Oh Saaheb... Biwi let us down
Saaheb : OK
Biwi : not OK.
Gangster : OK
That would have been the report if the SBGR team had done a Quality Control check.
Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saaheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns (SBGR) leaps forward from where it had left us in Saaheb Biwi aur Gangster... a crippled Saaheb (Jimmy Shergill as Aditya Pratap Singh in a wheel-chair) is further crippled with dwindling fortunes and is perturbed by the intentions of the state government to further break the state into smaller states. The Biwi (Mahie Gill as Madhvi Devi – the puppet politician who won elections on sympathy wave for Saaheb) is less of a seductress this time around and more of an alcoholic, who can go any a distance for a paltry 50 odd bucks. Disgusted with the Biwi, the Saaheb finds an option (since he can afford a 2nd wife) and develops an interest towards Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan as a free spirited princess who losses her freedom in the game of one-upmanship). But then, Ranjana is in love with Indrajeet Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaaiyaa aka Gangster. Irrfan Khan returns to the big screen after Life of Pi and Paan Singh Tomar as a “Raja”, who has lost everything apart from a flawed pride... his ancestors were killed and cleaned by the ancestors of Saaheb.
The Saaheb’s Mission : To stand up on feet again and marry Ranjana.
The Gangter’s Mission : To break and wreck the Saaheb both financially and emotionally.
The Biwi’s Mission : To ensure her pound of flesh and alcohol in the bargain.
What follows is a game of cat and mouse with each character trying to outsmart the other by using legal, illegal and arm-twisting tricks of the book to achieve his or her goals. Thrown in are some interesting characters (Raj Babbar as Virendra Pratap and father of Ranjana; Pravesh Rana of Roadies and Emotional Atyachar fame making his debut as Inspector Param Pratap Singh, the brother of Raja Bhaaiyaa) with each driving and serving their own agenda and what you have is a very decent film... definitely worth a watch.
To Tigmanshu Dhulia’s credit, he does weave in an interesting tale with brilliant tongue-in-cheek dialogues (written by Dhulia himself). Dhulia’s collaboration with the brilliant Irrfan (after the super Paan Singh Tomar) reaches a new high and you wonder and get dazzled at the same time by the sheer sublime brilliance of the actor, who losses no opportunity to play to the gallery as he gets to mouth some of the best dialogues. Irrfan Khan leaves you wanting for more in the end.
Jimmy Shergill plays his role perfectly to the “T” and stands his ground against Irrfan.
What lets us down is the climax which seems more like an attempt to draw the curtains on the proceedings and the Biwi. Mahie Gill is the weakest link in this journey. She does well playing the seductress but she goes completely haywire in her transition to being a compulsive drunkard. The moments of tragedy for the Biwi unfortunately bring across smiles on your face unwarranted.
Sandeep Chowta’s background score is good but couple of songs are redundant to the movie on the whole... probably compulsions from the producer made Dhulia add them. Yogesh Jani captures the rustic India very well through his lenses.
On the whole,
SBGR : OK and strictly OK.
PS: The one performance which stays with you and is the best performance of the movie is that of Rajeev Gupta in the small role of a slimy politician by the name of Prabhu Tiwari. Watch him describe himself to a journalist as a “sensitive tomato” with “sensitive” visuals playing on his laptop is sheer delight... Jai ho Prabhu ki!