T-Series Films and Maddock Films’ Hindi Medium is a comedy about a couple obsessed with getting their little daughter admitted to a top-line English-medium school.
Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) owns a readymade garments shop in Delhi and lives in Chandni Chowk. Son of a tailor (Rajeev Gupta), Raj is rich but simple by nature. His wife, Mita (Saba Qamar), is too image-conscious. She is hell-bent on getting their little dau ghter, Pia (baby Dishita Sehgal), admitted to one of the leading Eng lish-medium schools in Delhi. But since both, Raj and Mita, are Hindi-speaking parents, it’s not easy for them to get admission for their daughter in an English school of stature. While the simpleton Raj sees no harm in getting his daughter admitted to a government school, his image-conscious wife is adamant that it has to be a private school of repute. The things, the Batra couple has to do for their daughter’s admission in a top-line school, and the comedy that follows has been shown in the film.
The Batras ultimately succeed in getting admission for their daughter in principal Lodha’s (Amrita Singh) Delhi Grammar School but in the low in come group category for which they have to pose as poor people. How ever, that’s not the end of their tale of woes. Something else happens on the day Pia gets admission, which dis- turbs Raj Batra’s peace of mind. What is it that has disturbed Raj’s peace? Will Raj take matters into his own hands and listen to the voice of his conscience? Or will his over-bearing wife not let him take charge?
Zeenat Lakhani and Saket Chau dhary have written a story which ex poses the hypocrisy associated with high-society people who look down upon people who can’t speak Eng lish. Although the story is basically a comic one, it also has an important and serious message about our edu cation system and about the vanity of the rich and famous. The story tackles a point which affects everybody in his/ her life and is, therefore, very relatab le. But the humour is of the kind that would appeal mainly to the class and city audiences. The comedy that hap pens when the Batras try to become cool and modern and when their des peration gets the better of them is so entertaining and so enjoyable that the city and class audiences will not be able to control their laughter. The first half has a fantastic dose of humour while the post-interval portion has a dash of emotions and a serious drama too. The duo’s screenplay is superb. The drama unfolds so logically and so seamlessly that it is sheer delight. There are a number of scenes which will bring the house down with laughter. The scene in which Raj Batra tries to sell a wedding outfit to a mother-daughter duo, the scene in which Mita Batra throws a party in her new house, the scene in which the Batra couple interacts with the consultant (Tillota ma Shome), the scene in which prin cipal Lodha’s Hindi teacher reaches Raj Batra’s house in the poor man’s colony (Bharat Nagar), the scene in which Shyamprakash (Deepak Dobri yal) reaches Raj Batra’s house – these are all outstanding scenes which will have the viewers in splits. There are many other comic seq uences which will be loved by the city-based audience and class viewers. No doubt, the climax is over-idealistic, which may not go well with the hum orous drama before that, but the cli max had to be that, to pass on the message which it does. The two writ ers need a huge pat on their backs for writing such a funny story and screenplay and yet conveying a lovely mes sage at the end of it all.
Amitosh Nagpal deserves distinction marks for his extraordinary dia logues. His is truly inspired writing and his dialogues add hugely to the come dy and humour.
Irrfan Khan is outstanding in the role of Raj Batra. The man is a class apart when it comes to getting into the skin of the character. Every single scene of Irrfan shows the actor’s brilli ance and his mastery over the med ium. Indeed, an award-winning perfor mance! It’s not just the actor’s spoken dialogues, even his expressions, his mannerisms, his sense of timing, his body language, his reactions – everything about him is tops! Saba Qamar is beautiful and plays Mita Batra so wonderfully well that it is delightful to watch her. She is first-rate and is just too natural. Her repeated dialogues about her little daughter growing up to be a drug addict and her repeated posers to husband Raj if he knew the spellings of selected English words is a very cute trait, used wonderfully well. Deepak Dobriyal appears only in the second half but the man is such an outstanding performer that he shines brightly whenever he is on the screen. His easy acting is as endearing as his selfless and helpful character (Shyam- prakash). Swati Das is natural to the core as Shyamprakash’s wife, Tulsi. Tillotama Shome plays the consultant to such perfection that it is difficult to imagine anyone else essaying that role. Her dialogue delivery, dipped in sarcasm, is to die for! Sumit Gulati leaves a mark as Raj Batra’s salesman, Chhotu. Amrita Singh lends dig nity to the character of principal Lodha with her stylish acting. Sanjay Suri and Neha Dhupia lend star value and are very good in special appearances. Mallika Dua (as the bride-to-be Dolly, shopping in Raj Batra’s store) and Kulbir Kaur (as Dolly’s mother) are terrific. Baby Dishita Sehgal is cute as Pia. Anurag Arora stands out as the Hindi teacher. Rajeev Gupta (as Raj’s tailor-father), Neelu Kohli (as Mita’s mother), Sanjana Sanghi (as young Mita) and Delzad Hiwale (as young Raj) lend decent support. Govind Pandey leaves a mark in a brief role as the factory supervisor. Rajesh Sharma (as MLA), Taran Bajaj (as the tout who gets school admissions done in the low income group category), S.K. Batra (as the principal of the gov ernment school), master Anshuman Nandi (as little Mohan, son of Shyam prakash), Sandeep Sachdev (as the rich Delhi guy) and the others lend excellent support.
Saket Chaudhary’s direction is fan tastic. He has made the film’s drama flow so smoothly and so fast that the target audience would marvel at his genius. Saket’s fantastic flair for comedy is evident in every light scene of the film. Music (Sachin-Jigar) goes with the mood of the film but a hit score would have been ideal. Priya Sarai ya and Kumaar’s lyrics are app ropriate. Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan, Adil Shaikh and Rajeev Surti) are alright. Amar Mohile’s background music is superb. It serves to heighten the impact of the comedy scenes bea- utifully. Laxman Utekar’s camerawork complements the drama effectively. Production designing (by Mustafa Stationwala) is nice. A. Sreekar Pras ad’s sharp editing deserves a lot of praise.
On the whole, Hindi Medium is a very entertaining and fun film which will keep the audience in splits and the investors smiling. It has the strength to pick up due to positive word of mouth. Tax exemption in Maharashtra and Gujarat should help its business in Bombay, C.P. Berar and Nizam cir cuits.
Released on 19-5-’17 at Regal (daily 2 shows), Liberty (daily 2 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru AA Films. Publicity: good. Opening: so-so. …….Also released all over. Opening was ordinary everywhere.