'Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain' Review: Ordinary at best, unconvincing at worst

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain seems promising by its premise and trailer--small town slice-of-life light-hearted drama, cast which includes the likes of Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Tripathi, Ekavali Khanna and young talents like Shivani Raghuvanshi and Anshuman Jha and the highlight that it's co-produced by NFDC. 

Set in the spiritually picturesque Varanasi, the film opens ominously with a cliched voice-over by the Batra family patriarch, Yashwant (Sanjay Mishra) introducing his family and himself. Yashwant's initial mannerisms suggests a flustered man who, albeit surprisingly, happens to be a clerk at India Post which is contrary to the usual easy going "nishchint" stereotype. Hang on, there are many such surprises to come, some of which are appalling. 

Ever since its formation in 1975 as a central government body to support the development of Indian Cinema by producing and distributing films with potential for Cinematic excellence--a status attained by virtue of its social, cultural and artistic merit of thought and craft, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) played a major role to promote the burgeoning "Parallel Cinema" movement. 

Yashwant Batra has a dedicated wife Kiran played by Ekavali Khanna(the saving grace) who is mother to Preeti(played by Shivani). Yashwant is indifferent to his wife who is longing for appreciation and love from her husband. He approaches the role of a husband and a father with a sense of duty. He emphatically reduces marriage to practicality--husband going out to earn the living while the wife does all the household chores and takes care of his children. While some of the dialogues do reflect the real state of affairs as it still prevails in that part of the world but it adds up to nothing as rest of it lacks any definite commentary. 

Perhaps except for the carefully chosen setting and realistically designed spaces that the characters inhabit, Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain has none of the other elements we have come to associate with NFDC films like gripping drama, socio-economic commentary and the powering brains behind--an inspired writer and a spirited director, often the same person. 

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain is set in a small town and not only are its characters very ordinary but so is the story which fails to engage even for a quarter of its runtime. Unlike the common phenomenon of most bad movies starting off well only to falter post interval, Harish Vyas' film takes the opposite course largely due to the performance of Ekavali Khanna who looked most assured and convincing in her part in spite of the presence of reputed character actors like Sanjay Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi, who did their "job" but failed to impress because of the absence of character arc in the screenplay to start with, something they shouldn't be held accountable for. 

What's most troubling about Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain is that it fails to recognize the core of its story for better half of its duration. As a viewer it is discouraging to see the film in order to finds its focus keeps throwing heavy handed expository dialogues at the expense of actual activity, at random without making any attempt to plug them in a subtle manner somewhere in the screenplay to make the gaping holes less apparent. 

Another letdown is the absence of any standout character which again leads to the point observed earlier, what is the focus? It is not on the plot and action; it is certainly not on the character as I failed to truly familiarize myself with any of the character, except maybe Kiran to a small extent; and finally the disoriented viewer finds out that it is indeed a character story but guess what the film is running out of time and it's going nowhere. Wait, what's most convenient now? Here comes a song, here comes a montage. Check-mate. 

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain is neither entertaining nor compelling. It is at its best, watchable in parts. Far from a project destined for excellence in cinema, it is rather an excellent example of ordinary filmmaking. 

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain - Trailer (YouTube)

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