Angrezi Medium movie review: A mess-up; minus Irrfan Khan, Deepak Dobriyal!
In Angrezi Medium Irrfan Khan plays a healthy, regular Rajasthani single-parent, dealing instead with an intense love for his daughter (Radhika Madan; such a bright talent).
Dir: Homi Adajania
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal, Kareena Kapoor Khan
Frankly, don't know any other film that I've so badly wanted to like, even before stepping into the theatre. For one, there's Irrfan — arguably the finest of his generation, who remains still one of the few actors in the world, whose movies you can often enjoy for his performance alone — regardless of story/script/sense sometimes.
That he returns to the screen after almost a couple of years, currently battling against a rare form of cancer, lends this picture a sort of internal pathos/emotions that's impossible to measure by the quality of a film per se.
The fact that the lead actor is so physically sick isn't weaved into this film's script either. He plays a healthy, regular Rajasthani single-parent, dealing instead with intense love for his daughter (Radhika Madan; such a bright talent). And the several twists and turns the lead character goes through, as a result of wanting to fulfil the little girl's dream — of wanting to study abroad (in England; or Oxford, called Trufford, to be more precise).
It's the same droopy, bulbous eyes, gentle swag, inimitable lightness of touch, and a generally casual demeanour, wholly unmindful of camera, that have drawn audiences for years towards Irrfan. That's what draws you to this film first, and foremost.
Of course, one worries for whoever has to match Irrfan's natural wit on screen. The chosen one opposite him, Deepak Dobriyal, pulls no punches. Together as traditional Ghasitaram halwai shop owners — almost ad-libbing all along, killing it with perfectly timed humour/repartee dipped in shudh desi ghee — they make for the finest male pair you've seen in a Hindi film in long.
Also, this film is called Angrezi Medium, because in a franchise kinda way, it's supposed to be an extension of Saket Chaudhary's Hindi Medium (2017). What was so special about that movie? According to me, the fact that for a premise, it merged two new Indian laws to tell a funny story about a couple's ordeal to get their child into a good school! One, Right To Education (2009), that reserved seats for poor kids in rich, private schools. Two, Delhi government's 2016 ruling that determined school admissions by the parent's home address. Very smart. For sure.
Watch the trailer of Irrfan Khan's Angrezi Medium here:
Hilarious, too? Hell yeah. But honestly a bit too far-fetched sometimes, by way of things that happen, or don't, before we get to the end. Like me, if you thought the script of Hindi Medium was a bit of a stretch, Angrezi Medium in comparison, set even further apart/afield (Udaipur, Dubai, London) pulls itself (and the audience) into so many different (and opposite) directions, all at the same time, that after a blunt point, you begin to lose interest altogether.
Dipping eyes into the cellphone instead — that tiny screen that competes with movies, even when you're inside a theatre! The issue here isn't so much with the medium as it is with multiple messages, sub-plots, characters — Kareena, Dimple, Ranvir Shorey, Pankaj Tripathi, et al — crowding out a space that must ideally belong only to the father, and the child; her dreams, and his determination.
In all this mayhem and relentless madness (surely many of the peripheral gags work too), the one who wholly holds the moment still is Irrfan. Can you watch an entire, two hours' thirty minutes' film for an actor alone? Didn't think would ever say that: But frankly, in this case — with so much else also playing between my head and the big screen — yes, you can. Or how can you not? Welcome back, Irrfan. Hope to see more of you. Better movies will inevitably follow.
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