Hindi Medium – Movie Review

Written by: Zeenat Lakhani and Saket Chaudhary

Directed by: Saket Chaudhary

Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan)
Meeta (Saba Qamar)

Paisa Vasooli: 3/5

Hindi medium calls out the disease which has gripped the entire nation in its frenzy since colonial times – English fever. It is a scathing remark on the collective English neurosis which forces Indian parents to put their blinkers on and pursue the assumed “Global Language of Aspiration” for their children. Under the influence of this blinding fixation, they end up overlooking the real, all round skill development and gradually their children turn out to be hollow mouthpieces – alienated from their own culture. In its background is the vicious cultural hegemony of which our forefathers were victims but we have grown to become unforgiving perpetrators.

Plot: Desi parents strive to secure a spot in an elite school for their child. In return, they themselves get schooled.

The know-it-alls of English language openly revel the association of the term “Grammar Nazi” with their identity. An Urban Dictionary user who goes by the name of Ash79 puts the term into perspective when he defines it as – “A captious individual who cannot resist the urge to correct the spelling and/or grammar mistake even in informal settings. After pointing out the linguistic shortcomings in others, a Grammar Nazi feels a strange sense of twisted and unconstructive intelligentsia delight. In reality, they are making someone else feel bad for no reason and unintentionally implying that their “superior” grammar skills are all they have to show for a wasted Liberal Arts education.” Hindi Medium takes a dig at such condescending grammar nazis and questions the depth of their skills in its own unique ways.

Saket Choudhary – through this film – addresses an issue of relevance and uncovers the “English language based class system” which has divided our society in a hierarchy of its own. His plot is simplistic, his storytelling linear and conclusion predictable. Despite that, Saket evokes a genuine sense of relatability for his characters and situations and broadens its appeal. He picks the subplot from “English Vinglish” – a sense of mild ridicule towards non-English speaking citizen – and extrapolates it in the context of the contemporary society.

A light hearted entertainer which works entirely because of the enlisted actors who lend an extraordinary touch to the film’s ordinary screenplay. Irrfan is stomach-achingly funny. He sends you into fits of laughter with just the way he mouths his lines. With his understated charisma, unpredictable disposition and humorous unease, he does the trick. Saba Qamar – as the hyperventilating wife and mother – delivers a decent debut and manages to claim her game despite being in the same frame as the stalwart. Deepak Dobriyal kindles humour and empathy in equal measures with his poverty-stricken Shyam.

Verdict: Hindi medium is a humorous take on the damaging, divisive effects of the English privilege system and its Imperial dominance. You can watch it for the issue it addresses with some genuine laughter but don’t expect a path-breaking comedy from it.

About Vikas Srivastava
A postgraduate from Symbiosis University & a digital marketing consultant, he loves being sarcastic as it's extremely healthy for the mind & adds up to 3 years to life as well. Cinema is to him what oxygen is to people. A voracious reader who never tolerates anything negative about Matthew Mcconaughey & Govinda.