First things first: You really don’t need to see “Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster” Part One to make sense of the sequel. “SBG Returns” is a new chapter in the lives of its devious, crafty, scheming, decadent characters. They are still the ruthless people they were – the shrewd and confined to a wheelchair Saheb (Jimmy Sheirgill) who wields immense power; the besharam Biwi (Mahie Gill) drunk on vodka and whiskey, stumbling, desperate for her Saheb’s attention; the little princess (Soha Ali Khan); and the once-upon-a-time royalty Raja bhaiyya (Irrfan) living in lost glory, trying every trick in the book to recover and retain it. If comparisons are the order of the day then yes, like all other sequels “SBG Returns” lacks slight edge. What holds it together are the performances of Sheirgill as the cruel and controlling Aditya Pratap Singh and the smooth talker Irrfan who slips into his character effortlessly as the scheming but charming royalty. He is truly the poet and warrior and the hopeless lover at the same time. Gill as Madhavi Devi is convincing as the lonely, helpless wife draped in chiffon sarees with an air of sad sarcasm. Writer/director Tigmanshu Dhulia plays on his strengths – in creating multi-layered characters and penning deliciously drafted dialogues peppered with wit and humour, especially the ones exchanged between the Saheb and Biwi and between Irrfan and the politician.
Dhulia catapults us back to the crumbling havelis with paint scraping off its tired old walls, to polo matches and ballroom dances, to a lost royalty subjected to political interference, to the parallel courts and politics of these erstwhile princes and kings, to their small privy purses and big clashing egos. It’s a story that moves like a game of chess – Sheirgill resorts to dirty moves to attain his new love Ranjana (Soha) – “I am a king, I can afford an extra wife,” he claims, his desperate biwi moves around her pawns to cut the king’s lifeline while the knight Irrfan, joins the king (Birinder Pratap played by Raj Babbar) on the other end to settle score with the Saheb. Amidst the mastermind manoeuvres and maze of manipulations, Dhulia drops in memorable characters like that of Kanhaiyaa Saheb’s loyal aide, the buffoon of a porn-surfing politician Prabhu Tiwari (Rajeev Gupta) and the Dabangg cop, Parvesh Rana.
A woman’s wrath, a lover’s revenge, a failing king’s last strike – “SBG” did return with a lot of ammo and gunpowder. While it did not shoot it all, whatever it did, was worth the shot. Catch it.