In this film, Sanjay does just an item number.
About the story: After twelve years as a director's assistent in film business, Shekhar (Akshaye Khanna) finally dares to continue on his own. He has written a fabulous script and even found a producer willing to let him direct it. But Shekhar's friend Raju (Arshad Warsi) who, despite being absolutely talentless, considers himself a future superstar, steals his script and manages to get an other producer to make this film with Raju as the leading hero. All at once Raju becomes a star while Shekhar has to start all over again; even his relationship with film star Mansi (Amrita Rao) suffers as he cannot stand the gossip that he just wants to make his career with her name. Despite all this, Shekhar braces himself up for writing a new script. But again he faces obstacles – above all Raju...
"There is no shortcut to success" is this film's message. Well, to Sanjay Dutt's only scene in this movie you definitely don't need any shortcut as it happens right at the beginning: Amrita Rao shoots the clip "Mareeze Mohabbat" in a film studio, and her partners are none other than producer Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt who both obviously had a blast doing this number – Anil quipped afterwards that they had competed about who of them is the worst dancer. Like always when making a guest appearance for friends, Sanjay ("Special Thanks to Mr Sanjay Dutt") refused to take any fees, and Anil on the other hand saved him the trouble of coming to the dubbing studio for his only sentence after the clip – honestly, I suspect that the obviously assumed voice speaking Sanjay's "It has been a pleasure" is the voice of Anil Kapoor himself.
"Mareeze Mohabbat" is fun. The rest of the film is patchy. Really good are the sequences carried by Akshaye Khanna alone; the man is, simply put, a good and intense actor and effortlessly gets all sympathies for poor cheated Shekhar. Had they made the rest of the film as genuine as Akshaye's character, then Short Kut, in spite of all the filmi clichés the story contains, could have become a good movie. But already Arshad Warsi puts a stop to this. He definitely has his moments – when he acts somewhat natural and without hamming and overacting unrestrainedly. Too bad that these moments are rather few and far between. On the other hand, Chunky Pandey as Raju's secretary Kapoor effortlessly shakes Arshad off when it comes to hamming – I just wonder why they didn't let him play Raju, at least he would hardly have needed to take any efforts to play a talentless actor. Amrita Rao makes the best out of her rather neglected role and at least has some nice scenes with Akshaye.
As a whole, Short Kut – a remake of the Malayalam hit Udayananu Tharam (2005) – is a lost opportunity. The story had potential, but making a hamming comedy out of it proved to be destructive, especially as there remains hardly any credence. Just take Raju who is designed talentless and stupid to such an extent that you just wonder how two films starring him could be finished in record time in spite of Raju needing endless retakes for every scene. Adding to this, he becomes thus unsympathetic and intolerable so that I will never understand how Arshad could consider his role to be a "loveable villain" – this Raju is not loveable at all, you simply despise him. And you don't believe him either to be a "King Kumar" star which he is to be at least for a short time. Had they taken Raju's character more serious then Short Kut could have become a (maybe even touching) drama about friendship and betrayal. But the makers chose the seemingly easy path – forgetting their own message: "There is no shortcut to success."
Produced by Anil Kapoor; Directed by Neeraj Vora
139 Min.; DVD: Indian Films, English Subtitles (including songs); Special Features: Making of Movie, Making of Songs, Theatrical Trailer