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Returns without a Bang

  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - November 29, 2013 4:28 PM IST
    3.3DM (670 ratings)

    Verdict - An over-wrought plot becomes rather depressing to watch because of too many elements forcefully juxtaposed.

    Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster ReturnsWatch trailerRelease date : March 08, 2013

    The sequel always messes it up.

    In the first, Tigmanshu Dhulia got the character-dynamics perfectly right. It was a brilliant and a revelatory story about crumbling feudalism and its awkward interception with the political class. The new film - let's not fool ourselves or get swayed by the overbearing hustle-bustle - is plainly an exercise in excess, and although Dhulia nails it with his razor-sharp one-liners that brim with the wit of a desi Aaron Sorkin; it cannot sustain the interest in a plot that is not only over-wrought but also lacks a sense of depth and meaning.

    The themes of ambition and power, jealousy and greed, alcoholism and sex remain as it is, but it's the attempt that seems to obvious and convoluted which makes this one a lesser film than the previous. Even if we leave aside the direct comparison, Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster Returns isn't half as atmospheric and neither does it posses the palpable tension which made the first an exciting drama to watch.

    Jimmy Shergil's crippled prince recovers even as his wife, Mahie Gill's Madhavi uses his physical incapacity to buy time and extend her own political leverage. In the meanwhile, the political class of Uttar Pradesh is ripe with rumors of a division of state, and for this the four prince-cum-MLAs must reach a mutual consent. The snob and the most manipulative of them - Jimmy Shergil, demands to be married to Raj Babbar's daughter, played with effective understatement by Soha Ali Khan, who in turn is passionately in love with an apparent lobbyist (and once Royal) Irfan Khan.

    It requires tremendous amount of concentration to see a crowd of characters scheming their way to the top, but to no clear results, and quite often their elaborate schemes to manipulate are over-written, or no fun to watch. When the film becomes a power game, and the relationship dynamics change - Irfan and Mahie get intimately involved triggering an uncertain Soha to invariably develop feelings for the sole Prince Charming, the film leaves us nobody to really root for.

    In the urge to please with classic one-liners, the story gets compromised on. The long running time of nearly 3 hours doesn't help either. It is only the performances that manage to keep the viewers attention intact. Irfan, unsurprisingly leads the pack with Jimmy Shergil giving his career's best (of little that he had), and Soha Ali Khan being as charming as she's effusive. Mahie Gill appears confused, not because her character is prone to mood-swings, but she plays the part with an inconsistent body-language and dialogue-delivery. Seductress, as she convincingly looks, her act isn't all that tempting.

    Overall, the film has a few high points and some very funny moments, but has to subscribe to gimmicks rather than solely on its story (like was the case in the previous one). An RGV-inspired background score leads to further disappointment. The sequel always messes it up.

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