Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Simerjit Singh|
|Produced by||Jaspal Sandhu|
|Written by||Amberdeep Singh|
|Music by||Jatinder Shah|
|Edited by||Omkarnath Bhakri|
Rhythm Boyz Entertainment
|Box office||₹31 Crore |
Angrej (lit. Englishman) is a 2015 Indian Punjabi-language historical romance film directed by Simerjit Singh. Co-produced by Aman Khatkar's Arsara Films, Dara Productions, J Studios, and Rhythm Boyz Entertainment, it stars Amrinder Gill, Sargun Mehta, and Aditi Sharma in lead roles. Set against the backdrop of the waning British Raj, the film chronicles the love story of a young man and a woman belonging to different social strata. Angrej has Ammy Virk, Binnu Dhillon, Anita Devgan, Sardar Sohi, and Nirmal Rishi in supporting roles; it marked the feature film debut for Mehta and Virk.
Conceived as a romantic comedy set in the pre-partitioned Punjab, Angrej's story was written by Amberdeep Singh, who had always wanted to work on a period film about Punjabi culture. The film was shot in the rural parts of Rajasthan and Punjab over the course of 40 days, with Navneet Misser serving as the cinematographer. Production designer Raashid Rangrez paid particular attention to the film's sets and costumes as he wanted them to accurately represent the Punjab of the 1940s. Jatinder Shah composed the film's soundtrack, which features vocals from Gill, Virk and Sunidhi Chauhan.
Angrej was released theatrically on 31 July 2015; it received positive response from film critics and audience alike. The performances of the cast, the production design, and the humour were chiefly praised. Commercially, Angrej grossed a total of around ₹307 million in its theatrical run and became one of the highest grossing Punjabi films of all time. It was nominated for 22 awards at the 2015 PTC Punjabi Film Awards, winning 10 including the Best Film, Best Director (Simerjeet Singh), Best Actor (Gill), and Best Actress (Mehta).
Angrej, an elderly man from India, arrives at his pre-partition home in Pakistan, where he meets the current residents. When asked about his time in Pakistan, he begins to tell them of his experiences in the pre-partitioned India.
In 1945, a young farmer Angrej and his friend Aslam, visit a carnival in a nearby village. Angrej meets Maado at the carnival and falls for her. She reciprocates his feelings and the two begin a secret relationship. He proposes marriage to Maado, but she is reluctant as her family would not approve of a love marriage, neither would Angrej's. He tells his mother of his intentions to marry Maado. Angrej's mother disapproves of the relationship, but his sister-in-law agrees to arrange for the marriage.
Later, when Angrej goes to inform Maado of the impending marriage proposal, he is caught by Maado's father. Before he could do anything, a snake bites him and he loses his ability to speak as a result of partial paralysis. Haakam, a rich landlord from Lahore and a distant relative of Maado's grandmother begins to frequently visit their house and falls in love with Maado. Angrej sells his buffalo in order to buy jewellery for Maado. However, she tells him that her family disapproves of his financial condition. She gives in to the advances made by Haakam, who brings her various gifts. Angrej is heartbroken when he witnesses a secret meeting between the two; Hakkam had brought a wood-cased radio for Maado from Lahore, much to her amusement.
Angrej's family is invited to his cousin's wedding, where he meets Dhann Kaur, his cousin's friend and the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat. The two also develop a friendship over the course of the next few days. Maado and her family are also present at the wedding. Kaur helps Angrej in getting back with Maado, but is herself attracted to him. Haakam arrives at the wedding with the groom's baraat; that night, he makes a pass at many women including Kaur. Angrej rebukes him and the two engage in a fight, but are later pacified by Maado's father. Hakkam continues to flirt with women and is caught by Maado the following day. Angrej consoles her and the two rekindle their romance. The wedding concludes on the day of the vidai and the guests begin to return home. Angrej bids farewell to Kaur, who is smitten by him by this point.
Angrej begins to dress like a landlord and buys a pair of gold bangles for Maado. Impressed by his new appearance, Maado proposes him for marriage. Angrej realises that he does not love Maado any more but instead wants to be with Kaur, who loves him. Aslam intimates him of Kaur's impending wedding to a landlord's son. Angrej then pleads his case to Kaur's father, who is enraged by his indecency and impudence. He threatens to shoot an undeterred Angrej as Kaur watches helplessly. Maado's father, who has recovered from his paralysis, intervenes and vouches for Angrej. He is able to convince Kaur's father to agree to the wedding, much to the delight of the couple.
In the present day, Angrej scatters Kaur's ashes in the open fields around their old house as per her last wishes.
