Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on March 8, 2013 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Rahul Mittra, Tigmanshu Dhulia
DIRECTOR –Tigmanshu Dhulia
WRITER –Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kamlesh Pandey
CAST –Jimmy Shergill, Mahie Gill, Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Raj Babbar
MUSIC –Sandeep Chowta
Among the many senseless ‘sequels’ Bollywood churns up here comes one that is a sequel in the true sense and doesn’t simply ride on the brand value of the franchise. Unfortunately, that is among the very few good things that can be said about ‘Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns’.
A take on the Guru Dutt – Abrar Alvi classic ‘Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam’, the franchise recreates a feudal set-up in post-independence India that was decaying in its own decadence. It’s central characters are a dysfunctional couple, the headstrong and power-drunk ‘Saheb’ Aditya Pratap Singh(Jimmy Shergill) and the alcoholic and emotionally unstable ‘Biwi’ – Madhvi (Mahie Gill).
The second part has an old rival of Aditya’s resurface, Inderjit Singh (Irrfan Khan) who becomes an insidious part of the couple’s lives when Saheb gets engaged to Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan) by force. It gives Inderjit who is in love with Ranjana, a double incentive to seek his revenge from Saheb. But in a world of conspiracies and power games nothing is as it seems. Each of the four become pawns in their own games losing more than they set out to gain.
As in the first part, the film sets up an authentic enough world for us to sink in. The decrepit feudal world and its broken yet arrogant people and customs are defined largely with broad strokes but are convincing. Yet the story has too many paths criss-crossing each other for any to settle down and give the film its heft. Agendas fly unabashed and change colours fast turning tables in what seems like a mild game of chess.
Ideally, all this should leave us breathless and at the edge of our seats but what ensues is ennui. The story unfolds with a halted pace, a lot of information and unnecessary detailing. What lets all the steam out is the haphazard nature of the screenplay that simply isn’t as crafty as it wishes to be. Neither do the performances hold up their own. Jimmy Shergill impresses as the intractable Saheb but his presence isn’t powerful enough to carry the film. Neither is Irrfan Khan’s whose performance is strictly passable but it is Mahie Gill who makes us wince with a stagey and extremely uncomfortable act. In contrast Soha Ali Khan’s conviction is striking. Raj Babbar thankfully appears in a graceful role performed with enough restraint and command.
On the face of it, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns is a film of fiery romance and even fiery revenge but it simply doesn’t claim the power it wishes to portray. Its men and women are individualistic yet not arresting enough and in a group get lost rather than stand on their own as towering adversaries. Unlike its earlier version it has little unabashed seduction and a lesser sexually charged atmosphere. The revenge drama takes its place but it’s ineffective, and sadly so. There is darkness in its themes but just not enough to weigh us down and what remains looks like an old forgotten photo of an unimportant story of once-important characters. And that’s a pity.