Watching ‘Angrezi Medium’ will make you overlook the film’s lacklustre and frankly manipulative script, simply because of the unflinching, dedicated performance by the film’s central hero, even at the core of his ailment at the personal front.
‘AM’ is the story of Champak Bansal (Khan), an Udaipur-based confectioner and doting single father who will go to any lengths to help his daughter, Tarika (Radhika Madan) realise her dream of seeking education from a reputed institution away from home.
Written by Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Vinay Chhawall and Sara Bodinar, ‘AM’ attempts to strike a conversation around relevant themes including pursuit of the foreign dream, quest for one’s freedom, educating the women in the house and shifting dynamics of responsibility between parent and child. The intention is there but the overwrought screenplay threatens to capsize the film. The inclusion of unnecessary interludes to accommodate fleeting cameos leaves many ends untied and it’s a daunting task for editor A Sreekar Prasad to ensure he makes room for everyone and everything without elongating the movie’s runtime. Which sadly, he doesn’t succeed in. The first half is interminable and the action sets off only from the second half. The conflicts too aren’t particularly convincing. The equation between Champak and his brother Gopi (Deepak Dobriyal) is first established as brothers who are disputing over business and hardly a scene later, we see them declare undying love for each other over a round of drinks. Despite the daughter being reasonably educated and equipped with the most upgraded electronic devices, its appalling that she would not even source information about the immigration processes in the UK. The conflict between tough cop Naina Kohli (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and her mother (Dimple Kapadia) isn’t even dissected before it gets magically resolved by itself. The most unforgivable letdown lies in the climax. While you pique the interest of your audience to the woke and progressive awakening of the father, the conservative and archaic resolution in the end defeats the purpose of the whole film. Which almost threatens to nip the conversation about living in a society where parents don’t know how to respect their children’s choices or need to privacy. Anil Mehta’s camerawork however, is seductive. The stunning visuals of Udaipur offer a testament to why tourists love frequenting the lake city.
The film yet manages to entertain you and tug your hearts because of the uncompromising acts put up by the ace leading man. Despite the dubious material handed over to him, Irrfan is pitch-perfect and you can’t help but be wishful for his speedy recovery. He is brilliantly supported by Dobriyal. The scenes between these two actors are laden with hilarity and heft that you’re bound to chuckle even before the punches land. Radhika has a cute, charming presence but a lot needs to be worked upon her dialogue delivery. Kiku Sharda as the neighbourhood friend Gajju is delightful and it’s a huge relief to see the actor perform beyond the Kapil Sharma universe. Ranvir Shorey as Babloo is an underdeveloped character but the actor plays it to the best of his ability. The extended cameos though, of Khan, Kapadia and Pankaj Tripathi as a Dubai-based agent are a sheer waste of our time and their talent. Which is a pity considering how each actor lives up to their limited screen time. Tripathi, especially is a hoot as an effeminate agent.
Despite the convoluted mess of a film that ‘Angrezi Medium’ is, I suggest you give it a chance out of sheer love and respect for an actor whose brilliance deserves to be celebrated often.