Saheb Biwi aur Gangster is a film with powerful characters; a power hungry Saheb (Jimmy Sheirgill), his equally ambitious Biwi (Mahie Gill) and a Gangster with a sound affect (Sanjay Dutt). When he appears on the screen, we hear Baba, Baba, sabka Boss! Like a shady gutka ad. Amidst these warring characters, the film compels you to take sides. I was rooting for my favourite one too: Caramel Popcorn. It was far crunchier, crispier and more delicious than what rolled out on the screen.
Random things happen all of a sudden and conveniently forgotten too. Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan) is (almost) murdered. Her protective father wants to kill her husband Aditya (Jimmy Sheirgill) but never bothers to investigate into the attempted murder of his daughter and find out about the possible killer. The writers happily forget about her. And suddenly when it dawns on them that she is not dead but hospitalized, we see random shots of her on the hospital bed.
Then there is another murder. Of another woman. The proceedings of this murder are so inane that you wonder if the writer of the film got paid or not. Oops. My bad. I am being too presumptuous here that there was a writer! Ok, back to the murder. A man is asked to fetch a royal painting to flaunt it to a politician taking the tour of the Raj Mahal. On his way back, he kills the woman his brother loves. Why? Because it's a Tigmanshu Dhulia film where characters you see are very unpredictable. Under this garb of edgy uncertainty, he makes his characters do anything anywhere.
For instance, Baba (Sanjay) leaves his empire in London conveniently and returns to India within hours. It takes me longer and many more anxiety ridden moments to decide for a filter on a goddamn Instagram picture!
We understand that characters are hungry and ambitious in their desperate times. But there is hardly any build-up. Suddenly privy purses and Spanish diplomats and Rajwada history are pushed down our throats without any notice. There are silly love songs and item numbers that unnecessarily add to the length of the film and add no respite whatsoever.
Aditya's Man Friday is now accompanied by his daughter because we need better technology to protect his highness. Better technology? That's right. For example, she puts a microphone in Aditya's pocket to eavesdrop a conversation that's happening literally five cms away. Ha! She even uses better technology to turn off the lights of the palace. Wow. Mind blowing.
Even the much hyped climax of the Russian Roulette is tackled shoddily. Aditya and Baba come face to face in a game where they have to shoot themselves by a gun loader with only one bullet. Luck, fear, gore, excitement, thrill...so much could have been packed in this scene! It could have been an Abbas Mastan kind of thrilling moment where we don't know what will jump at us, who will win and who will be shot dead. Alas it ends abruptly! In fact the scheming behind the scene is not even explained properly.
What compensates for such insipid writing are the film's talented actors. Jimmy Sheirgill, sounding sometimes like a Delhite and at other times, a Haryanvi, manages to speak a lot with his eyes. Mahie Gill is like Tabu, sassy and classy and unpredictable. In a scene when Aditya hugs her with an apology, the uncertainty in her eyes is commendable.
Tigmanshu is known for writing memorable lines. Who can forget his 'men swear more because they sob less' in the film's prequel? Or the intense 'Sabse jyada pasand mujhe yeh dooriyaan hain...' in Dil Se? This film doesn’t give us even one memorable dialogue.
Saheb Biwi aur Gangster disappoints. Watch it at your own risk.