Homi Adajania’s Angrezi Medium, a sequel to Saket Chaudhary’s Hindi Medium, starts off promisingly. In Rajasthan’s Udaipur, sweet-shop owner Champak Bansal (Irrfan), is a single parent, raising his daughter, Tarika (Radhika Madan), who’s at the cusp of turning 18. The two share an endearing, harmonious relationship that carries an emotional authenticity which Adajania establishes with great economy: within the film’s first 20 minutes or so.
Tarika is besotted with the thought of going abroad, a dream she’s harboured since she was a little girl. She’s an average student but through sheer determination, aces her finals which earn her a scholarship in a prestigious London university. However, her father, who’s embroiled in a legal battle with his brother over the name of the sweet shop - Ghaseetaram - unintentionally jeopardises that opportunity which means that if Tarika has to go abroad, it’d be at the family’s expense and not a school scholarship.
This is the film’s crux: small-town father vows to fulfil her daughter’s dream of graduating from a foreign university.
The depiction of the father-daughter bond, till the first half, is perhaps the only authentic part of Angrezi Medium, a film that progressively forgets the story it started out to tell and gets caught up in contrived sub-plots that are exhausting to bear and at times, cringeworthy to watch (Pankaj Tripathi is particularly wasted). Champak’s rivalry with his brother, played by an unfailingly delightful Deepak Dobriyal is entertaining at first but ultimately, gets repetitive and betrays its own arc: their rivalry is caused and solved with the kind of ease that you see in that viral Ambuja cement ad. It’s written solely for laughs, with no real thought on the coherence of the emotions of character.
As the action moves from Udaipur to London, a lot of highly unfathomable and poorly crafted sequences unfold: both Irrfan and Dobriyal’s characters get held up by British airport...