Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 Movie Review: Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill's Standout Performances and Sanjay Dutt's Gangsta Act Add Spunk to This Twisty Thriller
Movie Review - Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3

While people rave about blockbuster franchises like Dhoom, Housefull and Tiger series, director-producer Tigmanshu Dhulia has created a niche franchise of his own in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. Unlike the other aforementioned series, SBAG series may not have entered Rs 100 crore club, but has managed to impress the critics and the fans of twisted thrillers with plenty of dark humour. Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 brings back Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill, the main players from the previous movies with Sanjay Dutt being the new gangster in town. Here's what we feel about the third instalment of the Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster trilogy,

Aditya Pratap Singh aka Saheb (Jimmy Sheirgill) is still in jail for the false murder he was convicted of at the end of the second film. In the meantime, his first wife Madhavi aka the Biwi (Mahie Gill) is making merry in his absence, enjoying the power of being an elected MP and having her share of one-night stands. She also does her best to keep her husband in jail through any crooked means. However, the smart Saheb finally manages to get bail and decides to snatch the power from his wife. As part of her counter-game, Madhavi befriends Kunwar Uday Pratap Singh (Sanjay Dutt), a London-returned club-owner with his own royal family issues, and try to pit him against Saheb. Who will double-cross whom and who will emerge alive is what the rest of the movie is all about.

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 begins with Sanjay Dutt's character, in a hoodie and all a la Ethan Hunt, playing a modified game of Russian Roulette. Bathed in red neon lights, the scene manages to create an aura for the actor which looks to befit his stature. While this works as a good intro scene for Dutt, I was worried if the spotlight will be mostly on him through the entire movie. Just like how Dhoom series got obsessed with the superstars they got as antagonists, leaving their actual protagonists sidelined.

However, Dhulia is not a director who plays according to box office rules. Even though he plays to Dutt's star-power in certain scenes, he makes sure that both Jimmy and Mahie's characters remain the prime focus.

In fact, I found most of Dutt's portions weak, especially in the first half where he leads a gangsta life in London. These scenes don't have the Dhulia touch, we have seen in his previous works. There is a particular sequence where two businessmen seek Uday's intervention and one of them tries to insult him. This scene is played in such a meek manner, that even though Uday has the upper hand with the Baba theme playing in the background, it makes very less impact. Also, his romance with Shuni (Chitrangda Singh) feels very awkward, as the age-difference is clearly evident, which is made more uncomfortable with an addition of a romantic song. Also, even though he has played gangster roles before, Dutt feels stiff in some scenes. It is only towards the latter part of the film that he actually looks more relaxed in his role.

'Cos here's where Dutt's character is thrown in the wicked politics of brains, blood and lust between the Saheb and the Biwi. Whenever the movie is about these two, the proceedings come alive with some really intelligent writing and excellent dark humour, aided by the terrific performances of Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill. Their characters are two of the most twisted roles written in mainstream Bollywood cinema, and it is quite fun to see these two try to outplay each other.

Saheb is still the sexist, haughty, power-hungry aristocrat, whose pain is easily felt when he realises the public adulation he has been enjoying like a birthright, has gone to his scheming wife. So hungry is he for his power that Aditya is willing to place his life at risk for a dangerous game just for the support of a few royals. The Biwi, meanwhile, is what makes the trilogy the most women-empowering franchise in Bollywood. A product of Saheb's indifference, she has become the master of the game and would go to any means, even murder, to be the Woman on Top. She is shrewd, seductive and manipulative, even controlling those who are unwilling to fall for her charm.

We can easily see that the writers (Dhulia and Sanjay Chauhan) are having fun, writing the devious schemes through which Saheb and Biwi look to outwit each other, even when they give in to their passions. This power-play leads to some exciting scenes in the second half, as the Saheb is doing anything to take back control, while the Biwi is not willing to forgo hers. Even when Dutt's weakly-written gangster is thrown into the mix, it leads to smart dilemmas of misguided ambitions. Madhavi manipulates Uday to kill Aditya, while the latter two find respect for each other, after recognising that they both are outcasts in their own twisted ways. Dhulia also manages to subtly insert how PR and media play in the hands of the politicians, without going overboard.

On the contrary, the track of Uday's uncle (Kabir Bedi) and brother (Deepak Tijori) wanting to kill him feels very contrived. But things certainly heat up when these tracks meet, leading to a very exciting, twisty game of Russian Roulette this side of The Deer Hunter. It is at this moment that we truly realise we don't know whom to root for - save for Shuni, each character in the movie is devious in one way or that another. That's exactly the lovely USP of the series - there is no hero!

The dark humour strewn throughout hits the sweet spot, like the previous movies. A usual lunch table talk between Saheb, Madhavi and his mother ends up with the Biwi having dizziness and accusing him of poisoning her, while he bemusedly wonders what's wrong with her. A character tries to escape getting killed by another by hiding in a swimming pool, only to lose his breath, surface and get shot.

However, things again spiral downwards in the climax. Even with bloodshed and twists, the director goes for a rushed job in these portions and looks to be in a hurry to end it on a sequel-bait note. What didn't work here is the love story of one of the main characters that didn't leave the desired impact in the conclusion. It prevented Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3 on going out on a high.

Among the actors, Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill once again deliver with aplomb. Jimmy Sheirgill is truly one of the most underrated actors in town. He is on top of the game here, sinking his teeth in an author-backed role with relish. Even some of the weaker lines sound great through his mouth. It is sad to see that Mahie Gill is becoming to this franchise what Uday Chopra is to Dhoom, for this talented actress deserves more. She is a delight to watch in every scene she is in, be it when commandingly guiding a potential lover to her guest room, wilfully playing men around her fingers or angrily making a diabetic politician eat his own sweets. Let's hope we do not get to watch Mahie only in the next SBAG movie or a minor part in silly films like Phamous or Buddha in a Traffic Jam.

Chitrangda's performance has spunk, even though her character ends up being a powerless, love interest. Soha Ali Khan is just there for a couple of scenes. Nafisa Ali's stilted performance is jarring. Kabir Bedi, Deepak Tijori, Deepraj Rana are all okay in their supporting roles.

The cinematography and the editing are quite average. In some of the scenes shot abroad, we can clearly identify stock footage with the actual ones. The songs are average, while a couple of them, including Dutt-Singh's romantic track and an item song at a club, feel perfunctory. The dialogues are more of a hit-and-miss affair; some work, some doesn't.

Yay!

- Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill

- Dutt, towards the later portions of the film

- Any scene involving the Saheb and the Biwi

- BG score

- Black humour

- The thrilling, twisty second half

Nay!

- Some of Sanjay Dutt's portions, especially his romantic track

- A comparatively weak first half

- A couple of unwanted songs

- Average technical values

- A rushed less impactful climax with a sequel-bait ending

Final Thoughts

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 may be the weakest in the trilogy, but it has its moments of brilliance, aided by terrific performances by Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill. If you like your movies dark, twisty and black-humoured, then the Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 can appeal to you, even if it is uneven at times. A little more polishing of Dutt's track and a tighter hold of things in the first half and the climax would have worked wonders for this film.

Rating:
3 out of 5