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Fatal attraction


Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster

Rating: 2.5

September 30, 2011

Cast: Jimmy Shergill, Randeep Hooda, Mahie Gill,Vipin Sharma, Deepal Shaw

Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

In a nod to the Guru Dutt classic from which it derives its title, director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster explores the premise of a married woman’s isolation in a sprawling estate, and the unlikely relationship she forms with a devoted male help. Sadly that’s where the comparisons must end. For where Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam was the poignant portrait of a complex friendship, Dhulia’s film is an over-simplistic and somewhat predictable tale of love and betrayal.

Mahie Gill is the mentally fragile wife of Jimmy Shergill, a former royal struggling to keep up appearances in hard times. Unloved and neglected by a husband who spends more time conspiring against his enemies or in the arms of his mistress, Mahie finds herself seduced by the charms of Randeep Hooda, her scruffy driver. Randeep, incidentally, is working as an informant for her husband’s rival, who is making plans to take down the royal.

The film opens intriguingly and maintains an even pace, but it’s betrayed ultimately by a confused script that hobbles around in all directions, never quite finding its rhythm. Dhulia knows the milieu, so the film has an earthiness that is attractive, and much of the dialogue is clever. Yet, key dramatic scenarios are handled amateurishly – like a sequence in which a simple misunderstanding causes Jimmy to cut off the mistress he’s so vulnerable to. Or one in which Mahie pours her heart out to her husband from the other side of a curtain; only turns out it isn’t her husband on the other side. It’s lapses of logic like these that are unforgivable.

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is ambitious in its idea, and the dynamics of the relationships between its central characters are nicely handled. But Dhulia slips up in the tiny details. An uncomfortable tension between Jimmy’s character and his step-mother is never convincingly justified, and no adequate explanation is provided for Mahie’s delicate mental condition. The film’s music score, attributed to as many as seven composers, is terrible to say the least, barring the spirited Jugni track.

The film is saved to some degree by the credible performances that Dhulia extracts from his lead actors: Mahie Gill, Jimmy Shergill, and particularly Randeep Hooda whose rakish charm is his character’s strongest weapon. The solid acting keeps your interest grounded in the film, despite the script’s shortcomings.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out five for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster – it’s inspired by a classic, but let down by its own triteness. Not a perfect film, but one that has its moments.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

8 Responses to “Fatal attraction”

  1. maverick_aj says:

    man man….u hit the nail n its head….itz realy over simplistic..!
    itz a movie dat cld have been so so much better giving the original guru dutt starrer a run for its money.
    take a note from a movie lyk yeh saali zindagi….datz iz how movies shld be presented…lyk a puzzle…givng you chances to solve it…not just handling the completed puzzle…dis one is sadly one of doze..!
    maybe i m overdng d thng….but went in wid so much exprctatns…..nd now jst disapponted…!!!

  2. Anup Pandey says:

    Yeah..almost true.. quite predictable and not thrilling with twists and turns.. Sir, read my full review here: http://thepuccacritic.blogspot.com/2011/09/saheb-biwi-aur-gangster.html

  3. yasir says:

    Whn u gv 2.5 star its worthwatching bcoz u are dam
    Kanjoos in gvng star i l gv 3.5.

  4. Anirudha says:


    Would like to know what is the perfect film?

  5. AKshay says:

    I saw the film today and think you are just were slightly harsh on the film. Firstly, i havnt seen the original, so this leaves lesser room for me to be critical.

    What worked for me in the film:

    1) Explored the grandeur of “power” from politicians to a jealous boyfriend who wants his name cleared from a case.
    2) Mahie Gill’s character .
    3) The game play of “can do anything” to get into power, where ethics doesnt matter. This is a true fact of our society.
    4) Character build-ups.
    5) The intense passion and romance scenes were shown very bravely and in a casual manner.

    What could have been better:

    1) If the movie time would have been reduced , as in the second half after a point you feel little draggy.
    2) Little Predictability factor was there.
    3) Randeep Hoodas power seeking journey was weakly shown.

    Nonetheless, for a comparatively low budget film, i think this was a job well done.

  6. monu says:

    FYI perfect movies delhi belly. dhobi ghat , aandhi ,blackmail (old) ,sahib bibi aur ghulam , pyasa just to name a few..

  7. Manish says:

    good movie going with 3.5*

  8. Rajib Mitra says:

    Mahie Gill is getting typecast in these ‘tharky’ roles. Sad

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