Planet Bollywood
Sankat City
Producer: Anubhav Sinha
Director: Pankaj Advani
Starring: Anupam Kher, Kaykay Menon, Rimi Sen, Chunky Pandey, Yashpal Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Hemant Pandey, Jahangir Khan, Veerendra Saxena, Shri Vallabh Vyas, Rahul Dev
Music: Ranjit Barot
Lyrics: Panchhi Jalonvi, Mehboob
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs. 30 min
Film Released on: 10 July 2009
Reviewed by: Amodini Sharma  - Rating: 9.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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“Sankat City” reminds me of a Wodehouse-ian novel; a bunch of odd-ball characters cocooned in their own little spheres of influence, setting forth a chain of events that promises much mirth and laughter. The city, of course, is Mumbai, and in it’s criminal citizenry it includes car-thief Guru (Menon) and his associates Ganpat (Prabhavalkar), and Sharafat (Shrivallabh Vyas). Also peopling Sankat City is small-time con-woman Mona (Rimi) , businessman Pachisia (Yashpal Sharma), film producer Gogi Kukreja (Pahwa), and his lead actor Sikandar Khan (Chunky Pandey).

However the person who makes the world go around (at least in Sankat City) is ruthless mob-boss Faujdaar (Kher). And why? Because everyone borrows money from him. Whether it’s Pachisia who’s in the doghouse because he has only a few days to pay back his loan, or Kukreja who must borrow to buy land for his dream studio, they are all in debt and mortal fear of Faujdaar.

The plot, which I will not describe in detail, revolves around large lost sums of money. The money belongs to Faujdaar, and Guru and Mona who don’t have it, must scheme their way around the mobster and his violence-loving henchman Lovely (Jahangir Khan). Suffice it to say that the journey to get out from under Faujdaar’s thumb is fraught with mishaps (for them) and humor (for us) given that they associate with rather quaint, quirky characters.

This film has a succinct storyline, and by that I mean that Advani, who has also written the film doesn’t waste facts – something very rare in Bollywood. If we as audience are given information on a person or an event, that information is brought into play later. Advani also brings great detail and nuance in the development of each character. Every character has a great quirk – Guru, a sneaky thief loves fishes (as pets), Faujdaar has a thing for South-Indian, voluptuous bombshells, and looks up to only one person, his Guru Swamiji (Saxena). Swamiji also has a fetish – he loves bathing with young men.

It also does not hurt that the film has an excellent cast. In fact it is quite pleasant to see a lot of good television artistes in this film, like the cast of “Office Office” – Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra and Hemant Pandey. There is of course stalwart Anupam Kher, who brings to screen a delightful rendition of a Himachali mobster, complete with typical accent. Rimi Sen, quite unexpectedly, flexes her acting muscles. Playing a Bengali siren, with a penchant for making off with the loot, she looks and acts the part. The woman has talent and I look forward to seeing her in meatier roles.

Advani directs beautifully, tying up all the lose ends neatly, and produces a lovely, comedic caper. Highly recommended.

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