By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 19, 2018
Rating: 3.5 / 5
The essence: For most, marriage is a given and the relationship is taken for granted. But life is not a given, make the most of it by expressing your love. This is what Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain is all about. It’s a slice of life film which is worth a watch.
Life is a given, and wife is a given, too! Or so the men thought [sadly, some still do] in the early seventies and eighties, and even earlier. In those days, the age difference between a husband and his wife, on an average, would be 15 years! Today’s generation who are in their forties still have parents with that age difference. Nothing wrong with that, it was the norm, since their parents had already decided who their daughter would marry even without the daughter knowing she was to marry.
The man was the ‘Man’ of the house: He went to work whilst the wife ensured the home and children were taken care of. The husband came home from work and expected his wife to be around to take his bag, pick up his clothes, get some ice for his ’drink’ (in some cases). Sometimes the husband would even ask for water without asking for it! I mean sarcasm was thick in the air. All this time the husband came home from work, the wife never got to take time off from her ‘work’ at home.
Most of us have experienced this whilst growing up in our own homes or even witnessed it in neighbouring homes. Director Harish Vyas touches on this strange, quirky ‘everyday life happening’ in a very matter-of-fact manner, dealing with the issues with no frills attached.
Yashwant Batra (Sanjay Mishra) and his wife Kiran (Ekavali Khanna) are living this exact staid life in Benaras with their only daughter Preeti (Shivani Raghuvanshi). The age difference between the couple is obvious. Yaswant, like the man of the house ‘manfully’ manoeuvres around subtly ‘demanding’ for his things instead of requesting. And like the dutiful wife, Kiran, always, with a smile on her face, gives in to his every request. The marriage goes on like this… for 24 years. That’s how Yashwant thinks marriages should be and how couples should behave. No need to express emotions; after all marriage is something that could not be avoided (at most times then, it was with a person not of your choice) and life has to be lived mechanically.
Things, however, change when Yashwant arranges Preeti’s marriage with a boy of his choice without the consent of his daughter. Preeti has a love story of her own with her neignbour’s son Jugnu (Anshuman Jha) and is bold enough to take a step to marry him without her parents’ consent and even show the mirror to her father and his relationship with his wife stating: “I do not want to live a life like yours.” Meanwhile, after Preeti’s marriage, Kiran decides to go to her parents’ home since she has had enough, while Yashwant, helped by his daughter and son-in-law, tries to woo his wife back.
Technically, the movie is sound, establishing the plot and the genuine intent of the characters which are all well portrayed. The screenplay too is in keeping in sync with the mood of the moment. Sanjay Mishra as this grouchy man who works in the local post office has shaken off the residue of the last few roles he has essayed. This actor easily gets trapped in the previous characters he has portrayed. In fact, so adept is Mishra in his roles that he has been sleepwalking into every character he has been playing of late.
His hairstyle remains the same, ditto his unshaven look. In fact even his body language and style of dialogue delivery for any character he plays in any movie is the same. There is never any improvisation. I can understand if the actor just wants to be himself, but what about the director? Does he not have a vision of the character he wants Mishra to play? Is there no character sketch for Mishra or is it one Mishra fits all roles?
Kudos to Vyas for having a character sketch for Mishra and executing it to perfection; as the demanding husband he is ‘cringe worthy’ and as the man who wants to make amends in his relationship, he is adorable. Sanjay Mishra with this role has broken the mould which he had been cast into.
Ekavali Khanna is by now known as the actor who shatters the boundaries in every film she acts and in every role she is assigned. As the submissive wife, your heart reaches out to her for performing her duties without complaining, knowing this is her lot and this is her ‘marriage’. Her love for her husband is obvious and she makes no attempt to hide it. Most of us have seen wives like her in our neighbourhood and Ekavali, once again pumps up the volume in her characterization of Kiran, staying well within the boundaries of her performance, making Kiran lovable and at the same time one you can identify with. A perfect portrayal!
However, it is Pankaj Tripathi who comes out of nowhere to steal the thunder in his cameo as this dutiful husband devoted to his dying wife. The man is just brilliant essaying his role with such passion and emotion. A study in method acting!
For most, marriage is a given and the relationship is taken for granted. But life is not a given, make the most of it by expressing your love. This is what Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain is all about. It’s a slice of life film which is worth a watch.
Producer: Manav Malhotra
Director: Harish Vyas
Star Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Ekavali Khanna, Anshuman Jha, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Pankaj Tripathi