Short Kut – The Con Is On was not a bad film to begin with. It was probably a terrific idea for a comedy of misguided zeal. A hammy actor Arshad Warsi who steals a struggling scriptwriter Akshaye Khanna’s zabardast plot and becomes a superstar. Wah kya brat hai!
So what we looking at here, finally? A tacky takeaway pizza with the toppings toppling over the edge into ambit of the abysmal . In the absence of motivated mirth, the comedy just plunges out of control navigated, as it is, entirely by the considerable comic capabilities of Arshad Warsi.
Warsi plays that nightmare of every entertainment industry. A….gulp , choke, splutter…. Ham!! Hamming doesn’t come naturally to Warsi. He can go effortlessly over the top. Here he must put a strain and a groan into what he does effortlessly. Not an easy thing to do, when everything in the film works against you, including the direction which seems to be done over the monitor without any outward or inward sign of any monitoring agency.
Short Kut – The Con Is On was probably an idea that got lost in translation. There are signs of sparkle that fizzle without the expected sizzle. Where we expect a torrent of laughter we get a drizzle of mild humour.
Some interludes are no doubt funny. When during shooting ‘superstar’ Arshad keeps messing up his lines, a cute assistant director finally rolls down by his feet and mumbles the lines in understudied sarcasm. Where are more such moments in this melee of misapprehended mirth? 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? A truncated travesty with very little to recommend except some tongue-in-cheek digs at the cult of megalomaniacal stardom.
The film seems to have been made at a cut-price budget. Posh hotel rooms are suggested with labels pinned on hastily to doors that probably belong to a lodge. The Thai outdoors come on towards the end in a breathless and quite absurd climax on top of a bridge where a starlet falls to her death with a thud louder than any that the comedy generates.
Short Kut – The Con Is On works neither as burlesque nor high-action. Ennui is often a poor replacement in the plot for episodic splendour. Arshad Warsi’s tongue-in-shriek performance as the cheesy superstar holds the plot together. But not long enough for us to forget Short Kut – The Con Is On is trying to be funny when the characters are far from comfortable in the zany zone that they never quite own. And what , pray tell, were Sanjay Dutt and Anil Kapoor doing in the tackiest item song I’ve seen since cinema invented dishy distractions to cover up for gross imperfections masquerading as cinema?
Short Kut – The Con Is On is a pure con job. They don’t even know how to spell ‘cut’ let alone cut the film into a shape that can be considered entertaining let alone enticing.