Friday, 8 March 2013

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Please Go Back!

2/5 Stars

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster was one of the best-written films of 2011. Jimmy Sheirgill as the Saheb, Mahie Gill as the Biwi and Randeep Hooda as the Gangster, delivered terrific performances and gave us a gripping political-bedroom-drama. Tigmanshu has, since then, made huge strides in the Hindi film industry with brilliant direction in 'Paan Singh Tomar' and a formidable acting debut in 'Gangs Of Wasseypur'. Now, he is all set to present his next directorial venture.

'Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns' comprises traits - sex, betrayal, politics, power, greed among others, which are similar to its predecessor's. Even though the performances and the 'dialoguebaazi' steal the show, the screenplay is a big let-down.

Indrajit Singh (Irrfan Khan) wants to avenge the killing of his ancestors at the hands of Aditya Pratap Singh’s (Jimmy Sheirgill) forefathers. He frequently visits the ruins of his family’s erstwhile kingdom and every visit keeps reminding him of his mission to destroy Aditya Pratap Singh. Indrajit’s love interest, Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan), is the daughter of another royal, Bana Singh (Raj Babbar). Aditya, confined to a wheelchair and already in a defunct marriage with Madhavi (Mahie Gill), takes a liking for Ranjana and asks for her hand in marriage. Bana Singh, who is reluctant to give away his daughter to a handicapped and a temperamental man, summons Indrajit to plot Aditya’s downfall. The film is essentially about how Indrajit along with Ranjana get together to bring Aditya down. However, then enters the Biwi! Having already assumed ad-hoc power in the kingdom, Madhavi is perpetually inebriated and is basking in the glory of her newfound power. Trouble arises when Madhavi comes in contact with Indrajit! The story of the film is baffling at some points. The main conflict of the film only comes with about half an hour of the film to go. Till then, the story does not really go anywhere.

Even though the characters have been well-etched in isolation, they don’t quite go well with the story of the film. Soha’s Ranjana is shown as an innocuous princess who is blindly in love with Indrajit. However, there’s no trait which you would associate with her character, except maybe, confused. Mahie starts out brilliantly with her temperamental, drunk act (which she seems to have mastered), but it gets too annoying and repetitive. The bizarre twists-and-turns in the plot dilute the impact of the casts’ performances. Even though the actors get memorable dialogues to mouth, the story doesn’t quite rise to the occasion. Random incidents such as out-of-the-blue arrests and deaths of pivotal characters are left unexplained. Aditya, who couldn’t stand up till the mid-way point of the second-half, gets his swagger back, all of a sudden. The other royal members, with interesting nicknames such as Rudy and Bunny, also seem a confused lot with no real motive at hand. Irrfan, who is shown to be quite determined in his quest to kill Aditya Pratap Singh, suddenly develops a change-of-heart in the end. The climax just escalates the bizarre-level of the film by a few notches. As far as the politics of the film is concerned, here again, the only impression you will take back is that politicians are lecherous and dumb. Madness is obviously permissible in cinema and often, it makes for terrific viewing as well. However, there should be some method to the madness. The two unneeded item numbers only worsen the viewing experience.

When you have powerhouse performers in Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill and Irrfan, backed with a wonderful story teller in Tigmanshu Dhulia, how can you go wrong? When your first film ‘Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster’ was so bloody awesome, how can you make such a bad sequel? While you put all the thought into the 'dhamakedaar' dialogues and the 'seeti bajao' scenes, why didn't anyone proofread the screenplay? Greed and complacency! Sequels make sense commercially. One can make good sequels too, but proper attention should be given to the script as well. Mere piggy-backing on the ‘brand’ name won’t do!

Shivom Oza

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