Saturday, February 26, 2011
If you need evidence that Pankaj Advani was perhaps the best thing to happen to Bollywood in 2009, do yourself a favour and watch Sankat City. It is a wondrous mix of characters (consider for example, a small-time car thief who loves fish and can't stand killing or eating them or a loan shark who pronounces J as Z and has a fetish for dancing to Tamil songs with fat Madrasi girls), a zippy screenplay that mixes humour, violence, drama and surrealism and a great score by Ranjit Barot. Things tumble along like fervid dominoes until the intermission and the second half barely survives succumbing to SSH (Sagging Second Half), the congenital affliction of all Bollyflicks. Kay Kay Menon, Dilip Prabhawalkar and Anupam Kher, Virendra Saxena and ShriVallabh Vyas lead the performances. Any more footage devoted to Rimi Sen would have made it quite clear that the lass is no great shakes in the acting department. Chunkey Pandey manages to ham out of hand, but this mercifully remains compliant with the changing tone of the film -- at times darkly funny, at times strangely serious, at times morbid. One wonders how many such pearls were bouncing about in Pankaj Advani's imagination. He clammed up too early, depriving us of a fresh smart intellect and a promising cinematic voice.