HINDI MEDIUM

PRE-SCREENING MUSINGS

In a country where one’s proficiency in the English language is equated to his / her social standing and is already the barometer for success, Hindi Medium definitely piques your interest. Through its trailer, it appears to take on India’s obsession with the English language, on which hinges the Bharat / India divide and the widening chasm between those who have, versus the have-nots. Also, a portrayal of the worms in the Indian education system is also on the cards. Whether or not this movie will do this very relevant issue justice is the big question here, as this is the story of a couple’s quest for top – quality education for their daughter first, and Indian education system expose (if at all), second. Also, the last movie that we saw centered on a similar issue, Chalk and Duster, was a damp squib, and left a lot to be desired, despite having fine actors like Juhi Chawla and Shabana Azmi. Hopefully, this movie is much better.

THE MOVIE

The application

Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) is a self-made man, and owner of a fashion boutique in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, where he sells replicas of top Indian designer wear. He is a simple, unpretentious man, having seen a rags-to-riches story himself, and very much at peace with his simple upbringing. However, his wife Mita (whom he affectionately calls Mittho, played wonderfully well by Saba Qamar), is not. She wants the best, education for her daughter Piya, and only an admission into the top private Delhi Grammar school will help her achieve that (for in her words, English is not just a language, but the measure of success and class).

Mita also wants to climb up the social ladder, and wants to bear the stamp of being among Delhi’s elite, despite them being typically nouveau riche. If that means breaking out of the lanes of Chandni Chowk and sashaying into the posh Vasant Vihar of South Delhi, so be it. Raj Batra, forever torn between being himself and the perfect husband, has little choice, and gives in. And this is where the fun begins.

In the very springy and engrossing first – half, through a series of hilarious failed attempts, Piya doesn’t make it to even one out of four schools. The parents even go to an education consultant – yes, an actual person who trains both parent and child for the onslaught of the admission process (played to perfection by Tillotama Shome, watch her reaction when Irrfan Khan says ‘lollipop’), but to no avail. You realize that at heart, he is still in Chandni Chowk, dancing to Ishq Tera Tadpave by Sukhbir with gleeful abandon, as his wife cringes in mute horror.

Hindi Medium boasts of amazing performances from its three pillars – [Irrfan] Khan, [Saba] Qamar, and [Deepak] Dobriyal.KELVIN KANTHARAJ VINCENT

Driven to despair, Raj is forced to find an alternative to placate his wife, who becomes increasingly on edge. Her daughter must get in, at any cost (she vividly and specifically pictures Piya suffering from depression and snorting drugs as a result of social subsequent ostracization). And he does – they can get Piya’s name on the list reserved for those underprivileged children that apply through the RTE (Right to Education Act). For that, they have to be gareeb, pose as poor. Will they do it? Can they pull it off?  Even if they do, will Piya (blissfully unaware of the mad circus, played by cute Dishita Seghal) make it?

Saket Chaudhary, who gave us Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Shaadi ke Side Effects previously attempts to deliver a hard – hitting film, and he does, but only for the film’s first half, The second half gets predictable and sentimental, and you know how and when the climax will pan out. There is also the slotting of characters into strict white and black – on one end we have the snooty and sophisticated South Delhi wife in Neha Dhupia, while on the other we have the large – hearted, so-generous I-will-jump-in-front-of-a-car-for-you daily wage worker in the splendid Deepak Dobriyal. The only character with hints of grey is the headmistress of Delhi Grammar school, played by Amrita Singh (who claims to have clawed her way to the top as the daughter of a government school maid – but even that is woefully unexplored).

That being said, Hindi Medium boasts of amazing performances from its three pillars – Khan, Qamar, and Dobriyal. But it is Irrfan Khan that takes the cake. He is wonderful to watch, and you can see his desperation being caught between pleasing his wife when all he wants to do is just chill, and unwind to his favourite Hindi soap opera at the end of the day. Saba Qamar plays the petulant, social wannabe wife without a fault, and you can see that she is actually much better an actress than this movie shows her to be. Deepak Dobriyal keeps you hooked, and is every inch Shyam Prakash, daily wage earner, from start to finish.

The romance

VERDICT

Yes, this movie is not perfect. It does have a few lose ends, but as you must have realized by now, the actors’ performances more than make up for it. Get yourself a ticket for this movie, and thereby, admission into Hindi Medium – it is engaging, driven by fine performances.

Watch the trailer here:

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

Facebook

Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.

Star Rating:

Country

India

Plot

Hindi Medium weaves a tale of society, elitism and the lengths a family can go through to succeed in a world obsessed solely with the superficial.

