‘Hindi Medium’ Leave’s You Asking for More

Once upon a time, Amitabh Bachchan had enlightened us that “Engliss is a very phunny language”. Hindi Medium takes it a step further and shows us that it isn’t so much the language but the attitude of the people towards it that makes it both funny and ridiculous.

Raj, the good-natured Chandni Chowk shopkeeper has everything going for him. He is a doting father, a loving husband, calls himself a business tycoon priding himself on keeping the first copies of the top designer-made lehengas.

The only thing missing is his flair for English language. Proficiency in English is like a visa that will allow him to enter the “high society” of social mobility and acceptance.

Like his wife Mita puts it: “Iss desh mein Angrezi zaban nahi hai, class hai”… But Raj is determined he is ready to “talk engliss, walk engliss and laugh Engliss” for the happiness of his wife and the bright future for their daughter.

Mita routinely hyperventilates when she talks about the kind of gloomy fate that awaits their daughter if she does not get through one of the top English Medium schools in the city.

Hindi Medium makes some very relevant points about our obsession with English and the commercialisation of education.

Director Saket Chaudhary, who has previously shown us the side-effects of Pyaar and Shaadi in films like Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Shaadi Ke Side Effects respectively, now turns his attention to the side-effects of this English-Hindi divide that stretches from the playground to the government and private schools and eventually hijacks our entire thought process.

Why is it that we are fine with incorrect Hindi, but ridicule those who speak incorrect English? Our biases, long held prejudices are all laid threadbare.

There are hard-hitting moments, some bitter truths put across through the stunning self-assured charm of Irrfan Khan. Pakistani actress Saba Qamar is so effective in her role as the well-meaning angrezi obsessed wife Mita.

Even if Deepak Dobriyal comes in at a very crucial juncture in the film and completely lifts it, Hindi Medium post interval leaves us asking for more.

As a satire, a little bit of exaggeration is expected and while we might even be willing to suspend our disbelief and buy into the contrived plot, some attempts should have been made to write past those contrivances.

The film draws its own binaries where everyone rich and high class is snobbish and mean while the poor are all noble and kind. Some characters like that of the Principal or the shrill-pitched admission consultant seem more caricaturish than real.

Hindi Medium touches upon some very important issues and yet it fails to make the kind of impact that it seeks to promise. Still worth a dekho!

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