The old city awakens to its morning trade - Ismail bhai and his gang start the day at the local chai shop. The air is legit with gossip, babble and rigmaroles of bravery. For people for whom vests aren't just underwear, and being Dubai returned is the height of ambition, life is a treat to be savored - along with free chai and Osmania Biscuit.
Sridhar Rao's The Angrez takes you on a soiree through the glittering gallis of Lad Bazaar, Chudi Bazaar, Afzalgunj and Madina, and jiffs you across the elite Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills and everything that's hi-tech. For here, the very old meets the very new, and you get plenty of reason to fall in love with the city all over again.
The Angrez is about the very local flavor, the one that resides on the right side of the Charminar. It also dabbles with the other side of the Hyderabadi mirror, where there are people who slog their life in tiny cubicles so that they can rev up their lifestyles - that 1/100th of their time that they spend out of office. Then there are The Angrez, who draw to the city like moths - and burn their fingers.
Rochak (Ganesh Venkatraman) and Pranay (Kuntaa Nikkil) are freshly returned NRIs who are testing Hyderabadi waters for resettlement, as well as for eligible wives. They find a receptive host in cousin Ramesh, and an equally accommodating friend in Prasad, whose office they join for getting a lowdown on the city's biz.
In the city, the NRIs are hot - as potential husband material, as ransom exchange policy, or as plain bakras. Life for Pranay and Rochak was just spicing up, with cool Hyderabadi chhokris, patent biryani, and sizzling pub-life putting a skip in their gait.
Their Hyderabadi sojourn is a new learning all along. Pranay and Rochak encounter paradoxes in most mundane of experiences - the acclaimed mirchi ka saalan sets their palate on fire, mini-skirt clad girls tow their parents' line in matters of love, and relatives hobnob with gangsters for a piece of their NRI wallets.
While these two friends were chalking out itineraries to make-out with the city's chicks, cousin Ramesh was colluding with Mama, the typical master of the Hyderabadi underbelly, for their kidnapping for ransom. Mama and his goondas take the assignment as a Bonalu prasadam, and the big plan is set in motion.
As if doing 100 sit-ups to appease the gods at Ganesha pooja, and churning out 500 bucks for a plate of biryani was not enough, Pranay and Rochak are caught on the wrong foot, and that too in the old city. Innocuous as they may be, English words sometimes tend to be misinterpreted - especially if the audience is Ismail Bhai's gang of smartypants.
What started as a harmless spat under the Charminar, becomes an issue worth dying for - Ismail Bhai's izzat can only be restored by the angrezaan's head, hair, clothes, shoes, or whatever that can be had with ease. Sniffing out the trail of the culprits, the gang makes a foray, first into their Banjara Hills residence and then at their hi-tech office.
What follows is a hilarious series of incidents - Ismail Bhai and his gang's peekaboo with the angrezaan is an absolute craze. The ensuing fracas with Mama and his gang, and a brush with romance culminate the movie. And the life, the Hyderabadi style, goes on.
Kuntaa Nikkil and Ganesh Venkatraman, as the desi Americans who are trying to return to their roots, are credible if not outright ticklish. The real calorie-burners are Ismail Bhai and his gangsters - with their itra ki botlaan and badle ki baantaan. M Sridhar Rao’s take on living in the city of the nawabs hits right at the bull's eye. His use of Telugu, Urdu and English in a delectable potpourri, adds additional twang to the flick.
But you won't need any language to decipher this one - humor, flavored with nuances of the city, is contagious on its own merit.