Shortcut Romeo Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

Just last week, FUKREY depicted the shortcuts the youth of today indulge in to accomplish their dreams and desires. SHORTCUT ROMEO also talks of the shortcut the male protagonist undertakes to lead a comfy life. The film, directed by Susi Ganesh, is a remake of the film-maker’s successful Tamil film THIRUTTU PAYALE.

Although a remake, Susi takes the essence and gives it a complete makeover. The scale is larger. Also, a few modifications have been made to cater to the pan-India audience. The plot orbits around blackmail and deceit and Susi makes sure the thriller is embellished with several edge-of-the-seat-moments to create an anxiety-crammed environ. Although the film has its share of blemishes [more on that later], one cannot overlook the fact that Susi knows the grammar of film-making right and makes an impressive debut in Hindi films.

Suraj [Neil Nitin Mukesh], a good for nothing youth, arrives from Goa to Mumbai. He chances upon a couple indulging in love making on the lawns of a golf course. He shoots the act and later learns that the lovers, Monica [Ameesha Patel] and Ashish [Bunty Grewal], wouldn’t mind shelling out a couple of lacs to keep their affair a secret from Monica’s husband [Rajesh Shringarpure].

Suraj starts blackmailing Monica, demanding money for the footage he has shot. Monica has no choice but to succumb to the blackmail. In the meanwhile, Suraj falls in love with Sherry [Puja Gupta] and has a change of heart. But Monica decides to get even with Suraj and a dangerous cat and mouse game ensues…

Almost 31 years ago, BEZUBAAN narrated the story of a housewife [Reena Roy] trying to keep an affair concealed from her husband [Shashi Kapoor] when a blackmailer [Naseeruddin Shah] comes knocking on her door. Although the plot of BEZUBAAN bears a striking resemblance to SHORTCUT ROMEO, the similarities end there. For, not just the blackmailer, but each and every character in the movie has grey shades. That’s one of the prime reasons why this cat and mouse saga seems fascinating.

Susi embellishes the film with several attention-grabbing moments. The characters of Neil and Ameesha, for instance, give the film the required edge. Additionally, Susi knows how to keep the audience attention arrested. The screenwriting never falls prey to the tried and tested formulaic stuff that Bollywood is known for. Even the conclusion leaves you completely shocked [it’s super!], since the spectator had never imagined the film would end on that note.

The film loosens its grip slightly at times. Besides, the drama leading to the climax could’ve been crisper. Also, the romantic portions are not as persuasive as the thrilling moments.

Susi is an accomplished storyteller, no two opinions on that. His handling of a complex subject deserves immense praise. Besides, he ensures that the film bears an affluent, striking look all through. Aiding him in giving the film a rich luster is the DoP, who captures the scenic locales of South Africa dexterously on celluloid. Himesh Reshammiya’s music gels well with the mood of the film. ‘Khali Salaam Dua’ is easily the pick of the lot. Action is, generally, okay, but the one in Masai Mara is top notch. Dialogue are a mixed bag.

Neil gets a solid part to display his talent and he grabs the opportunity with his hands. The actor, who left a strong impression in DAVID earlier this year, is superb, displaying the varied streaks in his character with flourish. This film could prove to be a game-changer in his career. Ameesha gets an equally challenging character and she’s in top form here. Also, she makes sure she doesn’t go over the top since that would make her look like a vamp, which she’s not. Puja Gupta, who displayed abundant confidence in GO GOA GONE, enacts her part with confidence, although the focus is on Neil and Ameesha chiefly.

Rajesh Shringarpure is efficient. Jatin Grewal is passable. Vrajesh Hirjee provides a few laughs in the sequence that he’s in. Errol Peter Marks, Ashutosh Kaushik and Meherzan Mazda are perfect as Neil’s friends. Susi Ganesh [plays the detective] is appropriate.

On the whole, SHORTCUT ROMEO is a well-made, stylish crime story with high-voltage drama as its highpoint. It may not boast of A-listers in its cast, but it has ample entertainment and edge-of-the-seat moments to offer. I suggest, give this one a chance!

Rating: Three Stars

  1. Author
    aryan 8 years ago

    Review by Subhash K.Jha

    Coolly crafted cat-and-mouse game

    There are two ways of doing a full-on masala film. You either turn it on its head and poke fun at ridiculous cinematic conventions. Or you treat the stereotypical characters and sacred cows of our cinema with full seriousness.
    “Shortcut Romeo” takes the midway route. It seems so full of the old-world formulistic flavour and the stench of the familiar that parts of the pulsating aggressive storytelling actually feel like a spoof.

    So, we have the film`s unfaithful wife Monica (Ameesha Patel) and her slimy lover (Jatin Garewal) making out in a golf turf and it is beyond logical explanation why an affluent couple, who could afford the poshest of duplex to meet, would choose such a spot.

    And then the lover tells the unfaithful wife, “First time when you do it (cheat in a marriage) you feel bad. Then it becomes your style.”

    Er, how stylish! Come again?

    But please don`t laugh. First-time Hindi director Susi Ganesan is dead serious. The film shot at the speed of sound is filled with bizarre twists and turns. It`s basically the story of a woman who cheats on a saintly tycoon of a husband (effectively played by Rajesh Shringapure) who has a massive portrait of Rabindranath Tagore in his bedroom, and a cheesy blackmailer named Suraj (Neil Nitin Mukesh), who believes in taking risky short-cuts to get rich.

    This is not the first film about a cheating wife and a blackmailer. Reena Roy and Naseeruddin Shah had done the roles with heart-stopping tension in “Bezubaan”. “Shortcut Romeo” scores in the way the the plot paces out its drama in the ongoing friction between the cheating wife and the blackmailer.

