Hindi Medium, a satire on our education system by Saket Chaudhary, is a very relevant film. This is his third film after Pyaar ke Side Effects and Shaadi ke Side Effect. It seems that humour is his forte. In Hindi Medium, he takes a dig at our current Education System. These days education has become a business. Children’s education has become costlier than many of the professional or vocational courses in our country. Schools have the trend of charging exorbitant fees in lieu of tuition fee, capitation fee, donation, extra-curricular activities’ fund etc. ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ or ‘Right to Education Act (RTE)’ was enforced on 1st April, 2010. When this act came into force, India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right to every child between the ages of 6 and 14. This act does require all private schools to reserve 25% of seats for the children from families of low economical status. But what actually happens with this quota is still under question. This act has many other relevant clauses too in favour of students. It also makes provisions for no donation or capitation fees and no interview of the child or parent for admission. Saket has come up with a brilliant film on this. The film showcases the stress of parents in getting their children admitted into elite schools, and their efforts to manipulate things to get the admission, school management falling prey to bribe, the admission scam, the conditions of the government schools etc. This fact can not be ignored that many of the government schools in our country are underperforming due to lack of facilities, infrastructure support and resources. There is a clear cut demarcation between the English Medium Schools and Hindi Medium Schools. And also, there is a special affinity for English Language in our country i.e. whoever speaks English are supposed to have a ‘class’. A person might be very good in his / her mother tongue or Hindi, but being affluent in English only makes that person sophisticated. There is Social Divide between English speaking and Hindi speaking people. This is a mindset, which one needs to ponder upon. Saket certainly is successful in throwing light upon all these issues in a very light-hearted manner.
The film begins with a girl – young Mita – coming to a tailor’s shop to get a designer dress stitched and young Raj (Delzad Hiwale, Chittagong & Chauranga fame) assures the girl that her dress will be stitched exactly similar to the design she wanted. There starts the love story of Raj and Mita in the backdrop of a beautiful song ‘Lafzon ke haseen dhagoon me kahin piro raha hum main huzur…’ After a period of fifteen years, we get to see that Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) has grown into ‘the Business Tycoon’ of Chandani Chowk (Delhi) with a fashion studio. He understands the pulse of the customers. His wife Mita (Saba Qamar) does speak English well whereas Raj doesn’t. Raj calls her Mitthu fondly. She is very particular that their daughter Piya (Dishita Sehgal) studies in any one of the top five English Medium Schools of Delhi. They do apply in top five schools. And for this they do shift their base from Chandni Chowk to the posh colony of Vasant Vihar, undergo specialized training for attending interviews, handling questions and speaking English. But unable to find admission through General Quota, when Raj comes to know regarding 25% quota for the students from poor families, he decides to go to slum area along with Mita and Piya so as to clear the inspection. That is where they get good Samaritan neighbours Shyam Prakash (Deepak Dobriyal) and wife Tulsi (Swati Das). What happens thereafter is to be seen. Although there is a drag in certain areas in the second half with certain scenes of the slum, but consistent humour in the screenplay keeps the mood of the film very bright. Also, certain issues raised in the film do not see a closure.
The highlight of the film is effortless acting by Irrfan Khan. He is an actor to reckon with. He blends with every character he plays on screen and he adds lot of value to the same. Even after one leaves the theater, his acting remains in heart and mind. Saba Qamar, originally a Pakistani Actress, is also very good, natural and convincing as Mita. Deepak Dobriyal as Shyam Prakash gives a wonderful performance. His expressions are very impressive. Tillotama Shome as career counsellor is very good. Swati Das as Tulsi is also very much noticeable. Rest of the characters Dishita Sehgal, Amrita Singh (as Head Mistress of a School), Sanjay Suri and Neha Dhupia are all good.
There are a lot of scenes with which one could relate to – be it the parental pressure of getting their children’s admissions in good schools, the struggle of the middle class or lower class to be able to provide good education to their children, the social divide etc. There is a scene where Tillotama conveys a dialogue – “People book me when they are in their first trimester.” Unfortunately, this is a Reality too.
Hindi Medium, a satire on our education system, is a very relevant film. It showcases various issues viz. Social Divide between English and Hindi speaking people, the demarcation between government schools and private schools facilities, the school admission scams etc. in a very light-hearted manner. Irrfan Khan, Saba Qaram and Deepak Dobriyal shine in the film through their effortless acting.
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page
Cast: Irrfan Khan (Raj Batra), Saba Qaram (Mita), Deepak Dobriyal (Shyam Prakash), Tillotama Shome, Swati Das (Tulsi), Dishita Sehgal (Piya), Hiwale (Young Raj), Amrita Singh, Sanjay Suri, Neha Dhupia
Direction: Saket Chaudhary
Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, DInesh Vijan
Screenplay : Zeenat Lakhani, Saket Chaudhary
Story: Zeenat Lakhani, Saket Chaudhary
Music: Sachin-Jigar; Background Score; Amar Mohile
Edited by: A Sreekar Prasad
Production Company: T Series, Maddock Films
Distributed by: T Series
Release Date: 19th May, 2017
Duration: 2 hours 13 minutes