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Firangi  : An Outdated Desi
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Friday, December 1, 2017
Rajiv Dhingra
Kapil Sharma, Ishita Dutta, Monica Gill, Edward Sonnenblick

It’s a sad, sad fall for the man who until recently ruled as Indian television’s King of Comedy. And it’s tragi-comic when Kapil Sharma deludes himself into believing that he could be the King of Romance.


Director Rajeev Dhingra, reeling under the illusion that he’s making another Lagaan, harks back to the era of the British Raj. He even gets Amitabh Bachchan to do a voiceover a la Lagaan.


It’s love over borrowed quilts when simpleton Manga goes to the next village for a wedding and falls in love with Sargi. What Manga has apart from oodles of innocence and decency is a shafa, or God’s gift, where he can cure a backache with one well-aimed kick. It wins him a coveted orderly’s uniform and a job with British officer Mark Daniels who needs a timely kick now and then.Dazzled by their lifestyle, Manga begins to believe that Daniels and the British aren’t all that bad.


It’s precisely because of this that Gandhian Lala who wants to boot out the British from India, rejects Manga as a groom for Sargi.


There’s a wealthy Raja around with whom Daniels strikes a lucrative business deal that’ll render the people of Sargi’s village homeless. Mangu the gullible plays into Daniels’ hands.


It’s time for Mangu to be the hero of the show, save the village and win Sargi’s hand.


It’s tough to pick the redeeming features of this unduly lengthy 2 hour 40 minute saga and easier to point out just what makes Firangi completely out of sync with contemporary movie-watching. The pre-Partition setting doesn’t make a patriotic connect with its time-worn storyline, a tepid screenplay and cardboard characters.


Kapil Sharma as Mangu just doesn’t have what it takes to play an emotional romantic hero. Although a good actress, Ishita Dutta as Sargi also doesn’t have what’s required of a mainstream heroine. So a long stretch of the couple that’s attracted to each other over a wedding celebration doesn’t have the charm to make your heart tick for them. Edward Sonnenblick cast as Mark Daniels is like a new Tom Alter, the firang who speaks accented Hindi.


With music that has rustic Punjab all over it and even a 70s’ style mujra number watched by the cunning Raja and the villagers he’s out to dupe, Firangi is truly caught in a time-warp.


The money spent on production is lamentable as even scenes that could’ve been entertaining are not executed with the timing needed to make them ha, ha humorous. For instance, all those kicks in the rear could’ve been rollicking fun.


Or the pre-climax juxtaposed with a wedding which has very brief flashes of humour, would’ve made a great comic-tense sequence in more efficient hands.


For a film that went of style four decades ago, Firangi gets a 2* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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