An adaptation of the Guru Dutt classic Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, the film re-works the story against a backdrop of decaying royalty and underworld duplicity. The Sahib (Jimmy Sheirgill), an erstwhile prince of a fading estate and the Biwi (Mahie Gill), the high strung, edgy wife, may not have the perfect marriage but they choose to stick together, any which way. The Sahib spends his nights with his mistress, while the Biwi finds succour in the arms of the driver (Randeep Hooda), who is actually a small time gangster, working for the Sahib's rival and deadly foe. It doesn't take long for the crumbling mansion to become a hotbed of crime and passion where shifting loyalties and unchecked emotions unleash a treacherous storm that threatens to consume the trio.
The film is a must-watch for two reasons. First, because it is heavily imbued with atmospherics and mood which creates a whole new world that's somewhat familiar yet totally intriguing. The Sahib's world is a sepia-stained picture you may have seen so many times, while visiting museums and empty palaces. There, in the midst of nowhere lives the still arrogant royal scion with his tempestuous wife who too hasn't lost her haughty airs, despite the fact there's little to cheer her in her desolate life. The walls may be crumbling, the ancestral portraits fading and the pomp and wealth vanishing, nevertheless, the Sahib desperately tries to hang on to his shrinking empire, by grabbing all the major government contracts in the developing province and eyeing the votebank in the forthcoming elections. Of course, he doesn't mind killing off anyone who stands in his way or stooping to lowly means to achieve his end, so long as the facade can be maintained. Tragedy and irony is plastered all over the walls of the ill-fated mansion, but is anybody reading the signs of the times?
The second high point of the film are its alluring performances. Jimmy Sheirgill, Mahie Gill and Randeep Hooda create a fascinating threesome that never fails to excite with the unpredictabilty of their volatile moves. Director Tigmanshu Dhulia has a discerning eye for detail and meticulously builds their character graph, so that the trio virtually evolves before your eyes. Sheirgill is picture perfect and poignant as the power centre that's on the verge of being toppled any moment. Mahie Gill is the quintessential enigmatic woman who has polished the art of subterfuge and masquerade. And Randeep Hooda is the icing on the cake: absolutely mesmerising as the small time opportunist who wants to climb the social ladder and steal the good life for himself, scruples be damned. Winners, all three, as they weave a venomous web that could entrap god knows which player in this dangerous game.
The film may be a finely crafted drama, yet it unfolds with thriller pace, keeping you on the edge of the seat till the very end. Enjoy the experience of a revised and re-mixed story, well told.