Love, sex aur dhokha -- that's a lethal combo and many a film-maker has integrated these elements in the plotline of his/her film. Tigmanshu Dhulia's new offering SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER merges power and politics with love, lust and betrayal, resulting in a heady cocktail that hits your mind.
Let's go back a bit! Soon after the first look poster of SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER was unveiled on Bollywood Hungama, the one question that avid moviegoers posed was, is SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER a contemporary take on Guru Dutt's classic SAHIB BIBI AUR GULAM? Perhaps, the similar-sounding titles may have led moviegoers to ask this question. But, frankly, the two films just cannot be compared, though, I wish to add, the characters are borrowed from there, but the plot and milieu are entirely different.
Novel stories are the order of the day and you expect a formidable film-maker like Tigmanshu Dhulia to narrate stories that one hasn't heard/explored earlier. SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER lives up to the expectations, on that front. Though it's not Tigmanshu's best effort [I genuinely feel he's capable of much more], I'd like to state that the film has several moments that bowl you completely, dialogue that deserve an ovation and of course, stellar act by the principal actors of this film.
On the flipside, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER loosens up quite a bit towards the middle of the second hour. The writing could've been tighter for sure. Yet, all said and done, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER is an interesting and absorbing watch!
Based in a small town in the Northern part of India, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER tells the story of a beautiful Begum [Mahie Gill], her Nawab husband [Jimmy Shergill] and an ambitious young man [Randeep Hooda]. The Nawab and his Begum live in their ancestral royal house, trying to maintain the status their ancestors had left behind. But due to the changing times, some extreme financial conditions, the Nawab tries real hard to maintain his status and financial conditions.
Nawab's rival political party, belonging to Gainda Singh [Vipin Sharma], is on a constant mission to eliminate the Nawab and his allies to get a hold of the administration, which has been with this royal family for decades. Eventually leaving him with just one, Kanahiya [Deepraj Rana], who is Nawab's most trusted aide.
Due to the Nawab's interest in his beautiful mistress, Begum suffers seriously from the lack of his attention and tries to put every bit of her effort into getting him to come back to her or even spend a moment of his time with her. The Nawab starts taking contract killing assignments to be able to cope up with his lifestyle and to be able to get a stronger hold over his political situation, while campaigning for the elections, which becomes a difficult battle considering the loss of his allies and deteriorating financial situation.
There's a twist in the tale when the rival gang plants Babloo [Randeep Hooda] as the temporary driver for Begum as her age-old driver meets with an accident, which was also conspired by the same group. Begum, who's suffering from the lack of her husband's attention, gets into a sexual relationship with this young driver. In the process, Babloo falls deeply in love with the Begum and lands up confessing of his connections and intentions in front of the Nawab. This is exactly the point where the entire drama between the Saheb, his Biwi and Babloo, the gangster, begins.
SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER is largely engaging for its plot and also the execution of the written material. The strong narrative maintains focus, without diversifying into unwanted subplots. In short, nothing happens unless it's significant to the main plot. Besides, there are ample twists and turns that catch you completely unaware, but there are times when you wonder how did this happen? Like, for instance, the sequence when Randeep reveals it all to Jimmy. It looks too sudden. Also, Mahie's confession to the person standing behind the curtain [presuming him to be Jimmy] doesn't cut ice either.
The dramatic sequences in the film get elevated to another level, courtesy the powerful dialogue. This is one of those rare films where several novel lines linger in your memory much after the movie has concluded. One rarely gets to hear such power-packed lines in Hindi movies these days. Cinematography is perfect. The soundtrack is okay, with 'Jugni' being the pick of the lot.
The hard work and expertise of the director are echoed by the entire star cast. From playing a love struck boy-next-door, Jimmy Shergill has evolved into an intense, character-driven actor. He delivers yet another sparkling performance in SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER. Randeep proves that there's a lot of talent in him that needs to be tapped. In fact, his performance, towards the latter reels specifically, will pleasantly surprise a lot of people. Mahie shines in a role that seems tailor-made for her. She's excellent as the neglected biwi and also someone who seeks refuge in another man to satisfy her physical needs. It won't be erroneous to say that she outdoes her previous performances and excels in a rather complex role.
Deepraj Rana is terrific as Jimmy's trusted aide. Deepal Shaw impresses a great deal. Vipin Sharma is first-rate. Rajeev Gupta, as the minister, is another talent to watch out for. Shreya Narayan, as the mistress, is perfect.
On the whole, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER is a well-made film that works for its powerful plot, engaging script, commanding dialogue and super performances. Tigmanshu Dhulia has had the guts to do something unusual within commercial parameters and the effort needs to be lauded.