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Hindi Medium  : Irrfan Swats Away The Tedium
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Friday, May 19, 2017
Saket Choudhry
Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal

The heart’s in the right place and the general theme of getting your child into the right school will resonate with many parents. Writer-director Saket Choudhry correctly chooses to take the light-hearted route to deliver what sets out to be a substantial message.


Raj Batra is an amusing man to watch as he sells his ‘original imitations’ of designer-wear to easily charmed customers. When English-spouting wife Mithu summons, he rushes in his BMW. He’s the rich, Hindi-speaking besotted husband who’ll go along with any plan that the wife decides. And the wife who has OCD over anything to do with daughter Pia is hell-bent on getting her admitted to an upper-crust school.


The feeling of fun continues as they move to a swank neighbourhood to be accepted by the suave and the stylish, and they enroll with a school consultant to be groomed for the admission procedure.For high society acceptance, Mithu even makes Raj call her ‘Honey’ and stop dancing to Sukhbir’s ‘Oh ho hoho’.


But the only time Raj’s heart does make a connect is when Mithu’s hare-brained scheme takes them to a slum to get admission through the poor quota.


As Mithu and Raj shift from Chandni Chowk to Vasant Vihar and then the hut, somewhere along the way, writer-director Saket Choudhry loses his way.


What does Saket want to address? That padhai has become a dhanda? Hindi medium versus angrezi? Sarkari schools versus private ones? RTE? Reservation?The rich taking away a poor child’s seat?Or is the film about the snooty rich and those who live in squalor but have hearts of gold?


The main faultline is that Saket Choudhry who went nowhere with his marital mess in Shaadi Ke Side Effects, once again tries to bring too many issues to the table. It’s also a major concern that the screenplay is somewhat outdated in an era of online admissions and IB schools who are open to any decent parent with deep pockets.


Saket overdoes it all. Mithu sneering at her ‘vernac’ husband and asking him, “Iski spelling aati hai?” Or, ending her tantrums with, ‘What if it drives Pia to drugs?’It all stops being comic when it’s repeated ad nauseam. Irrfan’s outburst at the end is also too predictably preachy.


Ultimately, it’s the humour and Irrfan Khan’s impeccable timing that carry the film. A few marks also go to Deepak Dobriyal who fills in the emotional quotient admirably. And Pakistani actress Saba Qamar makes a perfect Mithu. The music too has variety.


But many points don’t add up. School principal Amrita Singh suddenly turns mean. Sarkari school kids perform at a swank school but the parents don’t realise it’s not their kids up there on stage.


And so, for a film that amuses but stumbles in its overall impact, Hindi Medium gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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