‘French Biriyani’ Review: A Wannabe Cool New-Age Comedy – The Quint

Suleiman, Solomon, and saamaan are the three most important things in the sentence here. And to whom do you think Charles (a don extraordinaire) gives this task to? His son, Mani (Mahantesh Hiremath), of course!

With that bombastic introduction out of the way, you’ve to immediately understand that this is not just a run-of-the-mill film. It’s a work that involves Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, and bits of English and French. And since the characters follow different religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam), it totally becomes another type of situational comedy.

Danish Sait in a still from French Biriyani.

Danish Sait in a still from French Biriyani.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

Throughout the run time, nevertheless, I couldn’t get Kuntaa Nikkil’s Dakhini language dramedy, The Angrez (2006), out of my mind. The irreverence in both the movies comes out through the characters and the topsy-turvy circumstances they get embroiled in. The Angrez was the first of its kind in which multiple languages were spoken by its characters and it drew viewers by the hundreds, as it was something the movie-buffs couldn’t ignore. It wasn’t just a new genre back then, it was a new era altogether. Nagesh Kukunoor, the leader of the pack, had proved his mettle in the 90s with Hyderabad Blues. All these films are experimental in their own little ways and they explore the eccentricities of the cities they are set in.

Hyderabad Blues was devoted to dissing the idea of arranged marriages in India and The Angrez capitalized on the gaze that the NRIs would invariably gather. French Biriyani, on the other hand, takes you through the traffic-choked lanes of Bengaluru.

Danish Sait, who’s gained popularity in the last few years as an RJ, comedian and actor, stars as an auto driver named Asgar. He’s the kind of person who’s all show and no action. He easily flings curses at his brother-in-law (Purushottam, played by Nagabhushan, a Hindu character, thanks to an inter-religious love story), but when it comes to handling anything close to a fight, he’s undependable. Again, if you remember Saleem Pheku (Mast Ali) from The Angrez, you can certainly draw parallels. And the fact that these two characters speak Urdu to make their quirks look funny warrants a longer essay.

Shivaji Nagar, where Pannaga Bharana’s French Biriyani unfolds, has so many interesting characters that would make the neighbourhood appear cool and gangsta-like. But there are many problems here.

The writing that gives space to Asgar and Simon (Sal Yusuf), a French guy with whom the former is stuck, doesn’t do justice to the other sub-plots. Mani might be a comedic villain on paper, but, in the movie, he comes across as somebody who’s not familiar with the world of goofs. He mixes Tamil and Kannada perfectly, but there’s nothing more to add to his weirdness. What’s the point of his freaky hairstyle if it can’t speak for his bizarre methods of punishing his detractors?

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