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SCREEN: ROYAL MESSES

August 05, 2018

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Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3

There are fine moments in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3 that sum up the fury of one very twisted husband and wife pair.

In one particular scene, Madhavi (Mahie Gill) — the Biwi of the series who is now a government minister — forces a contractor to eat the special ladoos [sweets] he brought as a gift. No, the ladoos aren’t poisonous — at least to Madhavi. The contractor, though, has severe diabetes.

The contractor, wheezing and asphyxiating, realises his mistake a moment too late as he suffers from one ladoo after the other in his mouth on Madhavi’s orders. In his sincere bid to butter up to the newly-elected minister, the contractor forgot his place and made two mistakes. First, he spoke against her husband (who happens to be of aritstocrat lineage and also someone the contractor doesn’t personally know). Secondly, he broke a simple, unspoken rule of man-woman relations … only a wife has the license to hurt her husband.

Writer-Director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s film — the third in a continuing series — is pragmatic of grudges couples hold on to, twisting and balooning real-life emotional agitation into an epic battle of pride, anger (and in a weird way) love. No matter how much she loathes her husband, Madhavi would not allow anyone else to say anything against him.

For those who’ve yet to see any Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster films, the plots pivot round Aditya Pratap Singh (the Saheb, Jimmy Shergill) and his wife Madhavi, a power-hungry, philandering aristocrat couple who openly flaunt a fanatical fixation towards each other that leads to mutual hatred, double-crosses, revenge and death.

The bulk of this part, however, is concerned with the aftermath of actions after animalistic carnal tendencies takes over.

In a follow-up scene to the one mentioned above, Aditya stubbornly refuses his family’s advice to divorce Madhavi. After his arrival back home, the couple have an argument and end up making love on the palace rooftop.

Come morning, Madhavi finds herself alone on the roof in a state of partial undress, almost discovered by the house’s help. Aditya had left her alone in the middle of the night as a small token of payback for sending him to prison in the last part. Because of her wanton nature, her bareness wouldn’t be that big of a shock to the servants, he calmly reasons when she confronts him a few moments later.

These excellent checkmates of lust and revulsion are hampered by a badly written subplot of another royal family’s land dispute between a father and his sons (Kabir Bedi, Deepak Tijori and Sanjay Dutt). The film’s finale ultimately hinges on a deadly game of Russian Roulette, where one unlucky contestant gets a bullet in the head.

Dutt, in particular, acts like an amateur in a role he’s done countless times in awful action movies (one pities Chitrangada Singh, who plays his mistress in the movie).

Shergill and Gill, even though they have no story to go through whatsoever, are excellent. I sincerely hope Part Four — which this part leads into — explores the dark potential of these two deliciously evil characters.

The third instalment in the Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster series is devoid of a compelling story despite its deliciously evil aristocratic main characters while Nawabzaade is a just a train wreck of a film

Nawabzaade

In Nawabzaade, buddies Karan, Abhishek and Salim (Raghav Juyal, Punit Pathak, Dharmesh Yelande) fall for Sheetal, the new girl-next-door (Isha Rikhi) in a story that hardly makes sense.

Sheetal, wide-eyed innocent and unwise to the ways of the world, is the lynchpin that holds most of the pre-intermission half in place, as the boys — despite being fast friends — try to outdo each other in winning her affections. Once the movie crosses its interval break, the main point of the story starts its protracted reveal, and you realise that it is neither intelligently thought-out nor engagingly made.

Director Jayesh Pradhan has a grip on his cinematography and editorial aesthetics; it’s the screenplay by Pradeep Singh that deliberately makes a mountain out of a mole hill. At some random point in the story, a drug-peddling gang makes its way into the plot (the gang is led by actor Mukesh Tiwari and one loathes the type of roles he has to sign).

Nawabzaade owes its screwed-up genetics to Fukrey, but unlike the latter, this movie’s preference for uncouthness in the name of comedy quickly becomes harrowing. There’s a scene where the heroine is kidnapped and forced to consume alcohol while drugs are mistakenly consumed as salt.

By this time all sense has left the movie and one ends up feeling like the befuddled cop played by Vijay Raaz, who tries to make sense of what happened when.

The movie is a train wreck but the actors give their best, dancing to songs with the precision and litheness of South Indian stars. The lead’s sincerity almost compels you to enjoy Nawabzaade. But then you realise what you’ve just gone through and decide otherwise.

Published in Dawn, ICON, August 5th, 2018