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amount, but ends up making the most outdated mess in recent times.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
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 bySenior Journalist & Author
Bharathi S Pradhan