Director Homi Adajania manages to entertain you while giving you a deep rooted message
The film is a sort of a comeback for Irrfan. It’s like you are catching up with an old friend after so long and you just don’t want the rendezvous to end. Angrezi Medium in all its sincerity and clear approach hits you hard, touches your hearts, teaches you some important lessons, but never does it fall short from its cinematic quality of entertainment.
Eternally in dilemma about things in life, Champak Bansal (Irrfan) owns a sweet shop in Udaipur. His surrounding has been patriarchal owing to which he doesn’t let his wife study after marriage. Cut to the times when his daughter Tarika (Radhika Madan) wants to go to London to pursue higher studies. She does get a chance. But due to chance circumstances, she can’t go. And Champak is to be blamed. Out of guilt, Champak now makes it a mission for himself to send his daughter to London. But things are still not right.
Written by Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Vinay Chhawall, and Sara Bodinar, the film takes you over instantly. Ofcourse, it’s the moment when Irrfan comes first on screen, you feel a homely bond, and in the most of the film, that is enough to cast a spell. But not to take away the credits of writing, the film gets to the point without beating about the bush. The breathers are also too many, incorporated to row the main plot and also serve as humourous fillers.
What is interesting is how these breathers aren’t random, but connected at several points in the film. For instance, the court case the main characters are grappling with, the judge, the principal of the school, Champak’s inability to speak and understand English, Champak’s back story and his childhood are all internally connected.
The film scores of little moments of joy and emotions, making you smile frequently. The scene where Champak gives Tarika a question paper, or when they both get the news that Tarika can go to London are moments of gold.
The film isn’t only about higher studies and expenses incurred there. But a strong point on parenting and what all a parent goes through is also attempted.
However, there comes a point in the film when things get a little off track. You feel the stakes aren’t too high and practically things can’t get too fat fetched. You want the situations to get more real. A lot of the elements seem unnecessary in the film- in both first and second half, only to get the comedy track working. That’s what comprises the drama of the film.
The film is also predictable to some extent. You expect a certain notions and that’s exactly how they get played.
Irrfan can just never go wrong with his mannerisms. He commands respect, here he also goes a step ahead by commanding love, affection, and an immense sense of belonging. It is his innate skill that connects with you in every scene. Natural. Real. Effortless. He just sails through. Although he is primarily a middle aged father, but he is also your hero. The film is filled with scenes where he speaks only with his face. In the running scene, he laughs, he then immediately switches to choke himself, and then breaks down. Amazing he is. Such a delight for the audience.
Deepak Dobriyal is right behind the leading man in proving his mettle. Their chemistry won you in Hindi Medium, and they are both invincible here as well. Dobriyal fills in the supporting part with such conviction that you can’t imagine the track without his character. He is equally good, omnipresent in the film. He is marvellous.
Radhika Madan is very very good. She brings in layers of innocence, purity, ambitions, and desires. Now these qualities are good to look on screen, but they add more meaning when they become conflicts for the protagonists. Madan gives believability to her character, never going overboard. Fitting rightly in the skin of a teenager wanting to explore life, she brings charm to the plot. There are scenes when she’s trying to fit in with the crowd in London, or when she is arguing with her father, or at times when it’s all about herself. She aces these moments.
Kareena Kapoor Khan in a rather small role does contribute fittingly well to the narrative. Hers is not a very important role but adds a dimension ofcourse. Dimple Kapadia as her mother is also effervescent. You like to see her on screen when she brings peculiar little elements, making the written piece stronger.
Ranvir Shorey is very good. Although the role is a cakewalk for him. You like watching Kiku Sharda on screen though. He has a peculiar body language and he makes you smile. Pankaj Tripathi in a very small role- just one scene is absolutely brilliant, bringing in a peculiar personality on screen.
Manu Rishi in a blink-and-miss appearance is okay. Nothing to shout about. Zakir Hussain is good in a brief appearance. Does the needful. Makes an impression. Tillotama Shome is also fine, although she’s capable of much more.
It must be said that despite Irrfan lifting the film on his shoulders, the film is made of its characters. Kudos to Adajania for crafting so many meaningful characters and giving them a say in the plot. Because of a lot of them, the film gets concrete.
Music and score by Sachin Jigar is good working rightly for the mood of the film. The score gets dramatic at times. But during the emotional scenes, it does a phenomenal job.
Cinematography by the stalwart Anil Mehta is also very good. If you notice keenly, there are scenes accentuated only by a magnificent camera work rather than writing or performances. The shots and angles, some of them, are just too good to adore. Production design by Bindiya Chhabria is also extremely real. The world is real. The people are real. The overall set up is real. And that is a major reason you don’t have to strain to relate to the film.
Editing by A Sreekar Prasad is also impressive. The structure is simple but effective. The placement of scenes is interesting, making the film a gripping watch. A few scenes do feel off in the second half. The film could have been a little shorter and tighter too.
Films like these are difficult to make. One wrong move and you start getting preachy, and lose the audience. The film has so many things working in its favour. An ideally perfect Irrfan, strong supporting actors, a significant story, engaging screenplay, decent entertainment. Do you ask for more? This film must be watched.
Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.