No surprises here - Shortcut Romeo is about a guy who likes to take shortcuts to success. What is surprising is that the original Tamil movie was a hit, because the charm is definitely missing in the Hindi remake. Susi Ganeshan makes his debut in Bollywood with this Hindi version of his award-winning film, Thiruttu Payale.
Suraj (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is an angry young man, and his mother is tired of him. After Suraj hits his brother with a bottle, his mother sends him to his maternal uncle (Major Bikramjeet Kanwarpal), a police officer, in Mumbai. It is from his uncle's building's terrace that Suraj spots an opportunity to make a fortune.
Having gathered the resources that will lead to wealth, Suraj blackmails Monica (Ameesha Patel), who is having an affair with her husband's best friend, Ashish (Jatin Grewal). He asks for unlimited access to money, as and when he needs it, then invites his childhood friends over to splurge it. They even go on a world tour, which leads them to Kenya.
In Kenya, Suraj meets Sherry (Puja Gupta), whom he falls in love with. Posing as a billionaire, he gifts her the most expensive necklace in the jewellery shop, but he has to ask Monica for more money. And that is when his life spirals out of control.
The story is simple, to begin with, but the various twists and turns that appear out of nowhere make it complicated. The writers must have wanted to make the plot seem intelligent, but they got carried away.
There is a sense of forced intensity in the entire movie, without basis, and that leaves the audience feeling cheated. For example, Suraj's maternal uncle keeps justifying his nephew's actions by blaming his childhood, so you wait for a grand revelation of the same, but it is a let-down. There is no reason, nor enough justification, for you to feel sympathy for the hero.
Again, the love story is shallow and superficial. In fact, Suraj comes across as a stalker after a point, obsessed with the woman of his dreams.
Monica's character yo-yos throughout the film. One minute she is all menacing, and the next, reduced to tears, at the drop of a hat.
Rahul (Rajesh Shringapure), her husband, fares no better - he is shown as a detached man, and Monica begins to feel guilty without going through the process that leads to an epiphany. Ditto for Suraj - he goes through life without consequences, mostly. And then there are the Masais beating up Suraj without cause.
Everybody throws around heavy dialogues, and these are given a break only when there are lengthy fight sequences (again, just placed randomly in the plot).
The story is about unscrupulous people with money, whether they have earned it, like Monica, or have access to it, like Suraj. So superimposing characters on stills of world-famous landmarks to emphasise a world tour seems tacky. The cinematography in Kenya is done aesthetically, though. It is the interior sets that lack the finesse and class required in the world that the film portrays.
Production design is careless, and costumes are average. As is the music.
Neil Nitin Mukesh is sincere in his portrayal of a spoilt brat with a sociopathic mind. Despite the lack of definition in his character, he has managed to grasp the essence of Suraj.
Ameesha Patel is not her usual fluffy self, and shows a certain maturity as Monica. Puja Gupta is eye candy, for most part, and she looks lost.
Major Bikramjeet Kanwarpal and Jatin Grewal carry out their roles with ease. Rajesh Shringapure is the surprise package here. And watch out for a guest appearance by none other than the director himself (he plays a private detective).
Shortcut Romeo is a tad too lengthy to hold your attention, and the many twists in the tale can make you forget how it all began. Watch only if you are a fan of either Ameesha Patel or Neil Nitin Mukesh, because they are there in almost every sequence in the film.