By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
A year-and-a-half later, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER RETURNS. The setting is the same; the principal characters are intact while a few new ones make it on the story board.There's Inderjeet Singh (Irrfan Khan) and Ranjana (Soha Ali Khan) who are the two new pivotal characters that form the nucleus of the plot along with Madhavi (Mahie Gill) and Aditya Pratap Singh (Jimmy Shergill). There's also Birendra Pratap (Raj Babbar) playing Soha Ali Khan's father.The first half is quite tedious with Tigmanshu Dhulia having to start all over again. While Jimmy and Mahie's role and intent have been established, the director labours to set the plot with the introduction of the above-mentioned three new characters. He takes time to get there and that is what drags the film a bit in the first half. Part I was a thriller, a magnificent plot essayed brilliantly by all actors and Tigmanshu had given no chance for the audience to squirm in their seats. It was brilliance from 'Take One'. What really puts this one on the wrong foot in the beginning is the fact that Irrfan's character was nowhere in the picture in the first part. Now, this has a two-fold explanation. One, Tigmanshu could not have envisaged a phenomenal critical approval of SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER and secondly, and more importantly, he would never have had thought of a sequel whilst making the first.Still, the writers could have taken off by building a character from Part I to neatly incorporate him into the second. This would have given Tigmanshu time to blast away right from 'scene one' like he did earlier. Part II of GANGS OF WASSEYPUR worked precisely because there was a solid link from the first scene of Part I which climaxes in the last scene of Part IIHaving said that, the second session perks up considerably to match up to the original with Saheb turning the plot to oust him on its head. But with Madhavi, always in a drunken stupor hovering around, will that be possible? After all, even she has the ambition of ruling the dynasty. Remember she strolled onto the balcony waving out to the people with Saheb in a wheelchair as Part I ended. She had saved him from Bablu's plan to eliminate him. But does she find favour with Saheb who now owes his life to Madhavi?Walk in to find out.Mahie takes off from where she left last. In a daze, she moves around with a purposeful intent, unknown to Saheb. While I can say that it is not on par with her earlier portrayal, she limits herself within the confines of the new plot to steer away from being repetitive. And it is here where she scores big time. Clearly, she is moving steadily to occupy the top slot. Vidya Balan is going to have company as far as talented company is concerned at the top.Jimmy as the wheelchair-bound Saheb has lost none of his gamand. You almost hate him within the first few minutes. Brilliant. Irrfan Khan's characterization and motive is a big question mark in my mind. However, Soha Ali Khan shows a terrific side to her persona as an actress, torn as she is between a lover and Saheb who wants to do his manmani.Personally, I expected more from Tigmanshu. That he managed to pull all back within the last 20 minutes speaks volumes about his genius. He is one of our best filmmakers today.What he does in the end is leave room for Part III. And this I must say is a smart move.