Banners: Rahul Mittra, Jar Pictures
Producers: Rahul Mittra, Tigmanshu Dhulia
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill, Chitrangada Singh, Kabir Bedi, Deepak Tijori, Deepraj Rana, Soha Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain, Nafisa Ali
Writers: Sanjay Chouhan, Tigmanshu Dhulia
Music: Rana Mazumder, Aanjan Bhattacharya, Siddharth Pandit
In a time when franchise films are usually high-octane action films, superhero sagas or comedy capers, Tigmanshu Dhulia returns with the third instalment of his greed, lust and conspiracy filled royal-political drama Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster.
The story begins where it left off. His Highness Aditya Pratap Singh is in jail, being tried for murder. His wife Madhavi Devi is now a Member of Parliament, and a force to reckon with in political and business circles. While she is doing everything in her power to keep Aditya behind bars, Aditya with the help of his trusted aide Kanhaiya and his daughter is moving mountains to secure his freedom. In the midst of this power struggle is the introduction of another royal family.
The scion of this family is Uday Pratap Singh. Living a life of exile in London, Uday Pratap is an expert in Russian roulette. Using this skill, he has amassed enough wealth and clout to live a comfortable life. But his heart pines for his love in India, a nautch girl Suhani. Just as Madhavi is trying to keep Aditya at bay, Uday’s family wants him away from India.
But circumstances change and despite playing every trick in the book, Aditya is freed and Uday is back in India. Coincidentally, these not-so-royal royals are neighbours. They become ‘friends’ and it is this friendship that leads to many more twists and turns. The power struggle between Aditya and Madhavi and Uday’s struggle to live a reformed life with Suhani culminates in a saga of conspiracy, betrayal and a lot of bloodshed.
The writers spend no time explaining the previous story line, and you are thrown into the narrative right away. The quick pace of the story is the USP of Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. The only character-building that happens is that of the gangster, but that too is not dwelt upon for long. The narrative sweeps you in, and before you know it you are on a roller coaster ride.
The writing, like the first two films, is taut, the dark humour intact and the dialogue to the point. Full marks to Dhulia and Chouhan for maintaining the essence of the franchise. The story falters a bit in the way in which the other characters are written. There are a few more characters in this film than in the previous two. Though they add to the drama, they sometimes seem unnecessary.
A big drawback of the film is the songs, especially a couple of them, which bring the otherwise fast-paced story to a screeching halt. The background score is brilliant and loud, perfectly in tune with the genre and style of the film. The camera captures the grandeur of Rajasthan as well as the glamour of London in style.
Performance-wise, it is Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill who keep the interest in the story alive. As Aditya Pratap and Madhavi, they bring the passion, the hatred and the treachery in their relationship on to the screen with aplomb. It is like they never stopped being these characters. You love them and you hate them at the same time. Sherigill once again proves that given a meaty character, he will go above and beyond to make it perfect.
Sanjay Dutt as Uday Pratap does what he does best – be larger than life. His walk, his talk, his style all add to the charm of Uday. There is a subtle undertone of pain which he has captured well. But when you compare his character to that of Aditya’s, it seems he has been short-changed. Uday starts off as a Russian roulette playing badass but ends up as a pawn in the hands of his family and friends. This may disappoint his fans.
Chitrangada Singh as Suhani provides the eye candy. She looks gorgeous and has done whatever has been asked of her. It would have been interesting if her character had a little to offer to the plot. Kabir Bedi and Deepak Tijori as Uday’s father and brother respectively are adequate. Deepraj Rana as Kanhaiya does his part. Soha Ali Khan returns as Ranjana, Aditya’s second wife. All she gets is two scenes and a bit more and is totally wasted. Zakir Hussain as Ranjana’s father and Nafisa Ali as Uday’s mother are okay.
Verdict: Worth a dekho!