- Amrinder Gill as Angrej 'Geja'
- Sargun Mehta as Dhann Kaur
- Aditi Sharma as Maado
- Ammy Virk as Haakam
- Binnu Dhillon as Aslam
- Sardar Sohi as Baghel Singh, Maado's grandfather
- Nirmal Rishi as Maado's grandmother
- Anita Devgan as Geja's Mother
Amrinder Gill and Amberdeep Singh began working on Angrej immediately after the completion of their previous production, the 2014 comedy film Goreyan Nu Daffa Karo. Singh wrote the screenplay and dialogue for the film; he said that idea of an Indian wedding in the pre-partitioned Punjab is what inspired him to write the script. He wanted the film to represent "the culture, the food, the joy" for the contemporary audience. Gill, who also starred in the film described it as a love story set in rural Punjab of 1945, one that "silently introduces the traditional Punjabi culture and lifestyle" and is "packed with high doses of comedy". Simerjit Singh was later hired to direct the film. In an interview with the Punjab News Express, he said that the film's title, Angrej, which roughly translates to "Englishman" was used by the people of British Punjab to label someone whose "thoughts were ahead of their times".
Gill said that it was a challenging task to find the right actresses to play Maado and Dhan Kaur. Aditi Sharma and debutante Sargun Mehta, who according to Gill suited the characters "unbelievably well", were eventually cast in the roles after a lengthy auditioning process and multiple screen tests. Sharma said that she always wanted to work in a Punjabi film and was attracted to Angrej's script and its "old world charm". Mehta, who made her feature film debut was offered the role by Amberdeep Singh. The duo had previously worked together on the reality show Comedy Circus. Comedian Binnu Dhillon, Punjabi singer Ammy Virk, Anita Devgan, Sardar Sohi, and Nirmal Rishi play supporting roles in the films. Virk said that he was keen on doing the film as the role of Hakkam resembled him in real life. To prepare for their respective roles, the cast met various people who had been residents of Punjab in the 1940s; Gill also read books and watched documentaries about Punjabi culture and the use of language.
Filming and post-production
Principal photography for Angrej took place in the rural parts of Punjab and Rajasthan; Navneet Misser served as the film's cinematographer. The scenes of the village locale were shot at Suratgarh, a remote town close to the border of the two states as the production team wanted to "depict life sans electric poles, mobile towers and modern-day lifestyle". Production designer Raashid Rangrez said that the producers chose Rajasthan over Punjab as the semi-arid terrain of the region was better representative of Punjab prior to the green revolution; he added that for an "authentic 1945 setup, we had to be connected with earthy look". He paid particular attention to landscaping, with the production team constructing their own sets on the various shooting locations. The cast and crew had also collected such property as period utensils prior to commencement of filming.
Costumes, which included Punjabi wedding attire, were made of khadi handloom fabric. The cloth was brought Banaras, Bikaner, and Jalandhar. Rangrez and his team of designers, which included Manmeet Bindra used white cloth for creating the costumes and dyed them later: "emotions matter more and emotions are connected deeply with colors. So [we] wanted to create colors on our own". Filming for the production was done in a single schedule that lasted for around 40 days. Angrej was edited by Omkarnath Bhakri and its final cut ran for a total of 136 minutes. The film was produced by Aman Khatkar's Arsara Films in collaboration with Dara Productions, J Studios, and A Rhythm Boys Entertainment. The international distribution rights for the project were acquired by the London-based production and distribution house, Filmonix.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||23 July 2015|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
Angrej's soundtrack was composed by Punjabi music composer and recording artist Jatinder Shah; the lyrics were written by Happy Raikoti, Vinder Nathumajra, Jaggi Jagowal, and Shveta Saarya. The album consists of seven songs which were primarily recorded by Gill, except for the tracks "Jind Mahi", which was sung by Sunidhi Chauhan and "Angrej Tappe", which featured additional verses from Virk. The complete soundtrack was released under the label of Rhythm Boyz on iTunes on 23 July 2015. The album was also made available for digital download on Google Play in the same month; it was well received by audience and holds an average score of 4.7 out of 5 on Google Play based on 38 reviews. Critical response to the music was positive; at the 2015 PTC Punjabi Film Awards, Shah and Raikoti won the Best Music Director and Best Lyricist awards respectively. Jasmine Singh of The Tribune dubbed the songs as "brilliant" and singled out the "peppy, traditional, and hummable" number "Kurta Suha" as the highlight of the album. The track was also nominated for the Song of the Year award at PTC ceremony.
