Angrezi Medium: Irrfan and Radhika Madan are gifted artists

Homi Adajania’s Angrezi Medium ends on the most positive note. The final scene is just brilliant. We’re in the middle of a car chase sequence and he and his team of writers throw in a very emotional moment between father and daughter (Irrfan and Radhika Madan). Irrfan’s Champak says something like, “bachon ka haath chodoge nahi toh woh aake gale kaise lagaenge?” I wish the rest of the writing was as good as the writing of the end. But sadly, it’s not, and the very terrific actors – all of them – stand wasted at the hands of sloppy writing.

The idea behind Angrezi Medium is terrific. The entire Hindi Medium franchise and what it aims to establish is genius, but director Homi Adajania and writers Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Vinay Chhawall and Sara Bodinar are too many cooks who make this film a mess. At heart, Angrezi Medium is about this girl, Tarika (played by a brilliant Radhika Madan) who dreams of studying at one of England’s most prestigious colleges. Even though her father (Irrfan) knows that is what is good for her, he can’t get over the fact that he will be left alone once she goes to chase her dreams. This is the story of every Indian household. It could’ve been a wonderful film about the struggles of these two individuals as child and parent, adult and parent. But Angrezi Medium falters at the hands of excessive writing and clumsy editing. There are way too many sub-plots, most of which don’t even make sense. 

But there is relief in Angrezi Medium, and there is a lot of it. One of the greatest things about the film is that all through the ups and downs, it has it’s heart in the right place. But where Angrezi Medium perhaps wins is in the acting. The only reason why I could sit through such sloppy writing were the actors – all of them brilliant in their parts. Deepak Dobrial and Irrfan take the centre stage here and have the most screen time. They play brothers with a weird family history and an even weirder relationship. Their chemistry, and how they eat off each other (without eating into each other) is commendable. There are scenes in which Deepak lets Irrfan shine, and vice versa, highlighting how secure both these men are as actors. Irrfan plays the titular character of Tarika’s father who is in a mess because of her daughter’s dreams. One cannot doubt Irrfan’s potential as an actor. He does what he does best – acts. 

Ranveer Shorey, Pankaj Tripathi, Kiku Sharda come in and walk out of the film according to the narrative’s convenience and even though each one of them will make you laugh, they never add to the greater narrative. None of their characters are doing anything. They’re there just for comic relief. But, this doesn’t take away from the fact that all three of them have done a wonderful job. Watch out for Tripathi. He’s always a personal favourite. 

Kareena Kapoor Khan and Dimple Kapadia play daughter and mother. I saw Kapoor Khan’s Naina Kohli as an older version of Madan’s Tarika. Naina has abandoned her mother, Mrs Kohli, in the name of freedom and making a life of her own. Again, both these characters don’t do much for the narrative, but in one particular scene, Kapoor Khan and Kapadia shine and how! You see the talent brimming on screen with these women getting down to banter. But again, what’s heartfelt is not always needed. 

Angrezi Medium is Radhika Madan’s third film, but she seems so comfortable with the camera, as if she’s done this for years. Of course, she’s been a part of television as well, but that’s a different craft. I’m sure her TV stint has made her familiar with the camera, but this woman was made for the big screen. Her character, Tarika, isn’t a very well written character. In fact, she’s given a half written character, who has a very stereotypical character arc. And yet Madan delivers! When she’s crying, laughing, lost, in love – she does it all, and so perfectly. Very few new actors perform as she does. I’ve seen both her previous films – she’s a very gifted artist. 

Angrezi Medium has its moments, but it never shines. It follows a set template that sooner or later becomes comical, and the film just cannot hold your attention. Some scenes are well written, but they come and go, and they’re less in number. One of my favourites has to be where Tarika comes home drunk and ends up accusing her father for drinking. Madan and Irrfan are too good in that scene. 

All in all, the film did leave me in tears. Tears for Tarika, for Champak and the relationship they share. Angrezi Medium is an underwritten, but, important film and every family must go watch it. Maybe, parents will understand why their children dream; and maybe children will understand the kind of work and effort their parents put in to make these very dreams reality. 

About the writer

Follow us on Instagram here: