Movie Reviews

Firangi Movie Review: It Is  Deliriously Enjoyable Even For Non-Kapil Fans!

Kapil Sharma in Firangi

Starring: Kapil Sharma, Monica Gill,Ishita Dutta, Anjan Shrivastava, Edward Sonenblick

Directed  by: Rajiev Dhingra

Rating: ****(4 stars)

In  his second  –and far  superior to the  first—outing as a feature-film star,Kapil Sharma  has a special skill.

He kicks ass.Literally. With one  foot in the butt he can heal the most stubborn backaches.

It doesn’t take long for the curious British officer—yes, Firangi is set in the Colonial Raj—to hone in on our hero Manga’s unique talent.The  rest of this wildly enjoyable  pokerfacedcomedy  has a lot  to do with how Manga uses his talent to get his way with the Gora Log.

First things first. Firang  is  an original and frequently clever take on the tricky relationship between  the Colonizers and the Colonized .And  though Kapil Sharma is  no Aamir Khan and  this is  no Lagaan, Firangi  often careens  audaciously towards making a complete fool of itself but pulls back just in time to stay within the realm of the tongue-in-cheek.

Take a bow, then,  Kapil Sharma  .And his director Rajiev Dhingra for a film that offers the elementary pleasure of  a cinema that relies on simplicity artlessness and  a humorous candour to  glide across a well-executed colonial saga where the  Britishers are  not barking tyrants and the Indian peasants are  not  always the doe-eyed oppressed innocent creatures we want them  to be or have seen them being in films as diverse as Manmohan Desai’s Mard andAshutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan .

For a  film that aims  only to alchemize  British India into primal entertainment—and succeeds in doing so—Firangi displays a great eye for visual detail.From the clothes and mannerisms  of the British characters  to a matchbox with the British flag painted on it….Shabana Kannnam’s art direction and Rashid Rangrez’s production design  are topnotch, much more so than the flippant tone and  offhand execution  of the buoyant plot suggest.

Throughout the lengthy  but never dull  narration,  director Rajiev Dhindra employs an offhand tone, that suggests we don’t take the quirky  colonial  saga too seriously. But look closely. You will see  the film leaves  nothing to chance.  From the  attractive songs and theeyecatching authentic  locations in rural Punjab to  the  absolutely delightful supporting cast…Firangi gets  it right in the bright light.The Glare never blinds the characters and their doings.

Every cameo of the villagers in  revolt against the local British ruler(Edward Sonenblick, playing the  White oppressor with some arrogance and some  compassion) is well-etched .Kumud Mishra as a buffoonish royalty sucking up to the Britishers represents a very true chapter of  history from  the  British India when  princely states sold themselves  out to the  Britishers.Inaamulhaq as Kapil’s pal has to run around in a bridal outfit for the climax whileAnjan Shrivastava as a Gandhian freedom fighter must project righteousness without seeming  pompous.

Every actor succeeds  in walking that  tightrope where clownish Colonialism must be cloaked in massy entertainment without the  plot plunging into anarchy. Many of the actors, including Monica Gill as an  Oxonian Rajkumari manage to be borderline  caricatures, larger-than-life yet endearing, none more so than Kapil Sharma who brings a great deal  of improvised warmth to  his  role as a  reluctant rebel .

Those who think Kapil’s days are  numbered  should make  it a point to see what unrehearsed  energy he  brings to even the most  mundane  conversation about a  bar  of soap.

And  guess who  makes a  very special appearance  at the end? No, it’s not Sunil Grover.

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