Director: Saket Chaudhary
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal, Amrita Singh
I think since the time British ruled over India, the Indians have always looked at the fluent English-speaking elite of the society with awe, admiration and a sense of ‘I wish I were like them’! Even after the independence, the situation hasn’t changed much. The poor Bharat-dwellers still rank a distant second to the affluent India-residents. Thanks to this peculiar social outlook, many Indians genuinely think that regional language-based schools are no good compared to Queen’s language-based ones, especially if one wants his/her kids to have better prospects in life and career! Saket Chaudhary’s Hindi Medium takes a satirical look at this rather unnecessary and unholy English-school education- fixation.
What’s the plot?
A reasonably successful apparel shop-owner (Irrfan Khan) cares two hoots about social pretensions and is quite happy in his modest Chandni Chowk mohalla. It is his long-time sweetheart-turned-wife (Saba Qamar) who wants to escape from their middle class desi life and she insists that her daughter should get admission into the city’s most expensive, top- ranked English-medium school. The poor hubby has never said no to his wife and here, too he goes all out to fulfill her wish. Thus begins their crazy journey to secure that elusive exclusive admission. The first step? Off they go to try and fit into Delhi’s posh Vasant Viharites. Next, the coaching classes training the parents and the kid to pass the admission interview. Then, an attempt to scam their way through the economically backward quota! What lessons will they learn in the process?
· A very relevant social issue presented as a comic satire.
· Some very pertinent scenes about the crazy rat-race that the present-day education has become and how differently people look at English medium versus regional language medium.
· Irrfan and Saba make a fine screen-couple and with a cute kid in tow, they make this bumpy family ride enjoyable.
· Deepak Dobriyal (‘Pappi’ from Tanu Weds Manu!) makes fine impression as the family’s poor, helping neighbor.
· The overall storyline and directorial treatment is too simplistic, unrealistic and melodramatic.
· The ‘All rich are bad and all poor are good’ portrayal loses objectivity.
· Preachy climax.
Instead of an intelligent social comedy, Hindi Medium ultimately ends up as a very broad-brushed, manipulative message-film. The reason it still holds interest is the lead pair’s excellent chemistry and an entertaining eye-opening perspective on Indian primary education!