Right Royal Mess:
Irrfan Khan is one good reason to sit through Angrezi Medium, which is not a patch on its predecessor, Hindi Medium; the other is Deepak Dobriyal. Irrfan, recovering from a major illness, gives the role of a doting dad more than it deserves, and forms such a rambunctious team with Dobriyal, that you feel bad they didn’t have a better script to work with.
Homi Adajania’s film starts with a simple idea—a small town girl’s ambition to study at a London college and her father’s promise to fulfill her wish — which, from the look it, has been ruined by too many writers.
Champak Bansal (Irrfan) is a mithai shop owner in Udaipur, who is given an excessively garrulous introduction, by the end of which he is the widowed father of Tarika (Radhika Madan– competent), who wants to study abroad, not for any great love of education, but because she imagines a life of freedom away from her dutiful but overbearing father. Later, when she does land in London, students there seem to float along on endless booze-fuelled parties. This is going into Manoj Kumar’s Purab Aur Paschim territory, in which people in the West are morally decadent, while Indians are family-loving saints.
But before that, there are lengthy farcical scenes of Champak fighting a trademark battle with his cousin Gopi (Dobriyal), and then making up over drinking sessions with a buddy Gajju (Kiku Sarda). Tarika promises to study hard in order to win a scholarship to a London college, and would have made it but for a blunder by her father. Champak is emotionally blackmailed into finding a way to take her there at any cost.
Once they arrive in London, the film rapidly derails—from a part emotional-part comical father-daughter fencing, it falls into a series of implausible and unfunny situations that involve a conman Bablu (Ranvir Shorey), a sympathetic human trafficker Tony (Pankaj Tripathi), a disgruntled London cop (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and her grouchy mother (Dimple Kapadia)—both actresses looking radiant and totally wasted in hopeless roles.
Champak, Gopi and Bablu come up with the most harebrained schemes to get that precious college admission for Tarika, who, comes across as mean and selfish, not caring for a moment about the troubles her father and uncle are going through for her sake.
Unlike Hindi Medium, which was a genuine satire on the Indian education system, Angrezi Medium is all muddled about what it wants to say, and when the chaos clears, it delivers a sermon about the value of family bonds.
When given a half-way decent scene, Irrfan and Dobriyal lift it with their unbridled energy, but saving this film from its constant slides into absurdity is beyond their combined talents.
Rating: Two and a half stars