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The Shaukeens review: A fast food version of the original

The Shaukeens review: A fast food version of the original

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 7 November 2014

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Movie Title

The Shaukeens

Director

Abhishek Sharma

Star Cast

Akshay Kumar, Lisa Haydon, Rati Agnihotri, Annu Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Dimple Kapadia

If you've seen the original (Basu Chatterjee's 1982 Shaukeen), you'll barely be able to sit through this one.

You know the story...three old men nearing their 60s lust after girls less than half their age. They sit in parks with dark sunglasses eyeing them surreptitiously. But their desperation gets the better of them, when they try picking up girls on the street, mistaking them for prostitutes. Then they call an escort service, but the women don't want to entertain the old men.

Despite the humiliation, the men don't learn their lesson and decide to go abroad where "such things are legal". Their first idea of Bangkok earns them the ire of their families, and they then change the plan to Mauritius.

They check out a homestay option and check into the empty home of one Ahana (Lisa Haydon).

But as it turns out, Ahana's own plan is cancelled and she's back in her own house. The four become friends, and the ditzy woman has no idea about the amorous plans of the three senior citizens.

They try getting close to her, a touch there, a feel there, and she senses nothing amiss. But then, this is a character that's as much as a caricature as the other three. She's lives in a beach-facing home, despite an unsuccessful fashion designing business. We have no idea about her background, and her personality traits include attempting suicide (for real), because her ex-boyfriend has more Facebook 'likes' than she.

The men don't fare better. Let's start with their names - Laali (Kher), KD (Kapoor) and Pinky (Mishra). Each one is missing love and sex in their lives ? Laali's wife has turned to religion completely, Pinky's wife is no more, and KD is an over-the-hill bachelor. All three are written in a strait-jacketed manner with little nuance.

Laali is the family man-type with a shoe shop in Delhi's Connaught Place where he often feels up his female customers; Pinky is a grandfather with a spice business in Chandni Chowk; and KD is the risk-taker who truly believes women are interested in him.

There are some scenes that strike a chord - the one where the three try getting over their embarrassment at landing women, by eating Cassatta ice-cream on the roadside. Or the one where they ask a cop if he'll accept credit card for a bribe.

Otherwise, shots at humour often fall flat, which is unforgivable in a movie such as this. The three going to a strip club only to see a fat girl pole dancing is one such lame attempt.

Tigmanshu Dhulia (story, screenplay, dialogue) gives us dialogue that works only intermittently. The dialogue is often repetitive with Ahana going on and on about Facebook likes or Akshay Kumar who she is a big fan of, we're told.

The film takes a turn when the opportunity to get cozy with Ahana presents itself to the three ageing men. In their delusional minds, if they can give Ahana the gift of meeting Akshay Kumar (playing himself) who is in Mauritius for a shoot, she would be obliged to return the favour.

The fun moments in the film, ironically have NOTHING to do with the central story. In a parallel track, we see Akshay's superstar character struggling with doing the same 200 crore movies, while pursuing the dream of winning a National Award. He agrees to do an art film and his interactions with the nut-job director are simply hilarious. This parallel story is far more interesting than the central one, and it takes digs at everyone including industry people, and indeed, Akshay Kumar himself.

But sadly as this portion stretches on, you wonder if it's the same film you're watching, with zero connection with the main plot, this is just an indulgent exercise to get in some inside jokes on the industry.

The film takes on the central idea of the original, and has included some similar scenes like the beach one, but its execution has none of the charm of the original.

The film often shows us the stunning Lisa Haydon's well worked out body, but one wishes it had paid some attention to carving out an interesting character as well.

All the actors do fairly well, but their performances are nowhere close to their potential (especially the veterans, as seen in their other work).

The songs prove that the likes of Yo Yo Honey Singh write just about anything and it becomes a song. Here the finale song, 'I am an alcoholic' has to be heard to be believed.

In the end, director Abhishek Sharma (Tere Bin Laden) gives us a fast food version of what was a very charming and humorous film. Go for it if you have the stomach!

Rating: 2.5 stars

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