Cast: Irrfan Khan, Radhika Madan, Deepak Dobriyal, Kareena Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Kiku Sharda, Ranvir Shorey and Pankaj Tripathi
Director: Homi Adajania
The outbreak of COVID-19 led to shutting down of multiplexes across India leading to huge box office losses for recently-released films like Angrezi Medium. It was released under the banner of Maddock Films Pvt. Ltd. on 13 March 2020 in India as well as internationally. Plans for a re-release were cancelled due to the uncertainty in the lifting of the lockdown but to our great luck it is available on Disney+Hotstar VIP and Premium versions from 6 April 2020 without any additional charges so that we can enjoy this latest comedy-drama from the comfort of our rooms while staying safe.
Its first day collection at the domestic box office was 4.03 crore net. On the second day, the film collected 2.75 crore and 2.25 crore on the third day, taking total opening weekend collection to 9.03 crore. As of 15 March 2020, with a gross of 10.75 crore in India and 2.40 crore overseas, the film has a worldwide gross collection of 13.54 crore.
Although it counts as a sequel to the 2017 hit Hindi Medium, it is totally unrelated to the previous one, exceptions for Irrfan Khan’s mesmerizing performance and the beautiful emotion of selfless love of parents for their offspring. The spirit of Hindi Medium has been preserved in the form of struggles of a widower parent wanting his only daughter to live her too-ambitious-to-achieve dream and go from the small town of Udaipur to London and study at a Staffordshire-like university.
Irrfan plays the role of a widower sweetshop owner Champak Bansal who is always at a never-ending feud with his brother Gopi (Deepak Dobriyal) over the rightful use of the family name for their respective businesses. This rivalry ends with a court order that awards Gopi the family name but something happens in the second half of the film that changes the course of this rivalry and makes Deepak’s role a justified and crucial one for the film’s plot.
Champak’s only daughter Tarika (Radhika Madan) who is 18 has always dreamt of going abroad since childhood but Champak had managed to put it off. This time around, she worked very hard to win a scholarship to a decent London university which at the same time made Champak proud and frightened of the fact that she may not be able to cope with the harsh realities of the world alone in a foreign land. Champak tries his best and succeeds in ensuring that Tarika loses the opportunity only to relent with guilt afterwards.
From this point the rollercoaster ride of comedy and emotions takes off with not-so-perfectly blended small surprises and plots one after another like Kareena’s entry as a London cop, her perennially angry relationship with her mother (Dimple Kapadia), etc. Pankaj Tripathi shines even in a single-scene cameo as a Dubai fixer tasked with helping Champak and Gopi to enter England illegally. Kiku Sharda, Ranvir Shorey and Dimple Kapadia round out the cast fittingly.
The writers have tried to erect the story plot completely on the shoulders of Irrfan Khan and Deepak Dobriyal who is supremely talented but vastly underrated, which eventually made the screenplay a little sloppy, and the film seems to lose its track by the interval. But then, something surprising happens in the second half, and emotions start to spurt out of every character, humour starts catching up its pace, and with well-landed punches the story is back on track with more genuineness.
Irrfan Khan shot this film’s London scenes while he was fighting a very rare neuro-endocrine tumour. The shooting continued along with the rigorous treatment and still he gave his 100% to the film. Commitment, hard work and the true spirit of a warrior made him a real hero and great actor of all times!
Radhika had to transform her body type and body language to that of a schoolgirl by altering her nutrition intake, diet and workout routine for which she was given only a month’s time. Talking about reuniting with Irrfan, Deepak shared, “I haven’t worked with an easier co-actor than Irrfan bhai who is an institution by himself.”
The soundtrack and songs are very nerve soothing. Music direction, lyrics, composition involved the melodious works of Tanishk Bagchi, Sachin-Jigar and Vishal Dadlani.
Irrfan’s work and dedication level throughout the film despite being critically ill was commendable as always, he worked day and night for this film to refine his character, performance and chemistry with the co-actors to reach a level of performance so light on its feet as if he somehow knew that it might be his last film.