Direction: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Production: Tigmanshu Dhulia, Rahul Mittra
Screenplay: Tigmanshu Dhulia & Sanjay Chauhan
Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill, Sanjay Dutt, Zakir Hussain, Mahie Gill, Kabir Bedi, Deepak Tijori, Deep Raj Rana, Chitrangada Singh, Soha Ali Khan
Cinematography: Amalendu Chaudhry
Editing: Praveen Angre
Music: Dharma Vish
Hindi / Action, Crime, Drama / 140 mins / India / 2018
Dhulia, Gill and Sheirgill are back. ‘Thanks Gods’? Well, depends on how much you love the franchise. Sheirgill as Saheb a.k.a Vijay Pratap Singh charms once again and Gill (read Mahie) as Biwi/Madhavi thickens the plot by plotting again. She is wiser, smarter and Oh-so-conniving you almost want to forgive Saheb’s machinations from his earlier lives and push for his win.
As always the plot comes with a new gangster in tow (read Sanjay Dutt as Uday Pratap Singh) who will be used to further Biwi’s new found political ambitions. There is more – Uday Pratap unlike his counterparts (Randeep Hooda in ‘Saheb Biwi aur Gangster’ and Irrfan in ‘Saheb Biwi aur Gangster Returns’) comes with a dad, brother and mother in tow – read Kabir Bedi, Deepak Tijori and Nafisa Ali. Plus, he loves Russian roulette and Suhani (Chitrangada Singh).
Beyond this, Dhulia does little to spin the tale more. The intrigues in the decadent Rajwaras /royal households continue and it takes all of one’s concentration to figure out how the freshly introduced characters are adding to the story, because they seriously are not. For instance Singh as Suhani is wasted. Period. An actress of her calibre needs a role of substance to bite into - which this film fails to provide. As a nautch girl loyal to and in love with Uday Pratap, she has little to do except wait around for him and fob off his younger brother. Singh is gifted, a natural and great material as an actor and cannot be used on the fringes of a story. Surely Dhulia could have thought of more for her.
Uday’s love for Suhani dilutes his motive to go for a man whom he barely knows. Dutt and his swagger move in slow motion from one frame to another hardly adding to the plot. He is far milder when compared to his predecessors both of whom were actually pivotal to the plot and contributed immensely to the conspiracies. ‘Superstar’ Dutt gets his own ‘Baba’ song but that just seems to be pandering to his stardom rather than adding to the plot. As an aside, one cannot help but wish Ranbir Kapoor had stepped in as Sanju Baba to perform the role! Things would have been far different and so much more fun. There is no doubt he is better than the original!!
Gill as Madhavi is seen in darker shades of grey and wilier in her ways than before, and does justice to the substantive screen space she is given. She has finally started using her eyes to emote and that’s definitely a plus. Scenes where her temper gets better of her or where she is being devious, is where Gill scores a point over her co-stars. But the character sees little growth otherwise.
Still, while Gill comes unto her own in this part, Sheirgill as Vijay Pratap does a great job of vacillating between loving and being distrustful of his wife by turns. But at no point does he come across as a man obsessed to snatch power back. His arrogance is down a couple of tones making him more human but does that take a bite out of his persona? Yes, it does. After all, one year in jail really doesn’t change a man that much.
Overall, Amalendu Chaudhry’s camerawork in Bikaner, Rajasthan captures the tall and stately havelis of the erstwhile princely states which hide so much deception within. The filmmakers may have moved away from Devgadh Baria in Gujarat (where the earlier two films of the franchise have been shot) citing ‘logistical issues’, but it’s a good move. The luxurious, lonely spaces lit up in soft, warm tones are in sharp contrast to the protagonists who live out their lives in dark spaces of their blackened souls. ‘Saheb Biwi aur Gangster 3’ may not pack a punch but you could watch it for Gill and Sheirgill.