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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Angrezi Medium: First-Rate Irrfan and A Delightful Deepak Dobriyal Lift the Film

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Angrezi Medium: First-Rate Irrfan and A Delightful Deepak Dobriyal Lift the Film
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Angrezi Medium

Cast: Irrfan, Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal, Pankaj Tripathi, Kareena Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Kiku Sharda, Ranvir Shorey

Director: Homi Adajania

A father and daughter’s journey to a new phase of their lives, a doff of the hat to old family ties that keep people together in times of need and dollops of humour dished out scene after scene– what’s not to like in Angrezi Medium? The film takes a fresh approach to a family drama, building on the larger theme of parent-child relationship, adulting, and its accompanying youthful rebellion and so forth, all in the breezy style that is Hindi cinema’s new normal.

What started off as something to ponder in Hindi Medium –the obsession Indian parents have for getting their children an English education—now has a natural progression in Angrezi Medium. In this outing a doting single father (Irrfan as Champak Bansal) goes to extreme lengths to send the apple-of-his-eye, his daughter Tarika (Radhika Madan), for graduation to a college in London, because that’s what she has set her heart on.

Like its previous edition, this one too is quite the obstacle race packed with humour and of course, some touching moments. The young Tarika is determined to land a scholarship in a university in London to get away from her home in Udaipur to be cool and taste the much-coveted adult freedom. However, in an unexpected turn of events, her father innocently ends up spoiling her chances and tries thereafter to ensure that she gets the admission in the university by hook or by crook.

There are multiple directions in which the film could have gone– but the writers – Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Sara Bodinar and Vinay Chhawall, narrow it down to an emotional father-daughter story that tugs at your heartstrings without getting inordinately preachy. Sure, there are some sappy emotional scenes that may appear contrived, but nothing that you will mind excessively. Director Homi Adajania, known for more urbane films like Finding Fanny, Cocktail or Being Cyrus, navigates this small-town emotional roller-coaster of a story, well, aiming to please the small-town audience.

Adajania along with producers Dinesh Vijan and Jio Studios, not only retain most of the acting cast from Hindi Medium—Irrfan, Deepak Dobriyal, Tillotama Shome, but also bring in some noteworthy additions to it, namely Kareena Kapoor Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Ranveer Shorey, and Radhika Madan. Adding to the humour quotient, there are Pankaj Tripathi and Kiku Sharda although their screen time is too short for a significant impact on the narrative.

Irrfan, who, despite a difficult phase of illness just before the film’s shooting began, puts forward a stellar performance, absolutely convincing as the loving father, afraid to let his little one, go. His seamless emoting and the sensitivity he brings to the role, truly lifts the film. Deepak Dobriyal as his younger sibling and Radhika Madan as Tarika are excellent and the trio’s chemistry together is crackling. Dobriyal is delightful and Madan, a relative newcomer compared to the veterans she is pitted against, is confident and adorable as the pampered daughter, bringing in just the right degree of teenage angst.

Currently, films with middle-class minutiae humorously showcased are the new favourites at the marquee and given its comic and emotional twists, Angrezi Medium is quite the family drama worth earmarking for watching with your folks.

Rating: 3.5/5

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