Oh see, they have a script…
Meet Saheb (Jimmy Sheirgill), a royal who has the status but no money; Chhoti Rani (Mahie Gill), his alcoholic and volatile biwi (wife) and Babloo (Randeep Hooda), a local goon (can’t really call him a gangster) who becomes her driver and later, lover. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster’ lives up to the interesting title and keeps you engaged till the last sequence. In a time where film makers struggle to have a basic plot or present downright stupid stuff, Dhulia’s film has an interesting story (written by Dhulia himself and Sanjay Chouhan) and some interesting dialogue (cheesy at times though). Having said that, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster falls short of being a perfect thriller due to its length.
The film’s strength, as mentioned earlier is its writing; while the story is largely predictable, you enjoy the numerous twists and turns in the screenplay. The other good thing about the film is an interesting cast and all of them justify their roles. Jimmy Sheirgill has great screen presence and his stylist helps him get the perfect royal look and demeanour. He is also an interesting choice to play a raja who has different moral yardsticks for himself and others; you don’t dislike him and yet you do not approve of his actions. Mahie Gill is confident and brings equal amount of madness and vulnerability to the character. And lastly, Randeep Hooda who is the surprise factor in the film; he shows how much he has grown as an actor since his first appearance as an NRI in Monsoon Wedding. He is convincing as a cheeky driver who has other motives on mind. His body language changes basis who he interacts with; he is submissive with Saheb and rogue with Saheb’s Biwi. The supporting cast however disappoints a bit as no one stands out; Deepal Shaw is completely wasted in a character that doesn’t grow.
The film’s music is nothing that you’d remember but the opening track, Jugni (vocals: Babbu Maan; music: Jaidev Kumar) is catchy and has some funny lyrics. The songs, especially the one where Saheb’s mistress is introduced could have been avoided. They do not help the movie but act as speed bumps in the otherwise engaging narrative. Aseem Mishra’s cinematography is nice and so is the production design; they help set the right mood, which could have been a challenge keeping in mind the setting and the low budget of the film. The editor, Rahul Srivastava could have been a little bit more brutal and kept the film under two-hours to maintain the pace. Overall, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is an interesting one time watch if you’re willing to forgive some silly things here and there.
My rating: * * * Three on five
– Shrey Khetarpal