|1.||"Mil Ke Baithange"||Vinder Nathumajra||Jatinder Shah||Amrinder Gill||3:38|
|2.||"Kurta Suha"||Happy Raikoti||Jatinder Shah||Amrinder Gill||3:13|
|3.||"Family Di Member"||Jaggi Jagowal||Jatinder Shah||Amrinder Gill||2:35|
|4.||"Chette Kar Kar Ke"||Happy Raikoti||Jatinder Shah||Amrinder Gill||4:04|
|5.||"Vanjhali Vaja"||Happy Raikoti||Jatinder Shah||Amrinder Gill||4:14|
|6.||"Jind Mahi"||Shveta Saarya||Jatinder Shah||Sunidhi Chauhan||2:15|
|7.||"Angrej Tappe"||Happy Raikoti||Jatinder Shah||Amrinder Gill, Ammy Virk||3:41|
Angrej was released theatrically on 31 July 2015. It collected an approximate total of ₹11.5 million (US$160,000) on its opening day, making it the third highest opening day collection for a Punjabi film in the region and fourth highest in India. The production was expected to do well in Punjab when compared to other releases including the mystery thriller Drishyam. The numbers grew over the next two days and the film went on to collect around ₹40.5 million (US$560,000) in its opening weekend. Angrej also released internationally in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand collecting a total of ₹125 million (US$1.7 million) overall. The film grossed a total of ₹307 million (US$4.3 million) in its theatrical run. One of the highest grossing Punjabi films of all time,
—Jasmine Singh, The Tribune
Jasmine Singh of The Tribune praised most aspects of the production. She described it as a period love story "sewn together with precision [...] Ruh ton! (right from the soul)". She wrote that the film establishes a rapport with the audience and there is not a single drab moment. Singh also positively reviewed the film's dialogue, narrative, and direction, adding that Amberdeep Singh "ensures you laugh [and] cry like a child and fall in love like you have just turned a child!". Others also ascribed the film's appeal to its flawless screenplay and "beautifully worded" dialogue and credited Amberdeep for creating a "masterpiece".
Angrej was also praised for its production design and described as "one of the rare Punjabi films, in which the art department had worked really hard on recreating an era in which this film is set [...] by taking care of minute details". Reacting positively to the Misser's camera work, Amritbir Kaur wrote that the exotic locale and sceneries have been used so charmingly that "they are in such close proximity of the main fabric of the film". Commentators were also appreciative of the film's use of humour, which finds a "meaningful place" in the film's narrative and "[is] so natural and spontaneous that nowhere one is forced to laugh".
The performances of the majority cast was also well received. Critics noted Gill's positive transition from a singer to an actor; Singh wrote that while Gill might not "evoke laughter from loud dialogues, but his innocent face and dialogue delivery will leave you in splits". Observers were also unanimous in their praise for Dhillion's natural acting skills and his comic abilities. Both Kaur and Singh lauded Mehta and Sharma for their performances in their debut roles, Kaur favoured Mehta for her spontaneity. Singh also noted that Angrej went beyond the generic hero-centric premise: "every single character fits the bill". She was particularly impressed by Devgan's "loveable and absolutely fantastic" and Sohi's "brilliant" performances.
Awards and nominations
|Award||Date of ceremony[a]||Category||Recipient and nominee||Result||Ref(s)|
|PTC Punjabi Film Awards||14 April 2016||Best Editing||Omkarnath Bhakri||Nominated|||
|Best Story||Amberdeep Singh||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Navneet Misser||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Amberdeep Singh||Won|
|Best Dialogues||Amberdeep Singh||Nominated|
|Best Lyricist||Happy Raikoti (for song "Kurta Suha")||Won|
|Best Lyricist||Vinder Nathumajra
(for song "Mil Ke Baithange")
|Best Music Director||Jatinder Shah||Won|
|Best Playback Singer (female)||Sunidhi Chauhan
(for song "Jind Mahi")
|Best Playback Singer (male)||Amrinder Gill (for song "Kurta Suha")||Nominated|
|Best Playback Singer (male)||Amrinder Gill (for song "Vanjhali Vaja")||Nominated|
|Most Popular Song of the Year||Amrinder Gill (for song "Kurta Suha")||Nominated|
|Most Popular Song of the Year||Amrinder Gill (for song "Vanjhali Vaja")||Nominated|
|Best Debut (female)||Aditi Sharma||Won|
|Best Debut (female)||Sargun Mehta||Nominated|
|Best Debut (male)||Ammy Virk||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Ammy Virk||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Aditi Sharma||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Sargun Mehta||Won|
|Best Actor||Amrinder Gill||Won|
|Best Director||Simerjit Singh||Won|
- Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
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