India Vs England: NRI life through desi lens

India Vs England movie review: NRI life through desi lens

India Vs England
Rating: 3/5
Cast: Vasishta N Simha, Manvita Kamath, Ananth Nag
Director: Nagathihalli Chandrashekar
Language: Kannada  (U/A)

When an award-winning director like Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, aka Meshtru, makes a film, expectations soar. This is a film he has made after a gap of four years.

‘India vs England’ opens with an upbeat song about Kannada, featuring Sumalatha, an NRI who teaches Kannada at a community group abroad. 

She connects with home using technology — by listening to everything from street sounds to Kannada songs. Her husband, a doctor, is played by Prakash Belawadi. They have two children — one rebellious and attention-demanding, the other busy video-blogging — all happily settled in the UK. 

The son, Kanishka (played by Vasishta Simha), meets Medini (played by Manvitha Harish) when his video-blogging passion takes him to India. Medini’s grandfather Bhagiratha (Ananth Nag) is a gemologist and activist campaigning to bring back heritage lost to foreigners. The famed diamond, Kohinoor, is thrown into the story. What follows is a pacy thriller with many twists and turns, laced with romance and action.

Kanishka takes the heroine to the UK soon enough. The film then shows a slice of NRI life — patronising Indian aunties who snoop into the Instagram accounts of youngsters, parents annoyed by the new generation’s carefree attitude, and neglected children trying to get parental attention in different ways. People out there change their moods and hearts at lightening speed. 

As for the bad guys involved in smuggling, they follow the lead pair goofily leaving their footprints everywhere. The hero and heroine don’t notice them, leading to many comical moments. 

Kanishka finds troupes to dance with in Indian style even in London. But what good is a movie that isn’t interesting enough for an average Kannada film buff? So the film packs in tried-and-tested commercial elements.

There are gems of wisdom about contemporary life, as when Anant Nag, digging deep into history, says, “Nobody has patience these days”. The movie has a deep urge to “right the wrongs of the past”. It tries to show not everything is black-and-white, but ends up being rhetorical at times, with factual inaccuracies creeping in.

The story takes the viewer to many tourist destinations across India dotted with the footprints of colonial rule that hide painful memories, and reminds the viewer how precious the freedom we have now is.

While the movie plays on the sentiments of an average mild-hearted patriotic Indian, it also tries to please everyone by dedicating a few frames to the progressive thinkers and writers of Kannada Nadu.

Both these sides of the movie are a facade for each other. Pick what you like. Like a dialogue by ‘Meshtru’ says: "The truth is in neither left nor right. It’s somewhere in the middle, one needs the patience to find it."