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Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster  : Triple triumph
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Friday, September 30, 2011
Action - Thriller
Tigmanshu Dhulia
Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill, Randeep Hooda
A fascinating threesome – an arrogant, not-so-royal Saheb, his not-quite-perfect biwi, and a perfectly canny gangster with a devious plan.

The plot: Saheb (Jimmy Sheirgill) rules small town Deogarh, only in name. He can’t afford the lifestyle of a Raja since his late father handed his depleting wealth to his mistress-turned-wife. Saheb lives with his wife Madhvi Devi (Mahie Gill), the chhoti bahu of the ancestral residence. Her emotional issues and psychological problems from constant neglect by her husband cloud their relationship. In the lawless badlands of Uttar Pradesh Saheb decides to stand for elections. For this he needs money and decides to get it through extortion and contract killings. En route he piles up a heap of enemies and one of them instals  Babloo (Randeep Hooda) as a spy in the palace. Babloo poses as a driver with one goal: get Saheb’s wife and then Saheb’s life. The smooth deceiver charms his way into the confidence of the chhoti bahu who shares her empty bed with him. Next step: murder. The so-called king has to be bumped off. And the cat-and-mouse game begins, with the driver aiming for the Saheb’s position.
 
The good: The story gives you an amazing adrenaline rush as it stirs up a blizzard of raw emotions – love, intrigue, betrayal, ambition and lust. But it’s the page-turning script that steals the show, written impeccably by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chouhan. Gripping, edgy, gritty yet logical in its flow, it keeps an intelligent viewer riveted. The film is consistently unapologetic and therein lies its appeal. The story has some exciting twists and turns and you’re often left wondering, what’s next. The characterisations are brilliant with most of the main parts well-etched, layered with grey shades. Jimmy Sheirgill as the arrogant Saheb has the right amount of swagger and strut, yet the vulnerability peeps through  his ‘royal’ attitude. Mahie Gill as the mentally unstable and emotionally ravaged Biwi, never looks cheap even when she succumbs to the chauffeur’s attractions. Then there’s Randeep Hooda, who’s smooth and convincing as the attractive driver, once a small-time criminal, who has the wiles and wit to live in the royal house and plan his master’s killing after bedding his wife. All three are spectacular as they go about their sordid business. Even the other performers (like Vipin Sharma who plays Saheb’s chief rival Gainda), add their talent to the film’s repertoire. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s direction, skilful, shrewd and controlled, is most times on top of things. He rarely loses his grip of the film except in a few scenes post-interval when the pace slumps a bit. The editing is clever and every scene ends where it should.
 
The bad: The film lacks striking musical numbers or hummable tunes, but it’s a minor caveat as one is engrossed by the tight narrative.

Overall: A must-watch, especially for the discerning cinema-goer.

– Pooja Thakkar

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