Synopsis – A native sweet shop struggles to send his daughter to London for achieving a higher degree.
My Take – There is no denying of the fact that no force is greater in the world than the love of a parent. For parents, their children are everything, and for them, without giving a second thought, they can go to any length especially if the end results are beneficial.
However, most children, the moment they grow up, seek to move away from those same parents in the name of freedom, without even considering how it would affect them. Here, this film, highlights that notion by focusing on the relationship of a father and daughter, and efforts he puts in to make sure she realizes her dream.
Marked as a quasi-sequel to 2017’s high enjoyable, Hindi Medium, the film switches directors from Saket Chaudhary (Pyaar Ka Side Effects) to Homi Adajania (Being Cyrus, Cocktail), yet, retains the same theme of focusing on the plethora of troubles parents go through to give their children the best of everything, especially an education.
While the film lends the simple premise many hues by being heart-warming, hilarious, and emotional, however, with four writers, Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Vinay Chhawall and Sara Bodinar, on board, the film has also ended up with an uneven tone, which at times borders on being ludicrous. Especially when it tries too hard to balance its reflective massage about holding on and letting go of a loved one.
But despite its flaws, the film manages to keep you constantly hooked, mainly due to the presence of the franchise star, Irrfan Khan, who I realized, highly missed watching on the big screen. Making sort of a comeback here, Irrfan Khan, arguably the finest of his generation, continues to remains one of the few actors in the world, whose films you can often enjoy for his performance alone, regardless of the story-line.
His personal triumph lends the film a sort of internal pathos and emotions that’s impossible to measure by quality, but watching the actor, in impeccable form, doing what he does best i.e. effortlessly bringing his character to life on screen, makes it a treat. It would not be wrong to say that the film is not as strong as its predecessor, but the journey of a father and the emotional bond of daughter and father, will touch ones heart surely.
The story follows Champak Bansal (Irrfan Khan), a resident of Udaipur and the grandson of the famous Ghasitaram, the owner of a sweet shop chain in Rajasthan. While he spends most of his time fighting legal battles with his cousin Ghasiteram Bansal (Deepak Dobriyal) aka Gopi, to retain the family name on his shop, a mark of authenticity, the focus of Champak’s life solely remains on being an excellent single parent to his daughter Tarika (Radhika Madan).
Living in constant guilt that he didn’t allow his deceased wife to complete her education, Champak strives to see Tarika succeed. And when she finally gets a chance to go to London for higher education, he is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that his daughter’s dream is fulfilled. The story of the film, however, is not as simple as it looks like.
Apart from showing a father’s unconditional love for his daughter, the film also lightly touches upon other themes. The current generation’s fascination with going abroad for higher studies, the misunderstandings that often crop up between parents and children, the importance of being there for your family when needed and how, in some remote areas, a girl needs to face various challenges to even be allowed to pursue her dreams.
However, surprisingly, when the film begins, the forced comedy scenes, writings and even story does not go anywhere and just becomes passable in first half. However, it is the second half where the film gathers the steam, with hilarious sequences like when Champak and Gopi consult Tony (Pankaj Tripathi), a shady Dubai agent, to enter a path to London, and the scene where Champak, Gopi and Bablu (Ranveer Shorey) go to an auction event. Unlike its predecessor, which was also an indictment of our education system, director Adajania keeps the film squarely on emotional turf.
Yes, values are packed in. The finale may try to teach a thing or two to Indian students obsessed with foreign degrees. But beyond lessons/messages, this is a film that presents father-daughter bond as it exists in real life. Overly concerned, sneakily packing away her revealing clothes, watching over her male class fellows, which father has not experienced the pangs of a growing up daughter? Daughter seeking and demanding her space is adorable too.
Where it does stumble is when it sets out to propagate. A prologue about how Champak has been confused since childhood feels contrived, even if a link is clearly intended between that juvenile indecisiveness and his adult confusion in a changing world. This plot element is marginal to the proceedings though. And in order to get to the core of the film, the middle half kind of stretches too long, adding only minutes to the run-time of the film without any purpose.
Also, there are times when the film falls prey to stereotypes and offers us nothing that we haven’t already seen. For instance, an airport scene where Gopi is worried about the jar of pickle he’s traveling with, a small-town girl getting distracted once she is in a foreign land, a friend always arriving with help in the penultimate hour of need, and a man setting aside rivalry for his beloved niece.
However, despite the shortcomings, when the camera rests on Irrfan Khan, everything just seems to come together. Here is an actor who conveys so much so effortlessly. A compelling performance as a doting father, and his trademark style of wry humor is as effective as ever. Following him closely behind is Deepak Dobriyal, who once again blazes his way through the film his smashing comic timing.
Surprisingly, Kareena Kapoor Khan is relegated to a supporting role here and appears only in the second half, nevertheless she makes well with her role. Radhika Madan makes for a perfect fit for a role that requires her to match up to the formidable Irrfan, and stands her ground. In smaller roles, Dimple Kapadia, Ranvir Shorey, and Kiku Sharda are also equally excellent, while Pankaj Tripathi is hilarious in his cameo. On the whole, ‘Angrezi Medium’ is an enjoyable comedy drama which deserves a watch for the emotion it stirs, the laughs it offers, and the brilliant Irrfan Khan.
Directed – Homi Adajania
Rated – PG
Run Time – 145 minutes