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Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns - Review

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
quick review:

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns is a thriller worth its salt putt off by a few inconsistencies. Don't miss it, especially if you don't mind a good game of political double-crossing.

Audio review (subscribe):
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[Poster for Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns]

What would a king be if it were not for his ego masked under his pride? Even when he shows care and tenderness, there is an air of, "See, I can be nice." The queens are helpless, assured about their helplessness and yet maintain their dignity with elegance and grace. Or at least try to. And they are all hurt, conniving, and devious when they want to be. Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns etches its characters in much more detail than this broad stroke and is a huge step ahead of the first installment.

Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns is one of those rare thrillers, with double-crossing at its core, to get the balance right. This once, the motivations are more or less clear and the character transformations are digestible given the context of the film. Yet, the film doesn't lose out on its unpredictability. You know that pretty much each one of the main leads is capable of anything, especially if wronged, yet you are curious about their next move.

At more than two junctures, a character is put in a wonderful dilemma. A dilemma that tests their loyalties and makes them question the loyalty of the person presenting the dilemma too. This is the most significant improvement over Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster, aided by the fact that sex isn't the only symbol of being in love. Unfortunately, some of these dilemmas don't see a proper conclusion. They are sort-of left hanging in the air.

Another distraction was the ambiance. Surely, the film had a majestic air about it. But that is only because of the performances, the language used - aristocracy oozing out of words. The rest of the setting, the background music, the production design were far removed from being royal. Yes, the palaces are supposed to be dilapidated. But some inconsistencies throw you off, like a run-down palace has a modern, expensive shower head, in the bathroom.

On the other hand a Polo sequence takes you to an atmosphere far away from where you are, into their world, into poised men and women who'd cross any limits to honor what they believe to be their heritage. But you don't stay their through the film, even for scenes that are set in palaces. For example, a wailing baby in the background seems completely out of place.

Also, out of place are some decisions. Did we really need an item number? Even worse, did we need a Raj Babbar to be comic relief in the said song? And how much of a sore thumb is the 'returns' in the title?!

If you let that be though, the lead characters are lovely shades of grey. Even if Mahie Gill didn't play it out well, her Madhavi wants it all with minimum effort is the most intriguing. Soha Ali Khan's Ranjana might be the lightest shade of grey, but some events in life do bring out the worst in you, don't they? These women are not the strongest ones around, but they somehow manage to stay on top.

Of the cast, Mahie Gill sticks out as over-the-top. Right, she is the sex-deprived unsuccessful seductress, who finds her way out through a drink and another, but she is extremely unconvincing. Especially amidst other wonder lead performances. Both Jimmy Shergill and Soha Ali Khan have a screen presence befitting their characters' ancestry. Jimmy Shergill more than Soha Ali Khan. Irrfan Khan as the only one fighting for his family's honor is as goofy and likable as he always is.

Just for these performances and some sharp dialogue laced around obviously film-y lines, Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns is a decent watch. Add to that well-written lead characters and it becomes a must watch that can make you let the follies be.

- meetu, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few gun shots.
  • Language: Aristocratic. Though I have a feeling it might be considered pedestrian by real-life royalty, from yesteryears.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of making out scenes. One lip-to-lip kiss.
  • Concept: Love, honor, betrayal.
  • General Look and Feel: Elegant for most parts.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 4
  • Screenplay: 4
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns - Movie Details

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns - Trailer

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Comments (9)

Manik:

I'm looking forward to this one.

meetu:

@Manik So, how did you like it?

Manik:

Haven't seen it yet. I just wanted to ask you something..if one has hasn't seen the 1st part, will he still be able to get the 2nd part ? I've seen the 1st but my friends haven't...

meetu:

@Manik Yeah, they should actually. Except for the equation between Aditya (Jimmy Shergill) and his wife, Madhavi (Mahie Gill), everything is more or less fresh. So, you could give them that background.

Suman:

Direction: 2
Story: 3.5
Lead Actors: 3
Character Artists: 2

Dialogues: 2
Screenplay: 2.5
Music Director: 0
Lyrics: 0

B.H.Harsh:

The ibnlive link redirects to India Today review for 'Saare Jahan se Mehenga'...

meetu:

Hey Harsh! Thanks for pointing it out, fixed!

Samir Singh:

A good example of how the different aspects of film-making(eg;acting, dialogue, screenplay and direction etc) can be quite good and still the finished whole may be disappointing.
One observation: the very unpredictability of most of the characters, robs the twists in the plot of its frisson.
I agree, Meetu, the comic relief in the item number was completely out of place and harked back to the 70s and 80s when Prem Chopra or Amrish Puri would play the fool around the cabaret dancer. Also the faux interview with the minister, though entertaining because of 2 good actors(Irrfan & Rajeev Gupta) flirted with the slapstick and did not really belong.

meetu:

@Samir It is subjective, no? This time the unpredictability of the characters worked for me, in terms of bringing unpredictability within the plot. Agree with you about the interview.

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