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Angrej

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Angrej
A poster featuring Gill and Mehta riding a bicycle with three other people in background. The title of the film is in the foreground.
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySimerjit Singh
Produced byJaspal Sandhu
Amarbir Sandhu
Aman Khatkar
Sameer Dutts
Written byAmberdeep Singh
StarringAmrinder Gill
Aditi Sharma
Sargun Mehta
Ammy Virk
Binnu Dhillon
Music byJatinder Shah
CinematographyNavneet Misser
Edited byOmkarnath Bhakri
Production
company
Rhythm Boyz Entertainment
Dara Productions
J Studio
Release date
  • 31 July 2015 (2015-07-31)
Running time
136 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguagePunjabi
Box office₹31 Crore [1]

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).

Plot[edit]

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.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3] 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".[4][5] Simerjit Singh was later hired to direct the film.[6] 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".[3]

Sargun Mehta smiling at the camera.
Sargun Mehta (pictured 2017) made her feature film debut with Angrej.

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.[2] Sharma said that she always wanted to work in a Punjabi film and was attracted to Angrej's script and its "old world charm".[7] 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.[8] Comedian Binnu Dhillon, Punjabi singer Ammy Virk, Anita Devgan, Sardar Sohi, and Nirmal Rishi play supporting roles in the films.[4][9] Virk said that he was keen on doing the film as the role of Hakkam resembled him in real life.[2][10] 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.[5]

Filming and post-production[edit]

Gill and Singh previewing the shot
Amrinder Gill and Simerjit Singh on set of Angrej.

Principal photography for Angrej took place in the rural parts of Punjab and Rajasthan; Navneet Misser served as the film's cinematographer.[11][12] 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".[7] 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.[13] The cast and crew had also collected such property as period utensils prior to commencement of filming.[2]

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".[13] Filming for the production was done in a single schedule that lasted for around 40 days.[12] Angrej was edited by Omkarnath Bhakri and its final cut ran for a total of 136 minutes.[14][15] The film was produced by Aman Khatkar's Arsara Films in collaboration with Dara Productions, J Studios, and A Rhythm Boys Entertainment.[12] The international distribution rights for the project were acquired by the London-based production and distribution house, Filmonix.[16]

Soundtrack[edit]

Angrej
Soundtrack album by
Released23 July 2015 (2015-07-23)
Recorded2015
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length23:00
LabelRhythm Boyz

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.[17] 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.[18] The complete soundtrack was released under the label of Rhythm Boyz on iTunes on 23 July 2015.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[4] The track was also nominated for the Song of the Year award at PTC ceremony.[21]

Track list
No.TitleLyricsMusicSinger(s)Length
1."Mil Ke Baithange"Vinder NathumajraJatinder ShahAmrinder Gill3:38
2."Kurta Suha"Happy RaikotiJatinder ShahAmrinder Gill3:13
3."Family Di Member"Jaggi JagowalJatinder ShahAmrinder Gill2:35
4."Chette Kar Kar Ke"Happy RaikotiJatinder ShahAmrinder Gill4:04
5."Vanjhali Vaja"Happy RaikotiJatinder ShahAmrinder Gill4:14
6."Jind Mahi"Shveta SaaryaJatinder ShahSunidhi Chauhan2:15
7."Angrej Tappe"Happy RaikotiJatinder ShahAmrinder Gill, Ammy Virk3:41
Total length:23:00

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Angrej was released theatrically on 31 July 2015.[6] 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.[22] 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.[23] Angrej also released internationally in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand collecting a total of 125 million (US$1.7 million) overall.[24] The film grossed a total of 307 million (US$4.3 million) in its theatrical run.[25] One of the highest grossing Punjabi films of all time,[1]

Critical response[edit]

[Angrej] is a cheerful reminder of love in the old times when a boy would fear asking out the girl he loved, forget about holding hands [...] what catches your attention is the detailing done to the tee. The sets, the props, the dresses and dialect, everything reminds you of the old times, which probably you have heard or seen. And without any exaggeration!

—Jasmine Singh, The Tribune[4]

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!".[4] Others also ascribed the film's appeal to its flawless screenplay and "beautifully worded" dialogue and credited Amberdeep for creating a "masterpiece".[26]

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".[27] 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".[26] Commentators were also appreciative of the film's use of humour, which finds a "meaningful place"[4] in the film's narrative and "[is] so natural and spontaneous that nowhere one is forced to laugh".[26]

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".[4] 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.[4][26] 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.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Date of ceremony[a] Category Recipient and nominee Result Ref(s)
PTC Punjabi Film Awards 14 April 2016[28] Best Editing Omkarnath Bhakri Nominated [21]
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")
Nominated
Best Music Director Jatinder Shah Won
Best Playback Singer (female) Sunidhi Chauhan
(for song "Jind Mahi")
Nominated
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
Best Film Angrej Won
  1. ^ Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Top 10 highest grossing Punjabi films of all time". The Statesman. 25 December 2017. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Singh, Jasmine (27 July 2015). "Angreji beat te". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b "'Angrej' tells you the love story of 1945 Punjab". Punjab News Express. 30 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Singh, Jasmine (31 July 2015). "Love-ly lanes". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b Singh Sandhu, Rameshinder (26 July 2015). "Audience has the power to change trends: Amrinder Gill". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Angrej". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b Saini, Neha (23 July 2015). "Aditi Sharma excited at her debut in Punjabi film". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  8. ^ Singh, Jasmine (31 July 2015). "On Punjabi turf". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Angrej (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Production designing of 'Angrej' was a real challenge". Punjab News Express. 27 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  11. ^ Saini, Neha (28 July 2015). "'Angrez' deviates from rom-com tradition in Punjabi movies". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "'Angrej': Punjab's traditional love story". NewspaperDirect Inc. 18 July 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Production designing of 'Angrej' was a real challenge". Punjab News Express. 27 July 2015. Archived from the original on 21 February 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Angrej". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Angrej Official Trailer Amrinder Gill Releasing on 31st July 2015". Amrinder Gill. 24 June 2015. Archived from the original on 14 August 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Angrej (2015)". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on 10 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Angrej Full Songs Audio Jukebox Amrinder Gill". Amrinder Gill. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Angrej". Saavn. Rhythm Boyz. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Angrej". iTunes. Rhythm Boyz. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Angrej". Google Play. Rhythm Boyz. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "PTC Punjabi Film Awards 2016 Part 1 of 3". PTC Punjabi. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
    "PTC Punjabi Film Awards 2016 Part 2 of 3". PTC Punjabi. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
    "PTC Punjabi Film Awards 2016 Part 3 of 3". PTC Punjabi. 26 June 2016. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Punjabi Film Angrej Has Very Good First Day". Box Office India. 1 August 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Punjabi Film Angrej Is A Blockbuster". Box Office India. 3 August 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  24. ^ Hooli, Shekhar (18 August 2015). "'Angrej' 17-Day Box Office Collection: Amrinder Gill Film Pips 'Ramta Jogi' in 3rd Weekend". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  25. ^ "Top Punjabi Worldwide Grossers". Box Office India. 5 April 2018. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  26. ^ a b c d Kaur, Amritbir (1 August 2015). "Movie Review: 'Angrej'". The Literary Jewels. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  27. ^ Singh, Jasmine (29 April 2016). "On a solid foundation". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  28. ^ Khuranaa, Amann (12 January 2017). "PTC Punjabi Film Awards 2016: Full list of winners". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2018.

External links[edit]