Akshay Kumar has done numerous comedy roles 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 vengeance. 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 eagerly subjects himself to torture from an unconventional 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.
Fortunately, director Abhishek Sharma paces up the movie much well by bringing in a lot more laughter on screen. While he picks just the one line plot of the movie, the narration of his version, The Shaukeens, is put together in a totally new set-up.
This means the movie comes straight to the point in first 10 minutes itself, unlike the Ashok Kumar - Utpal Dutt - A.K. Hangal affair that took more than 30 minutes before the pace picked up. Also, out goes the whole Mithun Chakraborty track that really contributed absolutely nothing to the original. Instead, a whole new track centered on Akshay Kumar is introduced which is truly relevant to the tale. Also, going with the present times, the friendship between Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra is not as sugar coated as the one from the era gone by. This is what makes The Shaukeens a lot more fascinating and appealing.
Luckily, it is free spirited Lisa Haydon who lights up the screen every time she appears. She has the way of making every scene her own each time around and while that was noticeable in Queen too, she does it all over again in The Shaukeens too. As an outgoing soul who lives by the spirit of being an 'Earth's child' (as she calls herself), she is really astonishing, bindaas and cheerful. What makes her and her characterization ultra special is the fact that beyond her body beautiful, it is her free flowing body language and realistic dialogue delivery that make her extraordinary.
In addition, what makes the movie even more ultra special is the 'most special appearance' of Akshay Kumar who is really the leader of the pack. He is truly fantastic while playing a superstar who is confused with the ongoing trend of 100-200 crore club when all that filmmakers are asking him to do is repeat his Khiladi stunts! His effort to make himself worthy enough of being an award winning actor is remarkable.
The climax scene is wrapped up pretty soon when a much more innovative culmination in a humorous tone would have kept the film's overall comical tone intact.
Nonetheless, what keeps The Shaukeens immensely entertained are the performances, dialogues, locations and most importantly, the pace. In fact the first half just goes by in a jiffy while the second half is made extraordinary due to Akshay Kumar. Lisa Haydon keeps the sparkle intact and Annu Kapoor leads the trio of old men with his punchy dialogues and a cool act. Anupam Kher lets his hair down too, though a little more spice in his characterization and mannerisms would have allowed him to cover a greater distance. Piyush Mishra brings on good laughter as an unqualified businessman who struggles to make his presence felt amidst his classy friends.
On the whole, The Shaukeens is worthy to watch once in terms of the humour quotient.