First the good news: Firangi, the comedy led by fading Hindi comedian Kapil Sharma, is far more enjoyable than its trailer. But the bad news? It’s a situational comedy that feels like a slick school drama with clear demarcations about heroes and villains.
Every emotion in this film — be it love, anger or fear — is inflated exponentially.
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). It’s 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.
Sharma should ideally stick to comedy — his mushy Romeo turn feels contrived. Dutta, the village belle who captures his fancy plays Sargi, is in a forgettable role. She’s on call to look like a hapless damsel.
But the same cannot be said for Kumud Mishra, who plays the greedy, lustful king Raja Inderveer Singh, or Rajesh Sharma who plays Sargi’s father. They manage to bring some zest into the period comedy.
Raja Inderveer Singh colludes with an English government official to uproot a village and build a liquor factory in its place. He even pawns his posh Oxford-educated daughter, played by Monica Gill, off to the Englishman for better profits.
Manga — who is known as the miracle man because he can heal people’s back problems with a kick on their backside — gets unwittingly involved in their modus operandi. The next thing you know Sharma is taking charge and outwitting the English and the villains with a combination of buffoonery and sharp-wittedness.
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.
Check it out!
Director: Rajiev Dhingra
Cast: Kapil Sharma, Rajesh Sharma, Kumud Mishra, Ishita Dutta and Monica Gill
Stars: 2.5 out of 5