CAST : Kapil Sharma, Ishita Dutta, Monica Gill, Kumud Mishra, Rajesh Sharma, Inaamulhaq, Jameel Khan, AanjjanSrivastav
DIRECTION : Rajiv Dhingra
RELEASEDATE : 01 Dec, 2017
DURATION : 2 hrs 40 mins
Credits : Inox
Story In the 1920s, when the Indian freedom movement is gaining momentum, one Indian national believes that the British rulers are not as bad as they are made out to be.
Review : Kapil Sharma’s second movie as a leading man after KisKiskoPyarKaroon (2015) is set in the 1920s, and mirrors the slow pace of life that probably prevailed during those years. Set during the British Raj in India, the colonising Englishmen are demonised with glee, the Indian kings are shown as selfish, soulless beings, and the poor villagers are simpletons. But there’s a rustic charm to the comedy as this film dwells on an isolated incident that unites gullible villagers against the cruel colonisers, and not a snapshot of the Independence struggle or the bloodbath ensues.
Sharma plays the simpleton Manga who falls in love with Sargi (Ishita Dutta). Its love at first sight for Manga, but it isn’t their tender romance that keeps us hooked. The second half, which is filled with a mad bunch of villagers trying to outwit the evil royalty and an Englishman, are the best parts about the drama.
Firangi also brings to the table a different outlook towards patriotism. Unlike previous Bollywood heroes, Manga in Firangi is one who firmly believes in the British Empire but only initially, of course. The film brings out Manga’s change of heart through its interesting plot.
With a tighter script, more laughs, and a stronger arc for Mangatram’s slow transformation from British lackey to pro-independence rebel, this cut-price Lagaan might even have worked. Dhawan lovingly creates Punjab of the ’20s, depicted as a happy place with inter-faith harmony and shared values, and casts a nice set of supporting actors, including Rajesh Sharma and Jameel Khan. But the filmmaker doesn’t pay as much attention to the unwieldy and uninvolving script. Sharma is barely convincing as a laggard who learns of the evil intentions of Daniels and Indraveer until it is nearly too late.
Among the supporting cast, Kumud Mishra fares the best as the corrupt king who is not above forcing his daughter Shyamali (Monica Gill) to marry Daniels to line his account. American actor Edward Sonnenblick, who has mastered the art of playing the caricatured foreigner in Hindi films, brings his trademark hamming to his role. Sonnenblick is this generation’s Bob Cristo, without the innocent charm and the muscular frame, and he does not disappoint.
The climax is long-drawn but enjoyable. While it’s best that Sharma refrain from romancing women on the big-screen, he isn’t shabby when it comes to doing the comic scenes. As usual, the British and their sidekicks speak in caricatured Hindi. It’s a worn-out way to evoke quick laughs, but few of their jokes do land.
Watch this if you are in the mood for a comedy that doesn’t require you to apply your intelligence.