The life of royals and their scandals have always fascinated filmmakers and their audience. While Indian royals were once known to live an opulent life, it is also true that some of them lost their glory with time. Those who belong to the latter category tried to thrive by indulging in crime and politics. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is a story that originated from one such world. Borrowed liberally from the Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is the story of power, lust and betrayal.
As Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster turns 10, we delve into the world of the ‘not-so-royal’ royals of the story and find out what makes it a masterpiece in this week’s Throwback Thursday.
The first thing that makes Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster the OG among all the parts in the franchise that came later are the performances of all the lead actors. Jimmy Sheirgill is the Saheb, while Mahie Gill portrays the seductive Biwi. Randeep Hooda is seen in the role of the notorious gangster in this saga. Jimmy’s Aditya Pratap Singh is a royalty, just for the sake of saying. He is struggling to maintain his reputation as a royal and has ventured into politics, thus having many enemies. Every character has its own quirks, which makes the film worth a watch. Jimmy Sheirgill portrays the character to the T. As a man who has lost his wealth but not his ego and pride, he maintains his princely demeanor throughout. He epitomises the mischievous man, who can go to any extent in the greed of power.
Mahie Gill gave one of the best performances of her career in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. She also received a Filmfare Best Actress nomination for the role. One cannot strip the depressed wife, who is being neglected by her husband, away from Mahie’s Madhavi. The lust and desire for love are palpable in her eyes.
Randeep Hooda brings his rustiness to the screen as Babloo in the film. He is naive and in love with Madhavi, but at the same time, he doesn’t shy away from doing all things nasty.
EXCELLENT WRITING AND DIRECTION
When Tigmanshu Dhulia is onboard, one can expect a raw story majorly from the tier-2 city. Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is no exception. We are presented with unfiltered dialogues, written by the filmmaker and Sanjay Chauhan, coming right from the heartland. Dhulia came up with the directorial brilliance which is similar to that of Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj’s cinema. At certain moments, one can notice Anurag’s Gulaal and Vishal’s Maqbool. But Tigmanshu can’t be blamed for this as all the three directors come from the same school, not literally but theoretically.
It’s fascinating to see how Tigmanshu Dhulia didn’t succumb to the idea of the hypocrisy that breeds within royal mansions in this film. The crime angle developed around the characters is not the heart and soul of the film. Instead, the director played it straight with the focus on narrating the story of the different characters and developing them while impacting the plot.
While Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is a great watch, the screenplay does drag a bit. It also falls short on the production value, which was compensated in the second and third part of the franchise. However, the effect that the first film had on the minds of the audience couldn’t be replicated by the latter two films.
Even after 10 years of its release, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster is worth your time for a rerun.