The idea of three senior citizens setting out on a dirty weekend wasn’t terribly funny in 1982 and it isn’t terribly funny in 2014 either. The Shaukeens borrows half its plot from Basu Chatterjee’s Shaukeen, based on a story by Bengali writer Samaresh Basu. In the original, Ashok Kumar, Utpal Dutt, and AK Hangal play the three elderly gentlemen who prey on a singer in Goa, only to realise that she is using them because she wants to spend time with their driver, who happens to be her boyfriend.

In an inspired bit of casting in the semi-remake, Rati Agnihotri, who played the singer, returns as a deeply religious housewife who prefers to chant rather than oblige her husband's desires. Perhaps that is the natural consequence of being subjected to the relentless lechery of five pairs of eyes (belonging to the three characters, the cinematographer and the director).

In The Shaukeens, Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra are the three aging Lotharios, while Lisa Haydon is the collective object of their fantasies. Haydon’s Ahaana is a self-declared “earth child” who thinks nothing of letting out her Mauritius home to the wannabe sex tourists and wrapping her long limbs around them at every opportune moment. The veteran troika tries hard, but they can’t match the filmmaker's ability to take advantage of Ahaana’s comfort with her body and travel all over it.

Enter Akshay Kumar

When Akshay Kumar, playing himself, enters the plot, things look like they are going nowhere and everywhere at the same time, but the story settles down and moves towards its real purpose, which is to spoof Hindi movie stardom. Kumar sends up his screen persona, pokes fun at his relentlessly macho image, drinks on the sly and tries to impress a Bengali director who will give him the national award he craves. Director Abhishek Sharma, who directed the comedy Tere Bin Laden, finds something resembling a groove, and Kumar has so much fun it’s infectious.

This limp sex comedy, written by Tigmanshu Dhulia, proves that Bollywood has the most fun when it’s poking fun at its own absurd ways. The challenges of recasting the original’s characters in the present, and reconciling their medieval ideas about women to prevailing social attitudes and values, will have to wait for some other dirty weekend.