Sankat City is the second comedy to release this week but unlike Short Kut-The Con Is On, this film is bang on target. Its black humour works, even though it is not the first time that we are being subject to a film on the workings of the underbelly of Mumbai. There was Mithya before this and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, though set in Delhi, belonged to the same genre of movies. Debutant director Pankaj Advani's movie may lack finesse but it more than makes up for it with its attitude, its brilliant gallery of characters, some lovely ensemble acting and the delightful twists and turns of its screenplay.
The film is a veritable roller coaster ride. It all begins when a petty car thief Guru (Kay Kay Menon) robs a car and brings it to his partner Ganpat's (Dilip Prabhawalkar) garage. While giving the car a makeover, they discover a sum of Rs 1 crore inside. The duo is very excited but this money becomes the bane of their life as it belongs to small time don, Faujdar (Anupam Kher). Caught in a web of deceit and double crossing, they, along with another petty thief, Mona (Rimi Sen), bump into many characters and situations as they run against time in their attempt to return Faujdar's money.
The film is very well structured indeed. The first half is a riot. The second half dips slightly, but the director manages to pull it through with his climax. The film is structured in such a manner that the delightful gallery of characters that inhabit its landscape are all connected to each other and the plot, so that one naturally leads to the other.
The gallery of characters in the movie are excellently sketched and very well fleshed out on screen by the cast of actors. The lead actors Anupam Kher and Kay Kay Menon deliver impeccable performances. It's Rimi Sen who manages to spring a surprise. She really makes good this opportunity and gets into the skin of her character. Rimi had earlier displayed her flair for comedy in the film Hungama some years ago, and she proves it again that she is more than a pretty face. The trio is very well supported by the very dependable Dilip Prabhawalkar, Yashpal Sharma, Manoj Pahwa and Sanjay Mishra. Chunky Pandey, who seems to be on a comeback trail of sorts, is also in very good form in the movie. Every character has been well fleshed out by the writers and the actors have all done a superb job in bringing them alive on screen.
Sankat City is not path breaking cinema but it is a film which has been very competently directed and it scores high on entertainment without the aid of big stars, jazzy locations and sizzling item numbers. The sizzle is provided solely by the actors and the screenplay. This is a small movie, but one which scores big on entertainment.