MAQBOOL : Well-enacted gangster drama
Jahangir Khan/Abbaji (Pankaj Kapoor) is the aging leader of a Bombay gang. Nimmi (Tabu) is his mistress. Members of the gang include Maqbool (Irfan Khan), Kaka (Piyush Mishra) and his son Guddu (Ajay Gehi), and 2 cops Pandit and Purohit (Puri and Shah respectively). Maqbool and Nimmi love each other, but since Maqbool will not defy Abbaji openly, their affair is kept secret. Nimmi wishes to leave Abbaji and live with Maqbool, but realises the futility of it while Abbaji is alive. So, she slowly but surely begins to put ideas in Maqbool’s head.
Meanwhile Abbaji’s grown-up daughter (from his dead wife) Sameera (Masumi) loves Guddu, and when their affair becomes public, Abbaji agrees to the marriage. Nimmi uses this to put pressure on Maqbool, teeling him that Guddu will reign on the gang in the future, and Maqbool will be edged out. Maqbool finally kills Abbaji, and tries to pin the blame on an opposing gang. Then he has Kaka killed and tries to pin the blame on his son Guddu, who having guessed Maqbool’s intentions is on the run. Although everyone suspects Maqbool, none have the might to oppose him. Sameera is distraught at Maqbool’s subsequent ascension to Abbaji’s throne, and his now open relationship with Nimmi.
However, Guddu joins hands with other breakaway factions of the gang, rescues Sameera and wages war. Suddenly Maqbool finds the chips stacked against him ….
Pretty much everything is excellent – direction, dialogues and acting. Even lesser known actors like Gehi and Mishra leave their mark. The story is taut and holds your interest till the very end. Irfan Khan gives an astounding performance as Maqbool, while Tabu sharpens her claws as the vixen-ish Nimmi. Pankaj Kapoor is impressive as Abbaji and Shah and Puri are perfect as the clever, corrupt policemen. This is a “serious” film, no frivolity here. A must-see.