Ishita Dutta and Kapil Sharma in a still from Firangi. Photograph:( Others )
For a TV star, Firangi is an ambitious project. Kapil Sharma's second big outing at the movies has him playing a do-gooder, slow-witted orderly of a British Officer in 1920's Punjab. Sharma turns producer for the period film and one can see how desperate he is to come out of his set image of a comic. Which is why Firangi is an ambitious film for the stand-up comic-turned-actor. It's a gamble that Sharma plays with but the result is not necessarily a good one.
In love with Sragi (Ishita Dutta ), Sharma's character Manga wants to win her and her family over and get married. Sharma's boss, British Officer Daniel though wants the village to be evacuated as he wants to set up a liquor factory there in partnership with the local king Inderjeet (Kumud Mishra) While the King and Daniel want to use Manga as their pawn against the villagers, Manga wants to be other side and win his love.
Now, on paper, the story may have looked good but implementing on the big screen is a whole new ball game. The plot is oversimplified, the climax has a hilarious nationalism angle to it and one can't decide as to which genre the film falls into. The narrative keeps oscillating between comedy and drama in 160 minutes of its runtime.
Sharma, who rose to superstardom on television because of his comedy show, tries hard to step out of his comfort zone. Which in itself is a blunder. He is still new to films and ideally should be doing what he does best. But what Firangi gives us is a straight face Kapil Sharma who tries hard to romance a much younger looking Ishita Dutta. Their scenes together lack any chemistry and they look rather unconvincing as a couple. In fact, Dutta barely has anything to do in the film and is almost missing in the greater part of second half. Sharma also ropes in Anjjan Srivastav and Rajesh Sharma- two versatile actors- but they too are let down due to poor writing. The only person who shines in this sordid film is Kumud Mishra as the corrupt King but he alone can't make the film good.
Firangi ultimately suffers because of poor writing and poor editing. It could have been easily half an hour shorter and the screenplay could have been dealt a bit maturely. It is also sad that the writers do not use Sharma's quick wit to their advantage and one can see the comedian spark only in few scenes.
So, is the film all bad. Not quite. Cinematographer Navneet Misser paints a beautiful canvas and Punjab countryside comes alive in some long shots. The music by Jatinder Shah is soulful. The songs have folksy tunes and are definitely hummable.
If you have watched Kapil Sharma's previous films- and been disappointed, Firangi will appeal to you. But that does not give director Rajiev Dhingra and the team the excuse to make such a poorly written, underwhelming film.