A compassionate and heartfelt exploration of the realities of love, life and solidarity, ANGREZI MEIN KEHTE HAI (AMKH) is a cut above love story that grows up rather than remain ‘old’ in its idea that discards the typical Bollywood idea of romance.
Helmed by Harish Vyas (know for the Punjabi rom com PROPER PATOLA), AMKH takes the unexpected turn both for romantic comedies and NFDC. The journey is a fascinating coming of age saga that breezes fresh air both for the genre and the institute NFDC – known for spearheading quality cinema since ages.
The director Harish Vyas in the company of Aryan Saha as screen writer, makes us take a holy dip in the pious Ganges as Mahua Chokroborty’s soulfully rendered ‘Ab Maan Jao Sawariya’ to open this heartfelt saga of love. The gharana (read household) of Yashwant Batra (Sanjay Mishra) a 52-year-old, post office employee whose replica can be easily found in your or your neighbor/family member or friend’s house. Caged within his views/ideas and attitude, Yashwant is the typical nagging husband that takes his wife Kiran (Ekavali Khanna) and their relationship for granted. Their daughter Preeti (Shivani Raghuvanshi) is the girl who has her mind and makes her choices. Preeti is in love with the boy next door Jugnu (Anshuman Jha). Yashwant is unwilling to take Jugnu seriously and is secretly nursing a complex feeling as the middle class Yashwant got ‘lucky’ in getting married to a upper middle class Kiran. Reluctant to marry the boy chosen by his father, Preeti rebels and questions his father about his understanding of love and compatibility. The incident changes the life of the Batra’s, especially for Yashwant as he undergoes a journey of self discovery and understanding of love. In the process, Yashwant encounters his prejudice, fights his blemishes and embraces the idea of togetherness courtesy Feroze (Pankaj Tripathi) and Suman (Ipsita Chokroberty) – an inter-caste couple, who provide a living example on how to live with your beloved.
The writer and the director keep AMKH nourished with sweet but not saccharine moments, the biggest triumph of the movie is its ability to get intimate with its target audience with characters, situations taken from real life. The movie is an honest, probing and uplifting depiction of deep love and responsibility that has lost its words and feel amongst many married couples nowadays. Relationships are looked upon as duties. We always expect best from our partner for us without thinking much about their desires and wishes.
Right after the soulful ‘Ab Maan Jao Sawariya’, the voice over of Sanjay Mishra grabs your attention and the gifted actor makes you get arrested in his ancestral apartment in Varanasi, playing Yashwant Batra, the actor after every dramatic, intense, emotional and uplifting moments in scenes after scenes gives an exquisite performance making us to root for Yashwant as he tries to communicate with his wife and say the magic word. It’s a performance driven role and the actor excels in playing the common middle age man going through that known middle age crises and with his brilliance, gives Yashwant the rare nuances making the erstwhile common Yashwant who rants at his wife and in – laws, pleasingly different in the end. Exceptional. After ANKHON DEKHI, MASAAN & KADWI HAWA Sanjay Mishra gives another layered and mastered act.
Ekavali Khanna as Kiran – the victim of his husband’s neglect who is now tied with the daily household duties with no moment of joy in a boring marriage, the actress manages a dignified silence as she silently performs her duties and through her body language and subtle expressions conveys her feelings and waits for that dream moment with her beloved which has now ironically become a dream. The actress gives a mature performance and makes her surrender believable and identifiable. The scene where she finally opens up and confronts her husband Yashwant is done with controlled anxiety and anger making it sure that it doesn’t go over the top in its rage staying true to the demands of the character. Marvelous.
Shivani Raghuvanshi as Preeti is adorable. Anshuman Jha as Jugnu is endearing. Pankaj Tripathi as Feroz – the ideal life partner is top class. The brilliant actor has that magical scene where he stands out. Ipsita Chokroberty as Suman – Feroz’s wife shines in that moment. Brijendra Kala makes his mark in a cameo.
Technicalities are up to mark with decent production values. Faroukh Mistry’s camera takes us on a pious journey through the banks of Varanasi. The shots are eye pleasing. Suresh Pai editing is sharp.
The music of the film deserves special mention. A blend between classical, folk and feel good, the composers Praveen Kuwar, Oni-Adil and Ranjan Sharma do a fantastic job. With the veteran lyricist Yogesh Gaur who wrote ‘Kahin Door Jab Din Dal Jaaye’ for the eternal classic ANAND and many other gems in BAATON BAATON MEIN, CHHOTI SI BAAT etc, does takes you to that magical nostalgic era of 70’s where parallel cinema was shaping up.
The dialogues are touchy with gems like “ Aap mere pass ho par mere saath nahi” speaks volumes about the aghast that married couples face.
On the flip side, the movie for a while unnecessarily restores to known clichés contrary to its basic theme – that love duet between Preeti and Jugnu was uncalled.
Nevertheless, AMKH is a small film with a big heart that, a poignant realism that widens our conception of the term love, marriage and relationships. It may not be that first date kind of a movie but certainly it’s that long awaited date with your valentine which urges you to say “you are mine”.