Nagathihalli Chandrashekar is one director who has constantly juggled between genres while still managing to keep love, romance, Indian culture and patriotism as the central theme. His latest offering India vs England too has a similar tone. What’s tedious about Nagathihalli’s movies is that since the theme is recurring, there is hardly any scope for surprises.
London-born NRI Kanishka (Vasishta N Simha), a vlogger who wants to make a vlog on antiques and treasures of India, contacts Bhagirath (Ananth Nag), a Malnad-based gemologist. Bhagirath invites Kanishka to India and suggests that he explore the country first and then work on the vlog, as India and its culture cannot be fit into a single vlog. Impressed by everything he hears about the country, Kanishka heads out to explore the country with Bhagirath’s granddaughter Medhini (Manvitha Kamath). Unsurprisingly, the two initially hate each other but soon love blossoms.
In parallel, there is an ‘irreplaceable diamond’ that is travelling along with them, without their knowledge. While a smuggler (Shivamani) is trying to make money out of it, Gosumbe (Sadhu Kokila) is helping him smuggle it from India to England.
The lovestruck couple is set to tie the knot and Kanishka brings Medhini to London to convince his parents. Just a day before the engagement, Kanishka’s sister reveals something to Medhini which changes the plot of the movie in the second half.
The diamond story has parallels to the Kohinoor diamond and the climax is dedicated to explaining its importance. This twist was predictable from the trailer itself, because of which the movie falls flat.
Vasishta seems like a poor choice to play Kanishka. While it takes time for viewers to get used to his makeover, the character itself is oddly unsettling. He did bring out the lover boy vibes in ‘Marete Hodenu’ in Dayavittu Gamanisi, but here he just doesn’t fit into the character. While his accent sounds a bit odd, he seems to be in a hurry all the time. The director had plenty of scope to refine the character but has failed to bring the best out of Vasishta, who is undoubtedly a bundle of talent.
Multiple-award winning actor Manvitha Kamath is seen in a different avatar and it is good to see her experiment convincingly. Ananth Nag knows how to get straight into the audience’s hearts and is perfect in his role. Sadhu’s jokes are bearable while Shivamani, as the villain, brings a lot of energy to the screen. Sumalatha as a Kannada Sangha community leader delivers a great performance. The rest of the cast seem a little outdated for 2020.
The first half is set in India and the second half in England. As with most of Nagathihalli’s movies – America America, Nanna Preethiya Hudugi and Paris Pranaya – this one too juggles between two cultures and people’s acceptance of different cultures. The diamond twist fits well, but apart from that this is just another typical Nagathihalli film with the same age-old formula. There are the usual one-liners comparing cultures and highlighting Indian heritage, which have been seen in his movies since 1994. This movie has none of the depth of Amrutadhare nor the intensity of America America. India vs England struggles between trying to be another new-gen love story and keeping ‘culture’ alive.
The songs and background music too just go with the flow and nothing stands out. There is nothing magical in the cinematography as well, which could have upped the director’s game. On top of that, bad editing mars the central theme of the film.
If you want to enjoy a light-hearted comedy for old time’s sake, India vs England might be a good choice this weekend.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.