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Santa Banta Pvt Ltd  : Senseless Without Limit
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Friday, April 22, 2016
Boman Irani, Vir Das, Neha Dhupia, Lisa Haydon

The Indian High Commissioner in Fiji has stumbled upon a huge scam. He reports it to RAW officers in India before he goes missing. RAW wants two top-rated agents who currently call themselves Santa and Banta for this secret mission. But the officer assigned to find them has his own nefarious agenda when he purposely picks up two good-for-nothing bumpkins who are also called Santa and Banta and passes them off as the agents. The clueless twosome bumbles through some mirthless mayhem but ultimately catches the culprits and saves the High Commissioner. 

Writer-director Akashdeep gets a germ of an idea, never mind how run-of-the-mill it is, he gets actors like Boman Irani, Vir Das, Neha Dhupia and Lisa Haydon on board, and he gets finance however modest the amount, but ends up making the most outdated mess in recent times. There’s a screeching scene with Neha Dhupia showing her tonsils when Boman Irani whips up confusion over antique dealer Sonu Sultan and calls him by every other conceivable name including Razia Sultan and Sonu Nigam.  There are annoying background noises that are supposed to be comic and cartoons suddenly popping up in place of the flesh-n-blood actors. The humour is so last millennium that you’re supposed to roll in the aisles over three people getting their telephone conversations mixed up.

For sure there are moments like Johnny Lever playing a Nepalese don who keeps getting mistaken for Bahadur the watchman. But despite bagging a guest appearance from Sonu Nigam and plenty of support from reliable side actors like Ram Kapoor, Vijay Raaz and Ranjeet, Akashdeep doesn’t mine any of the talent around for a rollicking comedy.  

The film starts by claiming to be a tribute to the Sikh community. All I’ll say is, there’s nothing balle balle about this non-entertainer.

For a noisy film that falls flat on every front, Santa Banta Pvt Ltd gets a 1.5* rating.

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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