Movie review: Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns

Poster of Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns

Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill, Irrfan, Soha Ali Khan

Direction: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Rating: 4 Star Rating: Recommended 4 Star Rating: Recommended4 Star Rating: Recommended

Royal scandals never fail to regale. In any case when Tigmanshu Dhulia has a new film lined up, a loyal fan base is always waiting to watch. Add to it the fact that Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns is the sequel of a film that has already captured imagination.

Tigmanshu’s new film follows up the delectably degenerate tale of a royal clan in the UP heartland that kicked off with his 2011 crossover thriller Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. Gloss over the grammatical gaffe in the title (shouldn’t it be Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Return?), and the sequel is actually meaner fare, more extravagant in the canvas it spreads and smarter in the way it manipulates relationships. This one’s a more compelling watch than the first film.

The wanton Biwi, Madhavi Devi (Mahie Gill), is now an MLA. She has taken over the crippled Saheb’s political domain, but only on paper. Her status as Aditya Partap Singh’s (Jimmy Sheirgill) wife is only for public show and Madhavi privately continues battling her demons of alcoholism. Aditya the Saheb, despite being bound to a wheelchair, has lost none of his vile traits.

The sequel gets going with the entry of Indarjeet Singh (Irrfan), erstwhile prince whose family lost everything owing to Aditya’s ancestors. Indar plots revenge. Things get complicated when Aditya decides to go for a second marriage and his glad eye falls on Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan), Indar’s secret lover.

Tigmanshu and his co-writer Kamlesh Pandey pen a game of deceit that captivates, as it becomes obvious that every protagonist is out to use the others. In essence, the sequel follows the basic pattern of the first film – only the twists this time are more imaginative, the story more complex and thrills smarter.

Like the first film too, this sequel thrives on being a cerebral tease. Tigmanshu’s cinematic style has always banked on subtlety. The twists, no matter how audacious, invariably creep into the plot silently, often with a hint of black comedy. There is a sense of irony that defines Tigmanshu’s vision, evident in his past works. That bit wholly benefits the suspense quotient in his new film.

Jimmy and Mahie turn up with new-improved versions of acts they have already essayed, ones that were always tailormade for them. Jimmy’s Aditya is deception personified. He proves again he is perhaps the most underrated actor in Bollywood right now. Mahie alternates oomph and angst to play out the bizarre mix of alpha woman, seductress and vulnerable alcoholic. Irrfan is rage personified. You spot the actor’s trademark swagger as he plays out the scheming Indarjeet. It’s not the best you will ever see him do, but then Irrfan is always a pleasure to watch. Pitted among such fine actors, Soha Ali Khan seems somewhat jaded. A little more screen presence would have helped.

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