Comedies today, can be segregated into two categories -- Brain-dead entertainers and intelligent comedies. Films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Bheja Fry and Sankat City fall in the latter category. Let's be honest. Not all of us can think whacky or come up with a crazy madcap comedy like Sankat City. It requires a wild and imaginative mind to come up with one and most importantly, execute it with panache. Debutante director Pankaj Advani gets its right on both the counts. Sure, there are glitches in the narrative, but Advani compels you to sit and listen to the story he intends narrating.
Final word? Don't give Sankat City a miss just because the film doesn't star the Khans or Kumars. This 'City' is worth a visit!
Guru [Kay Kay Menon] is a small-time car thief. Ganpat [Dilip Prabhawalkar], who owns a dilapidated garage, is his partner-in-crime. Guru robs cars and Ganpat gives them a make-over in order to sell them for tidy profits.
One night, Guru chances upon a swank Mercedes parked outside a brothel, unattended. He steals the car and takes it to Ganpat. While working on the car, they discover a sum of Rs. 1 crore in it. They are delirious with joy at the unexpected turn of events. Little do they know what's in store, for the car and the money belong to a gangster/loan shark called Faujdaar [Anupam Kher]. What happens next?
It takes time to get a hang of things, but once the characters and their traits are introduced at the very outset, the goings-on become one joyride. The assorted characters and the way they are integrated in the storyline, as also the way they're inter-connected, makes the film stand out.
If the first hour is akin to a roller coaster ride that you enjoy to the optimum, it's the middle of the second half that bothers you. That's because things stagnate and even get monotonous for a few minutes, before the climax strikes again.
Sankat City is more like a relay. One incident leads to another, so on and so forth and it keeps you involved and entertained for most parts. But the most stunning sequence is reserved in the pre-climax when a bulldozer runs over a bagful of currency. A brilliant sequence!
Sankat City is embellished with super performances by each and every member of its cast. Anupam Kher [terrific], Kay Kay Menon [excellent], Rimi Sen [first-class], Dilip Prabhawalkar [splendid], Chunky Pandey [very good], Manoj Pahwa [effective], Yashpal Sharma [first-rate], Hemant Pandey [perfect], Rahul Dev [good], Virendra Saxena [wonderful], Srivallabh Vyas [nice], Sanjay Mishra [decent]… every actor deserves praise. It's as if the roles were tailor-made for them.
On the whole, Sankat City is a small little gem that deserves a watch. Yes, there's a bombardment of new films week after week and chances are that this film may get sidetracked thanks to the invasion of biggies, with the multiplexes sidelining it to embrace the biggies. But here's a request to all cine lovers and also multiplexes, from this writer. Give this one a chance. Let's nurture it well, so that genuine efforts like Sankat City don't go unnoticed.
Sometimes, big things come in small sizes... Sankat City may not boast of stars to lure the audiences, it may not have a colossal canvas [on the contrary, the making is very basic], it may not have a terrific musical score to act as a hook [there are hardly any songs here], but Sankat City succeeds, and succeeds largely, in its endeavour: Make the viewer laugh at the right places. One walks in with zilch expectations [the promos don't do justice to the product], but when you make an exit from the audi, it's with the feeling that the 2 hours were well spent.