Irrfan, Kareena Kapoor, Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal
Everyone who has done a vocational course in India, has sometime or another forced their parents to look into their bank accounts and other assets to check for their chances to go study abroad. Some of us managed, some didn’t but that struggle is very real for teenagers from 90s and early 2000s and more so for their parents. Seeing that struggle, the anxiety on celluloid brings a smile and even a tear.
Angrezi Medium begins in Udaipur’s Bansal household. Champak Bansal (Irrfan) is a sweet and savories’ merchant. He is fairly successful in his family business, his only indulgence is his daughter, Tarika (Radhika Madan) She is a straight A student and her father’s pride and joy. Watching the two dot on each other is beautiful. Things change soon though, when Tarika gets a scholarship to go to London for further studies. Champak messes up with the protocol and Tarika looses the chance to go abroad. Infuriated with the turn of events, Tarika blames her father for purposely sabotaging her chances because Champak, like every other father, fears for his daughter and doesn’t want her to go so far away. It is then that Champak decides to do everything he can to send his daughter abroad for studies. His cousin Gopi (Deepak Dobriyal) too decides to go along. Gopi and Champak have a love-hate relationship but can’t really stay away from each other either. Unfortunately, when they reach London, the two get deported because of miscommunication. It is when they try again to get back to London, do they meet police officer Naina (Kareena Kapoor) and subsequently her mother (Dimple Kapadia).
The film’s crazy quo doesn’t subside in the bleakest moments, which is truly the USP of the film. The humour doesn’t subside the emotional quotient either which is completely – Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Vinay Chhawall, Sara Bodinar – the writers’ charm. The portions between father and daughter are real and sweet, but so are the portions between the cousins. In fact, post interval it is mostly about the cousins. Yet, director Homi Adajania brings the focus onto the pertinent factors beautifully.
With such fantastic actors onboard, Adajania had his work chalked out from the beginning. But for his part, he delivers adequately. Homi’s greatest strength is his liberal thinking as a filmmaker. He gives an ear to the youngsters of india, at the same time debates about whether one HAS to go abroad for a better life? Can’t it be had, right here in India? He covers all sides of the story beautifully without making it very ‘sermonesque’. The cream of the applause however goes to his actors. Radhika Madan as Tarika is pitch-perfect, while rubbing shoulders with the big wigs she appears comfortable and confident. Her break-down scene alone will get her 10 other films, perhaps even a few awards.
Kareena Kapoor does what she does best, she looks effortless in her cop avatar, no-nonsense look really works on her. Deepak Dobriyal too does his part superbly. Actors like Dimple Kapadia, Ranvir Shorey, Kiku Sharda have small parts but each are flawless in their own parts. Which brings us to the actor we have missed seeing onscreen – Irrfan! The man has always been magic on 70mm, and he doesn’t disappoint. The monologue, which follows suit from the first part Hindi Medium, is fabulous. In it though, Irrfan calls out the children who only make demands on their parents and don’t bother taking care of them when the parents get older and weak and so on, will make you stop and think. The monologue is so Irrfan, yet different. Irrfan’s ability to keep his characters close to his own self, yet make them novel makes him the legend he is. See the film for him, and him alone and it will be worth your while.