MUMBAI — Take this film as a light package of emotions and entertainment and this might work as its humor is quite often wacky and hilarious. However, while its predecessor “Hindi Medium” examined the evils in the Indian education system with fair incisiveness and worked modestly, this one is an emotional tale of a single parent, Champak Bansal (Irrfan), and his daughter Tarika (Myrah Dandekar as a cute kid and Radhika Madan as adult).
Tarika, from childhood, wants to go abroad and this desire heightens when she knows that a scholarship to the best university in London is being offered by her college. The average student makes a Herculean effort and scores high and is selected, but a silly (actually) gaffe by her father makes her enraged principal (Meghan Malik) tear up her application and Champak vows that his daughter will go to London.
Alongside, other angles are worked in—rival sweet shops between brothers Champak and his brother Gopi (Deepak Dobriyal) and a legal feud over using the family name of Ghasiteram. Champak finds that he can send Tarika abroad, but there are complications when he takes the help of childhood friend Babloo (Ranvir Shorey), now based in London. But when Tarika, Champak and Gopi too fly together to London, bizarre complications ensue.
At the end of the day, the film is just one that warms the cockles of the heart, about how parents can do anything for their children, how blood relationship triumphs over business rivalries, about how children often do not realize that parents too need their support one day and so on. The social message here is not about the education of children but about the father-child bond.
The script is flawed, and the foundation is laid in the hilarious introduction to Champak’s character as a child—his trait as someone permanently confused is never justified in or really linked to all the later events!
However, Adajania, in this weakest film of his career (after “Being Cyrus,” “Cocktail” and “Finding Fanny”) makes the film not only erratic in pace but also absurd and full of loopholes and narrative jerks. Of course, individual sequences are just hilarious (like the first time Tarika drinks and comes home), the way Gopi ties Champak to the bed on the morning when he is going to tell Tarika that she cannot get admission in London and so on. Some emotional scenes are also excellently done, showing the family bonds, and the sequence between Naina and her mother stands out.
But the absurdities are many, including how the cops are tipped off about the hawala transaction, the ease with which Champak and Gopi make friends with Tarika’s landlady, how the two brothers first encounter Naina and later land up at Tarika’s home, and also the erratic behavior of Tarika in London, especially after an altercation with dad.
The whole Babloo angle is absurdly depicted and how the brothers live in London as illegal immigrants and even return to India are all grossly illogical, given that they are not tycoons, and all these flaws even make us remember the dissipated virtues of “Hindi Medium”—unfair to a film that is standalone, actually.
Irrfan is, as usual, very good in the lifelike light and emotional moments, but he is completely overshadowed by the scintillating portrayal by Deepak Dobriyal. Radhika Madan is perfect, but in the second half, an erratic character graph brings down her performance to average. Dimple Kapadia and Ranvir Shorey are excellent in their cameos, and Kareena Kapoor Khan acts brilliantly but we do not know why she often wears revealing outfits as a London cop on duty!
Kiku Sharda and the rest are alright, with Ankit Bisht making an impression as Anmol, Pankaj Tripathi deliberately over the top as the Dubai travel agent, and Zakir Hussain genuinely funny as the judge.
Technically alright, the film has an excellent background score by Sachin-Jigar, though the songs sound nice only while on.
Rating: *** (Just About)
Produced by: Dinesh Vijan & Jyoti Deshpande
Directed by: Homi Adajania
Written by: Bhavesh Mandalia, Gaurav Shukla, Vinay Chhawal & Sara Bodina
Music: Sachin-Jigar & Tanishk Bagchi
Starring: Irrfan, Radhika Madan, Dimple Kapadia, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepak Dobriyal, Kiku Sharda, Ranvir Shorey, Pankaj Tripathi, Zakir Hussain, Manurishi Chadha, Myrah Dandekar, Mark Bennington, Helen Lauren, Ankit Bisht, Meghna Malik, Tilottama Shome, Manish Gandhi, Jivitesh Sharma & others