wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
Slapsticky elements completely overshadow the promise in characterization. The willingness to experiment with plot is marred by the inexplicable need to bollywoodize the details.Read more
How ironic. A movie that makes a comment on the prevalent systems in the Hindi film industry gives us a complete dose of slapstick, clichés, glaring loopholes, songs that don't belong and the works. And this is despite making a few smart and snide remarks. It talks indirectly about audience's taste in films being dictated by the star of the day. About how a non-actor can reign "Bollywood". It talks about the way things work in the industry. That it takes a lot of struggle to make it big. That goodness or ingenuity is not necessarily awarded. But then there are unbelievable events like the entire population of a rundown building lends miraculous support to the protagonist. Or the lead lady who's a successful actress has no say in decisions regarding her personal life. Are these formula sub-plots a comment on commercial cinema or are they gaps in the script - we'll never know. Or is "bollywood" their excuse for making one patchy film?
And despite these flaws there are some very interesting plot twists in the film. The kind that put the characters in dilemmas and conflicts that require extreme steps to be resolved. Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna) reaches a point where a decision that is pretty much out of his control is forced upon him. When he's not ready. A decision that pretty much makes it 'love of his life' vs. 'his career'. Manasi (Amrita Rao) faces two extreme types of people in her life. People who want to take every advantage of her affluent position and people who can't bare the thought of doing that. She is a good girl and yet she makes an extremely selfish move.
All facets of the film industry which might also reflect on any other community are touched upon. From the naturally malicious to the converted cruel people. And then there are well-meaning people who try to play mentor but first take care of themselves. Such is life. And Short Kut captures it well.
The lead actors do a decent job of portraying their characters too. Akshaye Khanna comes across as the righteous and egoistic, male chauvinist that Shekhar is. So far I've seen Amrita Rao play non-glam roles. Seeing her skimpy clothes feels like seeing a child grow into a woman. Two old men lech at her offended me. But she came across as someone who can take care of herself. Exactly like Manasi.
Arshad Warsi is the exact amount of annoying in his portrayal as the shallow, uncouth b@$!@&*. I could have easily done without the parts where he gets too loud to be tolerable. Which reminds me of the unique sense of humor one needs to see Chunkey Pandey cast as an acting Guru! The rest of the side characters are best left alone. They are too garish and caricatured to be funny. They in fact make the film seem much longer than it actually is.
Also the film drags quite a bit. Had the slapstick and drama been left out it would have been very good riddance to bad rubbish. And it would have saved a lot of stock, money, and time of both the makers and the audience. Imagine the man-hours that will be spent in watching all the extra ugly frills.
For some the best short cut would be to skip the film. For others who care for interesting conflicts and characters might want to give it a shot. But a forward button might come in handy when the not-so-interesting parts come. They do come a bit too often.
- meeta, a part of the audience
So-So, by Deepa Giramella, fullhyd.com : ...It is a pretty grim tale for most of the time, with some truly brilliant moments coming in towards the end, and some mundane moments made brilliant by Akshaye Khanna.... full review
Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...For a film industry that congratulates itself on making “musicals,” how have we gotten to a point where song sequences are so excruciating to endure?... full review
Thumbs down, by Roshni Mulchandani, Bolly Spice : ...Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! If Bollywood continues to jut out more films which are just plain ridiculous, they are seriously going to land up losing a big chunk of their loyal audience.... full review
Thumbs down, by Daliya Ghose, Bollywood Mantra : ... shortkut‘Gandhi My Father’ by Anil Kapoor was critically acclaimed but his second production ‘Shortkut-The con is on’ falls flat. The film failed to impress the audience. Anil has signed Neeraj Vohra for direction and Aneez Bazmee for scriptwriting but none of the them could show their expertise. The story idea was not bad but failed to include the necessary elements of intensity and interest. Shortkut is inspired from Hollywood films, Big Fat Liar (2002) and Bowfinger (1999) and Malayalam film blockbuster Udayananu Tharam starring Mohanlal. The script was a readymade one and the actors were also quite experienced but the makers failed to make good use of any of them. The result is that it turns out to be a big disaster. The story speaks about two man and both are strugglers. One is a struggling scriptwriter Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna) and the other is a struggling actor Raju (Arshad Warsi). Shekhar lives in a chawl in Mumbai and in love with Mansi (Amrita Rao) who is an actress. Shekhar’s personal and professional life turns hell when Raju comes to his life. If Shekhar believes in hard work to reach to the top then Raju is just the opposite, he always use short cuts to achieve his goal. When two different set of minds live under the same shelter then chaos is bound to occur. Similar is the case of Shekhar and Raju. Since Raju is also a struggler and searching for shelter in Mumbai, Shekhar helped him out and allowed him to share his roof. As Shekhar doesn’t know that Raju is not at all trustworthy, he landed his full support to him but dishonest Raju backstabbed Shekhar, stolen his script and sold it to his producer Tolani (Tiku Talsania) who promised him a good film instead of a good script. It was a big blow for Shekhar when he came to know that the man whom he gave shelter has done the calamity for him. He vomited all his frustration on his wife Mansi whom Shekhar married against the wish of their parents. Shekhar makes Mansi’s life nothing more than a hell and irritated Mansi leaves Shekhar. Opportunity knocked Shekhar’s door to take revenge on Raju whose film turned out to be a big blockbuster and he became a star overnight. Shekhar signed the same director and asked him to cast Raju again. When the film released Raju was shocked to see that instead of him some other extra grabbed the limelight. In this way Shekhar not only took revenge on Raju but also gets back Mansi. Speaking about performances, Amrita performed well and gets a chance for skin show and also to get into glamorous outfits. Arshad Warsi as we all know is fine in humor but this time he slightly disappointed his audience. Akshaye Khanna’s loud dialogue delivery sometimes irritates the audience. Director Neeraj Vohra who directed Phir Hera Pheri had poorly handled the script this time and scriptwriter Aneez Bazmee also left enough loopholes in the script. On the whole, Anil Kapoor’s Shortkut did not fare well. Audience won’t get satisfaction on watching the film as it has no life and feel. It’s a pale script with no thrill. Even Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt’s cameo could not save Shortkut from drowning. We can say a major disappointment from Anil Kapoor’s home production. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Minty Tejpal, Mumbai Mirror : ...Just to remind us that Anil Kapoor is the producer of the film, he and Sanjay Dutt appear in a song sequence, Mareez-e-mohabbat, which is supremely dull.... full review
Thumbs down, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...the only character that leaves a smile on your face while bearing a striking similarity to Paresh Rawal's Baburao Ganpatrao Apte, is that of Haider Ali.... full review
Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...Where are the satirical jibes at the workings of the Indian film industry that would have elevated the comedy into more than what it finally is?... full review
Thumbs down, by Gohar Iqbal Punn, Radio Sargam : ...First half of the movie is nevertheless appealing and gets you glued to the screen but the post interval portion is what makes you simply bored.... full review
Thumbs down, by The ThirdMan, Upper Stall : ...The regional films boasted of fine performances by Mohanlal and Srinivasan in the Malayalam version and Prithviraj in the Tamil version but here, not one performance is effective, Akshaye Khanna included. ... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna) is a struggling writer-director, Raju (Arshad Warsi) a struggling actor and Mansi (Amrita Rao) an establishe actress in "Bollywood". And bollywood is filled with nice, not-so-nice and outright mean people. Their interaction with each other and their relationships is what the film is about.