Cast

Irrfan Khan
Saba Qamar
Deepak Dobriyal

Director

Saket Chaudhary

Rated

N/A

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Cast Irrfan Khan
Saba Qamar
Deepak Dobriyal
Director Saket Chaudhary
Star Rating

THE PLOT

Hindi Medium weaves a tale of society, elitism and the lengths a family can go through to succeed in a world obsessed solely with the superficial.

PRE-SCREENING MUSINGS

In a country where one’s proficiency in the English language is equated to his / her social standing and is already the barometer for success, Hindi Medium definitely piques your interest. Through its trailer, it appears to take on India’s obsession with the English language, on which hinges the Bharat / India divide and the widening chasm between those who have, versus the have-nots. Also, a portrayal of the worms in the Indian education system is also on the cards. Whether or not this movie will do this very relevant issue justice is the big question here, as this is the story of a couple’s quest for top – quality education for their daughter first, and Indian education system expose (if at all), second. Also, the last movie that we saw centered on a similar issue, Chalk and Duster, was a damp squib, and left a lot to be desired, despite having fine actors like Juhi Chawla and Shabana Azmi. Hopefully, this movie is much better.

THE MOVIE

The application

Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) is a self-made man, and owner of a fashion boutique in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, where he sells replicas of top Indian designer wear. He is a simple, unpretentious man, having seen a rags-to-riches story himself, and very much at peace with his simple upbringing. However, his wife Mita (whom he affectionately calls Mittho, played wonderfully well by Saba Qamar), is not. She wants the best, education for her daughter Piya, and only an admission into the top private Delhi Grammar school will help her achieve that (for in her words, English is not just a language, but the measure of success and class).

Mita also wants to climb up the social ladder, and wants to bear the stamp of being among Delhi’s elite, despite them being typically nouveau riche. If that means breaking out of the lanes of Chandni Chowk and sashaying into the posh Vasant Vihar of South Delhi, so be it. Raj Batra, forever torn between being himself and the perfect husband, has little choice, and gives in. And this is where the fun begins.

In the very springy and engrossing first – half, through a series of hilarious failed attempts, Piya doesn’t make it to even one out of four schools. The parents even go to an education consultant – yes, an actual person who trains both parent and child for the onslaught of the admission process (played to perfection by Tillotama Shome, watch her reaction when Irrfan Khan says ‘lollipop’), but to no avail. You realize that at heart, he is still in Chandni Chowk, dancing to Ishq Tera Tadpave by Sukhbir with gleeful abandon, as his wife cringes in mute horror.

Hindi Medium boasts of amazing performances from its three pillars – [Irrfan] Khan, [Saba] Qamar, and [Deepak] Dobriyal.KELVIN KANTHARAJ VINCENT

Driven to despair, Raj is forced to find an alternative to placate his wife, who becomes increasingly on edge. Her daughter must get in, at any cost (she vividly and specifically pictures Piya suffering from depression and snorting drugs as a result of social subsequent ostracization). And he does – they can get Piya’s name on the list reserved for those underprivileged children that apply through the RTE (Right to Education Act). For that, they have to be gareeb, pose as poor. Will they do it? Can they pull it off?  Even if they do, will Piya (blissfully unaware of the mad circus, played by cute Dishita Seghal) make it?

Saket Chaudhary, who gave us Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Shaadi ke Side Effects previously attempts to deliver a hard – hitting film, and he does, but only for the film’s first half, The second half gets predictable and sentimental, and you know how and when the climax will pan out. There is also the slotting of characters into strict white and black – on one end we have the snooty and sophisticated South Delhi wife in Neha Dhupia, while on the other we have the large – hearted, so-generous I-will-jump-in-front-of-a-car-for-you daily wage worker in the splendid Deepak Dobriyal. The only character with hints of grey is the headmistress of Delhi Grammar school, played by Amrita Singh (who claims to have clawed her way to the top as the daughter of a government school maid – but even that is woefully unexplored).

That being said, Hindi Medium boasts of amazing performances from its three pillars – Khan, Qamar, and Dobriyal. But it is Irrfan Khan that takes the cake. He is wonderful to watch, and you can see his desperation being caught between pleasing his wife when all he wants to do is just chill, and unwind to his favourite Hindi soap opera at the end of the day. Saba Qamar plays the petulant, social wannabe wife without a fault, and you can see that she is actually much better an actress than this movie shows her to be. Deepak Dobriyal keeps you hooked, and is every inch Shyam Prakash, daily wage earner, from start to finish.

The romance

VERDICT

Yes, this movie is not perfect. It does have a few lose ends, but as you must have realized by now, the actors’ performances more than make up for it. Get yourself a ticket for this movie, and thereby, admission into Hindi Medium – it is engaging, driven by fine performances.

Watch trailer here:

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

Facebook

Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.

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