Movie Review : SAHIB BIWI AUR GANGSTER
Thursday, September 29, 2011 3:20:33 PM (IST)
Anaam, Bollywood Trade Editorial
MAHI GILL IN SAHIB BIWI AUR GANGSTER
It is a smart teasing title and the film's trailer had a tinge of bright satire. It turns out to be a cheap remake of the beautifully written, directed, shot, and enacted MAQBOOL, the pinnacle of Vishal Bhardwaj's directorial glory and the best work of Tabu. You also find here the teeny-weeny traces of the classic SAHIB BIWI AUR GHULAM.
As the title suggests, it is a triangular game of romance and power tussle, set in some small UP town, involving a leading gang lord, an erstwhile prince fallen on bad times, addressed as Sahib (Jimmy Shergil) by commoners. The other corners of the triangle are Sahib's sex-starved wife (Mahie Gill), and a handsome and wily guitar playing goon Babloo (Randeep Hooda) who dares to play with fire, performing sexual chores for the Biwi, behind rocks in daylight under the open sky in a jungle terrain. He also takes a shot at the Sahib's throne. It's the Biwi who emerges triumphant in the finale. There are other peripheral players in the story like the rival gang lord Genda Singh (Vipin Sharma), Sahib's mistress (Shreya Narain), his lackey (Deepraj Rana), and the lackey's daughter (Deepal Shaw).
Though the writers, director, and the publicity designers of the film have put in extraordinary efforts to add spicy stuff like swooning, snogging, and cleavage showing in the stale tale, the down-market nature of erotica fails to turn anyone on. The anomalous mix of realism and comedy turns into poison. What does the filmmaker want the audiences to do - laugh, or cry, or take the film to be a ‘realistic' expose of the nexus of crime, caste politics, and sex in the Hindi heartland? Can we marvel at a joker's trapeze act and dangerous stunts in a circus, and laugh at the mid-air gags of a trapeze artist?
The film's promos promised a wacky and intelligent comedy instead you are delivered cinematically sub-standard stuff like soft porn, and a low-budget gangland war replete with underdeveloped scenes, implausible plots, caricaturized characters, <i>thaein-thaien</i> gunfire, and backless designer <i>cholis</i>.
It seems to be a totally title driven film made in a great hurry with a script that needed further ripening and refining. The weak foundation brings everything else down. The ensemble cast of competent actors gets wasted in the process. The film flounders on almost all fronts- writing, direction, cinematography, production design, choreography, action, etc
It is neither a full-blast commercial offering nor a carefully and lovingly crafted piece of art. Since it caters neither to the masses nor the classes, its box office performance at multiplexes as well as single screen theatres in B and C centers may not be encouraging. Above all, there could not have been a worse weekend for a low-budget independent film's release than this one. It is a martyr's day this Friday, 30thSeptember 2011, preordained for a bloody box office mayhem.
We assign two stars to the film, one for its smart title and one for the ensemble cast. It is a generous gesture if compared with MAQBOOL, the genre benchmark, and a truly five-star film in our view.
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