Shekhar’s script and gives it to a producer who is willing to cast him as the hero. The film is a superhit and before you can blink an eye, Raju becomes superstar "King Kumar" with five hits to his credit! How? We don't get to know. It just is. Most likely Raju has gotten very crafty at steeling scripts.

*mini spoiler* In the mean time, poor Shekhar, overcome by depression, decides to leave his dreams of filmmaking in the dust, gets a job at a catering company and, when his wife says she wants to help pay bills, goes into a drunken fit of dejection. Who wants to live with that? Not Mansi. *spoiler over*

Will Shekhar ever get his life in order? Will he get his revenge on Raju? Will Raju ever learn to dance?

There were things about this film that I liked. Namely the acting. Though a little typecast, Arshad has always been a master at playing the overconfident, smooth talking liar, which is probably why we see variations of this role come his way often. As Raju, he is the exact amount of annoying in his portrayal as the shallow, uncouth ass, and it's his performance that holds the plot together. The only thing I didn't quite understand, and this is due mainly to the script more so than Arshad's acting, was why the heck he was so hell bent on destroying Shekhar. Hadn't he already done his damage, especially since there was nothing really to reciprocate on his end? As I reflect on Arshad Week, I realize I've seen more of his movies than I thought, and one thing I remember about many of those films is that he always sticks out to me. There's just something about him that makes me sit up and take notice, and look forward to seeing much more of his work.

I am not a fan of Akshaye Khanna. I pretty much hated him in Race and was indifferent in DCH, but, despite all the eureka yelling moments, I actually kind of dug him in this. He was likable through most of the film. That is, you really wanted to him catch his break and make it, even when he was exercising his right to be an ego maniacal male. The sole reason for Amrita Rao’s presence is pretty much just to add a touch of glamor, and she glams it up just right in my opinion. However, the romantic angle isn't required, and the film often lags during the scenes between Shekhar and Mansi. I think the film could have benefited had it been purely about the power struggle between our two male leads.

There were lots of things I liked about Shortkut. There were some truly funny moments like Raju disguising himself to meet a noted producer (and is it just me or did he not look a little like Robert De Niro?), or when Raju has problems getting even one line right so Shekhar has an assistant squat beside him reading his dialogue to him. I also liked the climax (though immediately it felt almost like a carbon copy of Frank Oz's Bowfinger). This movie also has one of my current favorite tracks, Kyun Hota Hai Dil Deewana, which I loved before I saw this and then loved even more after watching it in the film. In 3 and half minutes we get to see Arshad in all his comic glory, with a little bit of sexy thrown in from both him (yes I said it) and Amrita. LOVE IT!

The music in it's entirety is done by house favorites SEL, but not all the tracks are as ipod worthy as Kyun Hota Hai. I think Mareez E Mohabbat, at least in the chorus, is pretty catchy, but can someone please tell me why Anil felt the need to showcase himself and Sanjay in the picturization? Despite being sung my another house fav Sonu Nigam, the worst song of the bunch with the most ridiculous lyrics (sorry Javed Akhtar) is the nauseating Kal Nau Baje.

So, overall, probably not the best movie to feature for Arshad Week, but it's all I had. And as I type the finishing touches up my husband has walked through the door with Ishqiya! I CAN NOT WAIT!

9 Response to "Shortkut: The Con is On"

  1. ajnabi says:
    March 26, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    It looks like fun, anyway. Can't wait to hear if you join the Ishqiya Pyaar!

  2. Filmi Girl says:
    March 26, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    I have this to watch... if only it was all like that song. Which was GENIUS! ;D

  3. bollywooddeewana says:
    March 26, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    i like the kyun hota hai deewana song a lot too, it made it onto my favourite songs of 2009 list

  4. dink213 says:
    March 27, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    Got ishqiya and a ton more by mail yesterday. Can't wait to see it either.Thank God for easter vacation, have few other plans than enjoying Bollywood for a week.

  5. Shell says:
    March 27, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    ajnabi - it is a decent time pass film. I'm hoping to watch Ishqiya this weekend and I just know the pyaar will be much!!!

    Filmigirl - I can't wait to read your take on it. Really the song was probably my favorite part. Arshad was just perfection in every bit of it!

  6. Shell says:
    March 27, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    bollywooddeewana - It is such a great song! Have you seen the movie though? I can't remember if I visited that post, but a best of 2009 is good for several revisits!

    dink213 - Yay! Don't you love getting filmimail! Hope you have a fantastic movie filled week!!!

  7. Reema says:
    March 27, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Didn't like this one at all. I was expecting a great comedy throughout, and I got a little bit of comedy and a whole lotta drama. Boo.

    Loved Arshad and Amrita in it though. Amrita's so gorgeous. I'm jealous. :P

  8. Anishok says:
    March 27, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Hmmm, don't know if I want to watch this despite my Arshad fangirlism (which has reached ridiculous heights lately).

    But the song and the picturization of Kyun Hota Hai are awesome!

  9. Shell says:
    March 28, 2010 at 8:44 AM

    Reema - It certainly had a lot more drama than I was expecting, that's for sure. Amrita defin was much more glam than I've seen her in other movies too.

    Ani - Compared to what I imagine Ishqiya is (in terms of quality Arshad), this could disappoint. He does have the best moments in the film though.