Review – Santa Banta Pvt Ltd | Neha Dhupia | Boman Irani | VIr Das

The film revolves two village idiots from Punjab, Santeshwar Singh (Boman Irani) and Banteshwar Singh (Vir Das), who are taken to be special agents and undercover detectives, coincidentally called Santa and Banta. When they’re sent off to Fiji to help locate a possibly abducted Indian high commissioner, their first reaction is, “Who is he?” When they’re told that he’s the ambassador, they’re assured, “Acha toh gaddi hain.” And if you thought otherwise, this is the sharpest joke in the film.

For those who relish quips on stereotypes, there’s Johnny Lever as Nepali gangster Chooza, who intermittently receives calls throughout the film with only one request: “Bahadur, darwaza kholo.” Only because he’s Nepali, he happens to dress like a watchman and threatens to chop up his assailants with a kukri.

Boman Irani will be answerable in his afterlife for being associated with this film. Considering the state of his film career, Vir Das is already paying for his terrible choices. Neha Dhupia is a bit too jaded to play the damsel in distress, but Lisa Haydon was well cast, if she was supposed to portray a desi Lara Croft that is. Utterly wasted in the film are Vijay Raaz, Sanjay Mishra, Johnny Lever and Ram Kapoor.

Capitalising on the iconic Sikh characters that caustic columnist and writer Khushwant Singh celebrated in his joke books, this is a cinematic blot that debunks that famous detergent slogan ‘daag ache hain’.

When a film less than two hours seems like a century, you know it’s a goner.

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