    Neil plays the cheesy go-getter with a schemer`s delight. His eyes glint when he talks of teasing more money out of Monica. He drools when she transfers cash into his trashy life. Alas, some of the narrative`s display of the protagonist`s excessive hedonism is just an excuse for African tourism.

    The Kenyan expedition reads like a botched-up touristic brochure.

    Bad idea, Ganesan. Even worse is the director himself showing up in the second-half as the cheated husband`s detective-friend. Ganesan`s accent is so thick, it slices the gamboling narration into smithereens. At least for a while. But then again the film gathers momentum towards the end-game. The finale is a breathless whammy with Neil making a run for his freedom, quite literally, with the narrative panting behind him.

    “Shortcut Romeo” is redeemed by a strong message on today`s 20-something`s yearning for materialism. And when our Shortcut Romeo finds his short-skirt Juliet (Puja Gupta, pretty) there is a delicious irony attached to the association. The film`s most vivid interludes go back to Neil`s childhood to show how he learned to be corrupt, acquisitive, and inquisitive, at a tender age.

    Some of the action sequences with Neil, specially one key fight with African tribals, are first-rate. But then the songs – oh my god! – they pop up at the most inopportune moments.

    In spite of its massive flaws, including the cheesy dialogues, Ganesan`s stylish shocker of a thriller manages to stay constantly one step ahead of the audience. A coolly crafted cat-and-mouse game “Shortcut Romeo” finds Neil giving grit to the gripping goings-on. The last half-hour is a knock-out.

    But the overall product could have been far less retrogradatory in tone. Nonetheless enjoyable while it lasts.

    Rating: Three Stars.

  2. Author
    aryan 8 years ago

    Review by Komal Nahta

    Susi Ganesh Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Shortcut Romeo (UA) is the story of Suraj (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who uses shortcuts in life to achieve his goals. Fed up of Suraj, his parents send him away from Goa to Bombay to stay with his maternal uncle (Major Bikramjeet). In Bombay, Suraj shoots a video of a couple in a compromising position and soon learns that the young lady, Monica (Ameesha Patel), is in an extramarital relationship with the guy she is caught on camera. His name is Ashish (Bunty Grewal). Monica fears that if the video tape gets into the hands of her husband, Rahul (Rajesh Shringarpure), it would be catastrophic. Suraj blackmails Monica and ensures that she pays for a free holiday for him and his friends at Kenya.

    In Kenya, Suraj meets Sherry (Puja Gupta) and he falls in love with her. Soon, it is revealed that Monica had planted people, including Sherry (whose real name is Radhika), in Kenya to interact with Suraj. Monica and Suraj keep playing a game of oneupmanship with each other as Monica also has her grip on Suraj. Meanwhile, Monica’s suspecting husband employs a private detective (Susi Ganesh) to track the person his wife is having an affair with.

    What happens thereafter? Does Suraj hand over the video tape to Monica? Does Sherry/Radhika also love Suraj? Or is it a one-sided affair? Does Monica’s husband get to know about Ashish? Do Suraj and Sherry/Radhika get married?

    The story, penned by Susi Ganesh, is juvenile and offers no novelty to the viewers. Even the screenplay, written by Susi Ganesh, goes on aimlessly. The most irritating part of the drama is the game of oneupmanship played by Monica and Suraj with one another. For Suraj to be trying to prove his over-smartness is still understandable but what is incomprehensible is that Monica should also play this game with the same gusto even though she doesn’t have the video tape in her possession. Given that she is so tense about the video tape being used by Suraj to blackmail her, she can never be in a frame of mind to tease Suraj even when she has an upper hand. Her action of planting people in Kenya so that Suraj gets into serious trouble does not seem justified if only because of incompetent scripting.

    Another weak point in the screenplay is that the drama moves on just a couple of tracks and, therefore, gets repetitive after a point of time. Even the romantic track of Suraj and Sherry alias Radhika is quite weak. Dialogues, by Ilashree Goswami, are very ordinary.

    Neil Nitin Mukesh does a routine job. Ameesha Patel is also average. Puja Gupta is okay. Rajesh Shringarpure gets limited scope and is fair. Bunty Grewal lends ordinary support. Vrajesh Hirjee has his comic moments. Susi Ganesh’s performance is ordinary. Major Bikramjeet is mechanical. Average support is lent by Meherzaan Mazda (as Aman), Errol Marks (as Patrao), Ashutosh Kaushik (as Nihal), Naveen Prabhakar (as Saurabh), Anuradha Chandan (as Suraj’s mother), Yasodhan Bal (as Suraj’s father), Kavita Wadhawan (as Suraj’s aunt), Neelima Parandekar (as Radhika’s mother), Mohit Saluja (as Suraj’s brother), Mumait Khan and others.

    Susi Ganesh’s narrative style and direction are unable to add zing or excitement to the drama so that the film remains a dull fare with which the viewer is unable to connect. Himesh Reshammiya’s music is so-so. The ‘Pe pe pe’ song is quite appealing, not just for its tune but also for its eye-filling picturisation (by Vishnu Deva). Choreography of the other songs (by Raju Khan and Kalyan S.) is okay. Lyrics (by Sameer Anjaan, Shabbir Ahmed, Manoj Yadav and Sanjay Masoom) are okay. Background music (Bapi-Tutul and Gourov Dasgupta) is ordinary. Cinematography (by N.K. Ekhambram) is quite nice. Action scenes are well-composed by Silva Stunts and Kanal Kannan. Sets (Ratan Suryawanshi and Murali J. Sabat) are okay. Editing (Dilip Deo and Hardik Singh Reen) is nothing to shout about.

    On the whole, Shortcut Romeo is a dull fare which fails to involve the audience. Flop.

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