Wednesday 24 May 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: Hindi Medium

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Hindi Medium

Bollywood Director Raj Batra’s (Irrfan Khan) hilarious English prompts an uneasy laugh. You have known him for years. You have seen him struggling to fit into a class structure whose exclusivity lies in deduction. It’s a never ending saga of aspirations, humiliation and fight back.

Raj owns a fashion studio in Old Delhi and proudly calls himself a local tycoon. A typical rags to riches story, he seems comfortable in his own skin. Raj’s wife Meeta (Saba Qamar), who he fondly calls Mithoo, is determined to break into the Delhi ‘gentry’. She thinks moving to south Delhi’s posh Vasant Vihar will give validation to her family’s income and ambition to lead an upper-class life.

The Batras want a reputed school for their daughter Priya because they think that will be the final stamp in their upward climb.

This is where the fun begins.

Hindi Medium is director Saket Chaudhary’s third film after Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Shaadi Ke Side Effects. He likes to produce comedy out of ordinary. His grip over the Delhi lingo and body language is evident from the very first scene when Khan tries to convince Mallika Dua, a customer at his “studio”, to buy a Manish Malhotra replica.

Chaudhary probably sees Delhi as a place where the class war is always on. Remember the clash between Rahul Bose and Sharad Saxena in Pyaar Ke Side Effects?

In Irrfan, he finds the perfect person to demonstrate the ‘India Is English, English is India’ logic with a focus on the social divide. In the process, Hindi Medium exposes the absurdities of finding a “famous” school for your kid. It’s scarily close to the reality despite being dramatised.
The issue of school admission might be the central thread of the story, but it’s the representation of the class struggle that makes Hindi Medium an important film.

Hindi Medium fetches our attention to the hard life urban kids are leading in the name of getting an education. Tillotama Shome’s career counsellor is a brilliantly written character here. She is so good that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry when she says, “People book me when they are in their first trimester.”

Hindi Medium is a much-needed comment on the private school system and how it has become so important in our lives. It’s also a lesson for the concerned officials, who turn a blind eye to government schools that have millions of potential winners.

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