Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 movie cast: Sanjay Dutt, Jimmy Shergill, Mahi Gill, Deepraj Rana, Chitrangada Singh, Deepak Tijori, Kabir Bedi, Soha Ali Khan, Nafisa Ali
Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 movie director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 movie rating: 2 stars
The SBAG rajwaada is back for a third-go-round, and so is the series’ hallmark murderous intrigue and bloody ambition, and familiar characters reprising their roles, with a new addition or two.
Saheb (Shergill) is plotting to get out of jail, where we left him at the end of the second instalment. Biwi (Gill) has grown in ambition and influence, and has no intention of losing ground, or stepping aside for the returnee. And Gangster, played this time by Dutt, is the guy who barges in to upset this heaving apple-cart.
The guilty pleasures of the franchise are spread out quickly enough: the lords and the bawds, the fading glory and the clinging to it at any cost, the lack of visible morals, which made the last two films so compelling. But much too soon, this part three loses steam: the director’s best work comes from his deep knowledge of his characters and why they do the twisty, unpredictable, vile things they do – except for Shergill who feels mostly rooted in this milieu, with Gill keeping him able company, none of the other principals feel as authentic.
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There’s too much scatter-shot action, with the plot all over the place, especially in the second half, when the unraveling proceeds apace. It’s a crowded film, and several characters get short shrift: Soha Ali Khan, as the permanently inebriated ‘second wife’ of Saheb, is blink-and-miss, Nafisa Ali as the helpless ‘rajmaata’ even more so, and some peripheral characters seem to be around just to add local colour, and nothing more.
The weakest link is Sanjay Dutt’s gangster, who feels grafted on to the landscape. He gets a whistle-worthy introduction, and an appropriately louche setting (a London nightclub with pole dancers and dark-eyed hoods), but his return to the UP homestead, and his ghagra-twirling mistress (Singh) is the beginning of the end of the film.
I missed the poignancy of a lost era, with its lost people, clinging desperately to their fading power, that Dhulia managed to create in the first two films. You can see it in Shergill’s ramrod straight figure, and his awareness of the times gone by. You can see it in Gill’s playing of the woman scorned, who is both drawn to and repelled by her Saheb: there’s lushness in both her figure and feelings, a shared history of rancid love and hate.
Much more money has been spent in this part, to make it plusher. It’s shinier, sure, but much less on point. In the power-hungry, sexually charged games the trio and its hangers-on play, there’s a lot more that topples than towers.
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