Hindi Medium, third directorial film of Saket Chaudry, is a story that revolves around the Batra family and their struggle to find the “right” school for their daughter. Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan), an unpretentious man and an extremely doting husband owns a fashion studio in Chandi Chowk and very rightly so, considers himself a local tycoon. However, being affluent does not work in his favour when it comes to the admission of his daughter into an elitist school, an idea cultivated by his dominating wife, Meeta (Saba Qamar) and hence, begins a rollercoaster ride of aspirations and struggles, fuelled by beautifully timed humour.
Raj is brilliantly at ease with his status and humble upbringing and Khan does complete justice to his character by wrapping up his ignorance towards the obvious class divide he is subjected to in hilarious one liners. Qamar, on the other hand successfully makes the audience fall in love with her otherwise dominating and at times insensitive character of an upper middle class lady who is a victim of inferiority complex given to her by the “e-light” class (as she pronounces it).
The film touches various subjects in a subtle way, using satire as its shield. It shows how the English language decides the worth of a person, how the education system has become a business and how the children of all classes of the society suffer due to the status quo established by adults and parents.
Raj and Meeta get trained twice in the process of securing admission for their daughter, Piya. The couple gets training to be the robotic politically correct, sophisticated elitist by the effortless Tilottama Shome, whose character of a consultant is strategically sketched out for satire. The Batras however, fail the rich test as Piya receives rejections from all top schools and the film transitions to the second half where they try to get an admission spot through the “Right to Education” quota. The couple then undergoes the hilarious yet heart-warming training session of how to be poor by the extremely talented actor, Deepak Dobriyal. This part of the film truly highlights the tricky position of middle class people in the society, too poor for the rich and too rich for the poor.
The movie begins to falter towards the end with a predictable climax and an overly dramatized stage sequence. The screenplay should have continued to rely on the witty one-liners and soul stirring expressions instead of a preachy speech by Khan to establish a point that it had already made.
Nonetheless, the film successfully drives the point to home by emphasizing on the class divide on the basis of a foreign language, English. Hindi Medium dealt a valid issue by maintaining a striking balance between comedy and seriousness with its good comic timing, well thought-out script, and brilliant characterization and power pack performances by all the actors.
On a side note, two thumbs up for the chemistry of Khan and Qamar on screen. It was a treat to watch them together. I would rate this film 4/5. A definite must watch for everyone!
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