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Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns  : Returns Off Track
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Friday, March 8, 2013
Tigmanshu Dhulia
Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill, Soha Ali Khan, Irrfan Khan
Like all genuine sequels, it takes off from where it left the last time – with Aditya Pratap Singh aka Saheb (Jimmy Sheirgill) in a wheelchair. Thereafter, it stumbles much like Chhoti Rani Madhavi (Mahie Gill) and rapidly slides downward. There is a new gangster on the scene with new motives, and a new catalyst to drive them. But neither manages to bring the film back to its original graph of rising intrigue.
The plot: You have already been introduced to the decadent world of the royals where nobody’s completely virtuous. Now meet wheelchair-bound Saheb, a wounded lion in his den, but who retains the ‘king of all he surveys’ arrogance. Wife Madhavi drinks and drives, stumbles around sloshed, smokes and seduces, and smartly plays her politics. Gangster Inderjeet Singh (Irrfan Khan), also of royal lineage in the badlands of Deogarh, has two passions: a growing thirst to avenge the destruction of his family heritage by Saheb and two, his heart ticks wildly and solely for blue-blooded Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan). When Saheb falls in love with Ranjana, the gangster’s revenge is double-edged.  Using Madhavi’s unstable ways and political wiles to thicken his plot, he’s ready to stoop to the lowest. There are betrayals, bullets and bends in the tale but unfortunately, not riveting enough to intrigue.

The good: This time Tigmanshu Dhulia the dialogue writer, scores far better than Tigmanshu the screenplay writer. Punchy lines like, ‘Hamari toh gaali pe bhi taali padti hai’, ‘Wheelchair pe toh sab ek jaise dikhte hai….bechare’, ‘Pata hai saheb kyun bach gaya?  Usey hamare haatho marna hai’, ‘Pistol…yeh toh zinda rehne ki zaroorat thi jo shauk ban gayi’, ’Pata hai mard kyun zyaada gaali dete hai? Kyunki woh rote kum hai…’ are strewn all over, covering up for a sloppy script.
Certain scenes also carry the original stamp of Tigmanshu the director, like Inderjeet Singh interviewing  neta Tiwariji (meticulously played by Rajeev Gupta), where impeccable comic timing brings in a moment of fun.  In fact the humour quotient is pretty high this time around.
What also keeps the film afloat is the performance by a handpicked cast which delivers even though the characters aren’t well layered. Jimmy is suitably pitiable and ruthlessly stoic as the scenes meander this way and that. He certainly looks the part too. Mahie retains her tag of being the ultimate budtameez but is not 100 per cent efficient all through. The new presence of Irrfan and Soha rings bang-on authentic.  Pravesh Rana as Inderjeet’s brother Param, makes a confident debut.

The bad: There’s confusion and plenty happening but nothing leads to one substantial main plot. Comparing a sequel to its original is inevitable and this time around Tigmanshu loses his way. Unlike the engrossing nature of the first where strong characters with definite motives, and palace shenanigans kept you curious right through, the sequel leaves you emotionally disconnected with any of the characters.
Also, Tigmanshu’s old predilection for UP politics (watch Haasil) surfaces, at the cost of the twists and turns of the palace intrigues that had refreshed the original.  It ultimately boils down to a moral-less manipulative woman’s rise in public life. And yes, Tigmanshu leaves a door wide open for yet another sequel to this portentous concept. 

With Dhulia at the helm, the sleazy unwanted items from Mugdha Godse and Anjana Sukhani come as a complete shocker and again lower the graph of the film from where it doesn’t return.
There are also some basic contradictions in the characterisations: Saheb has the right connections to get any unethical job done in faraway Dubai but he’s helpless on home turf when he’s put away by the cops.

Unpardonable is that, unlike the original which had it in plenty, there is no tension built up that can hold the audience in a spell, making them wonder, what next?

Overall: Any resemblance to the original is coincidental.

Pooja Thakkar

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