Basu Chatterjee’s 1982 film ‘Shaukeens’ is an unconventional film to remake because it wasn’t a big hit at its time nor did it attain cult status after that. So when Tigmanshu Dhulia and Abhishek Sharma update it into ‘The Shaukeens’, your interest gets piqued. However, having Akshay Kumar in all the publicity mentions of the film is doing the viewer a disservice since he doesn’t have a big role to play. How has the second 80s remake of the year (after Khoobsurat) has turned out. Let’s find out.
Story: Frustrated with their lives, 3 lecherous friends – Connaught Place shoe store owner Lali (Anupam Kher), social worker KD (Annu Kapoor) and Chawri Bazaar masala merchant Pinky (Piyush Mishra) – plan a trip to Mauritius to have some fun. There they rent the house of Ahana (Lisa Haydon) a bohemian fashion designer who is the biggest Akshay Kumar fangirl. The three friends decide to use her love for Akshay to somehow coax Ahana into doing gross and sexual things for them. Of course, everything doesn’t go as planned. In the midst of all this, Akshay is shown to be in Mauritius shooting a film and awaiting a Bengali director. Akshay is convinced that doing a film with him will get him a National Award.
The screenplay by Tigmanshu and Abhishek Sharma takes the basic essence of Shaukeen and throws it away – the harmless charm of three old men at the autumn of their lives looking for some harmless fun. In ‘The Shaukeens’, the three men have been portrayed as creatures from lecherous hell who cannot look at any attractive woman without conjuring up sexual fantasies in their minds. Their escapades to squeeze that fun from their lives is tiring and after a point it even makes you angry at look at. What saves the film is Akshay Kumar and his caricature of his own image. Shahrukh Khan has been making fun of his image in his last few films and Akshay joins the bandwagon of making fun of himself! The direction by Abhishek Sharma is ordinary but he does show flashes of brilliance (example – in the scene where Piyush Mishra demonstrates Ape evolution).
The technical aspects of ‘The Shaukeens’ is above average and helps in maintaining the tone of the film. The cinematography is aided by the gorgeous locales of Mauritius. The fashion designer has done a good job and Lisa Haydon’s character gets a new layer because of the clothes she wears and the clothes she is supposed to have designed in the film. The music of The Shaukeens is good for its genre with the songs Alcoholic and Manali Trance catching the viewer’s attention and ear buds.
‘The Shaukeens’ unlike the original doesn’t delve into acting as the three main actors have been set up as mainly one dimensional unlikable characters. Anupam Kher seems to be enjoying his Mauritius vacation and Piyush Mishra is good in a handful of scenes. These two are not in form in ‘The Shaukeens’. Annu Kapoor is the only member of the trio who seems to have done something significant with his role and gets the part of a tharki old aged Delhi guy nailed. Lisa Haydon tries her best and does a much better job at commercial Hindi cinema than her last outing in Rascals (Queen cannot be called fully commercial). Akshay steals the film whenever he is in it. He gets the role right. It is like Akshay Kumar plays the role of Akshay Kumar from another universe. And boy does he have fun with it!
‘The Shaukeens’ could have made for some harmless family viewing which would have shown the escapades of three old horny men. Maybe it is the sign of the times that it is impossible for us to make a film about charged up old men without the viewer feeling remorse and anger for the characters. If not for Akshay, this film would have been a washout. Watch it only for Akshay!
Box Office: The Shaukeens will take a decent opening at the box office thanks to the large release and it remains to be seen if it shows any growth through the weekend.
- Akshay Kumar and Annu Kapoor
- Costume Design
- Some Funny Gags
- Bad characterization
- Anupam Kher and Piyush Mishra are not in form
- Direction doesn’t work except for 1-2 scenes
- Misleading promotion