Reviews

The Shaukeens: When a cameo takes over the film

Akshay Kumar in The Shaukeens

Akshay Kumar in The Shaukeens   | Photo Credit: GRJGM

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Akshay Kumar has been in many comedies but hasn’t really had as much fun. We have seen actors steal scenes away from stars many times before, but The Shaukeens is the ultimate star’s revenge. Where the star beats actors at their own game.Akshay casts himself in a role where he’s playing a version of himself (one who supposedly cannot act, craves for a National award and willingly subjects himself to torture from an eccentric abusive Bengali art filmmaker) and steals the thunder away from bona fide veteran actors Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra by taking sporting digs at himself and proving that his comic timing is the very best.

Think Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder. While Stiller played a fictitious movie star, Akshay insists he’s playing himself. And this just makes it all the more funny because it sets up some extremely irreverent gags — like projecting himself as an alcoholic, typecast non-actor who just knows to get on and off helicopters for the camera. And there’s a fantastic Subrat Dutta as the Bengali arthouse director constantly taunting, abusing and heaping insults on him — all of which Akshay takes on like a sport.

This is an extended cameo, just a sub-plot but this dose of refreshing madness and irreverence is what makes a senior citizens' version of Masti (let’s forget they are tampering with Shaukeen) quite watchable.



Genre: Comedy
Director: Abhishek Sharma
Cast: Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor, Piyush Mishra, Lisa Haydon and Akshay Kumar
Storyline: Three repressed lecherous old men head to Mauritius to fall for the same girl who is obsessed with Akshay Kumar
Bottomline: Watch this one for Akshay – the coolest thing he has done in a while


Also in on the joke is leading lady Lisa Haydon who, as stunning as she is, finds acting a daunting task. So, the makers make her a caricature of being a Facebook-‘Like’ obsessed nut-job (and these are the parts that work really well and guarantee Lisa a future of being typecast in airhead roles, foreigner of course) and the jokes soon are about how she can’t act.

Not that Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor or Piyush Mishra don’t make most of the opportunity to be leading men but then, old men acting lecherous scene after scene and trying to score with the girl young enough to be their daughter (if not granddaughter) isn’t much of a graph. Overnight, they realise they were being creepy and perverted because the film needs an ending.

While the main plot is a bit of a downer, the unexpected laughs from Akshay Kumar more than make it worth your time. This is a sub-plot that deserves a stand-alone film.

Not many superstars have laughed at themselves on screen as much as Akshay Kumar has in The Shaukeens. And none of them have been as self-deprecatory. He may not win a National award yet, but this act surely will win him more fans.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 7:52:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/the-shaukeens-review-when-a-cameo-takes-over-the-film/article6578195.ece

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